The year 2020 saw a shift in how the world operated – people had to retreat to their homes, gatherings and outings were limited (if not banned entirely), and businesses had to resort to online functioning. However, just because people have to adjust to a new way of life doesn’t mean that they have to do so in any discomfort.
When businesses switched to online functioning, employees were asked to resume working from home. Work from home or WFH isn’t a new concept, but it has been popularized by the pandemic.
Employees have had to dedicate areas in their living space and optimize that space to be able to work as efficiently as possible. The bottom line is that working from home is the new ‘normal’ and seemingly will be for some time. It doesn’t have to be gloomy and unproductive.
In fact, if you optimize your living space correctly, you might just be able to improve efficiency and work more comfortably than in an office.
Lighting Hacks to Work From Home
What comes to mind when you think of a home office? You probably envision an office desk and a chair. There’s not much else to think about. In fact, most people would optimize their home office the same way they would a cubicle.
The difference is that you didn’t have the freedom to be as creative as you would have liked in a cubicle at work. At home, however, you have more space and liberty to decorate and enhance as you like.
Where does lighting play a role in it? A better question would have been, where doesn’t it? Lighting can make or break your living space. Homeowners are under the misconception that lighting is the easiest thing to hack in decor. It is, on the contrary, one of the easiest things to mess up.
Think of lighting as visibility. Without which your efficiency is reduced practically to zero. Poor visibility or one that puts a strain on your reflexes can also reduce your efficiency.
Both of which are exactly what you should be avoiding when you’re sitting down to work.
Ditch the Incandescent and Fluorescent Lights
Source: Renopedia, Design 4 Space
Incandescent lights are lights you would typically find in chandeliers and fluorescent ones would be placed strategically in bathrooms. You might be able to visualize their purpose based solely on where they’re most commonly found.
Incandescent lights are ideal to ‘set the mood’ when entertaining guests or throwing dinner parties. Fluorescent ones are perfect to be able to visualize everything in your space. For your home office you’ll need to find a compromise between the two.
Ideally, go for light bulbs that are around 40 Watts. These bulbs aren’t as bright as florescent ones and aren’t as dim as incandescent ones. They don’t put a strain on your eyes and cover enough visibility to be effective for working.
If you want to take it up a notch, invest in energy saving light bulbs. These light bulbs are a steep one time purchase, but they save you a lot of money in the long run.
Check out our design catalog for more options.
Dimmers are Your Friend
When it comes to lighting, most people don’t think too far ahead from ambient or overhead lighting. However, your workstation needs to have dedicated lighting of its own and not just one common fixture for the entire room.
For example, if you’re tight for space and your workstation is basically just a desk and a chair in the corner of your room, then one overhead light for the entire room plus your workspace won’t be enough.
Instead, you’ll need dedicated lights for your space. The important thing to consider here is that the lighting you use for your home office needs to be adjustable.
- You don’t need bright lighting in the morning when there’s natural light coming in from the windows.
- You would need bright light at night or just enough to be able to visualize your workstation without causing a strain on your eyes at night.
Different times of the day call for different light adjustments. Buying accent lights, ambient lights, or track lights for your workstation is costly and frankly unnecessary. Instead, buy a dimmer. Dimmers adjust lighting and cost less than a few dollars.
Make Use of Natural Lighting
Source: Renopedia, Mr. Shopper Studio
Nothing tops natural lighting coming in. Warm lighting coming in through the windows makes all the difference, especially in a small room dedicated to be used as a home office.
To make the most of natural lighting, you might need to design and decorate your space accordingly. For example, paint your walls in neutral tones, pastels, and light colors. Lighter colors tend to maximize spaces by allowing light to balance around the room.
Similarly, you can strategically place mirrors around your home to bounce light from one corner of the room to the other. This works especially well if you’re trying to keep your home office from seeming too cluttered or too small.
Most home offices are makeshift storage rooms and some are even limited to a desk and a chair in a corner of the room. Just because your space is limited, doesn’t mean your productivity has to be hindered.
To maximize space and make the most out of natural lighting:
- Paint the room in neutral tones, pastels, and light colors.
- Strategically place mirrors in the room.
- Use blinds or sheer curtains.
Where Should You Set Up Your Home Office
Life’s changed since the pandemic first hit. What most people thought was a temporary stand still quickly turned out to last for a year and more. Times have understandably changed and the government has implemented guidelines to keep us safe – one of which was to restrict gatherings.
This meant that businesses had to readjust and restructure their entire model. Working from home isn’t a foreign concept nor is it a new one. People have been working remotely for decades now. Admittedly, not on the scale that they’ve been working from home now.
People were, understandably, grossly unprepared. Home offices and workstations were no more than solitary desks and chairs. While that might be just enough to get work done, it’s not enough to increase productivity.
Here are a few ideal locations at home to set up your office:
Dedicated Corners in Your Bedroom
You spend the majority of your time in your bedroom. Setting up a home office in your own personal space instead in community space (such as the living room) therefore makes more sense. In this case, your home office would be more so of a workstation.
To set up your workstation, you’ll need to:
- Assess your room’s floor plan and dedicate a corner specifically for your workstation.
- Optimize space by using dual furniture. For example, setting up a vanity as a worktable.
- Have your workstation strategically placed against a light source. This could be a natural light source i.e., a window or under overhead lighting.
- Dedicate table lamps or scones specifically for your worktable. Invest in dimmers to be able to adjust light accordingly.
Turn a Storage Room Into a Home Office
Storage rooms or walk in closets can be used as make shift home offices. The space is there, all you need to do is optimize it for working from home. A storage room can be turned into a complete home office instead of a solitary workstation.
To set up your home office, you’ll need to:
- Adjust ventilation in your storage room. This can best be done by a professional.
- Place a desk in a convenient location. This can be tricky in small spaces. You might have to downsize on furniture accordingly.
- Hang up artwork to make your workspace seem livelier.
- Paint the office in neutral tones and color schemes to make the space appear larger. Additionally, place mirrors strategically in the room to bounce off light from one corner to the other.
Make Good Use of Your Coffee Table
If you’re on a budget and need an effective, yet convenient option to choose, you don’t need to look any further than the coffee table you have in your living room. However, you might have to adjust your timings in a community space (if you aren’t living alone) for maximum productivity.
Lighting can make or break your living space. At a time when working from home is the one recourse to use, it’s important to be able to adapt to the new normal. Your home office doesn’t have to be gloomy and dull. You can increase productivity at the comfort of your home by adjusting lighting in a useful and productive way.
This includes adding dedicated lights, using dimmers, making the most out of natural lighting, and using energy efficient lighting.