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The Psychology of Working from Home

25 Mar 2020
Rachel Brown

Psychology of working from home

Previously, we have written about the psychology of the workplace and how to create the optimal setting for a positive environment. With many people now starting to work from home, the same theories and practices can be applied to a different setting. No matter where you work, it’s imperative that you surround yourself with a positive atmosphere that complements your productivity. On that note, we thought we would give some guidance on influencing the psychology of your home workspace.

Find or Create a Designated Workspace

One of the toughest things about working from home can be the blurring of lines between work and relaxation. You want to associate your home with a place of comfort, so it’s important to set a clear distinction for when you need to be in ‘work mode’ and when you can be in ‘home mode.’

Having a space in your home that you associate with work, such as a spare room with a desk, will be most effective when it comes to your productivity. However, if you don’t have space like this in your home, creating a makeshift office with a kitchen table, for example, can be just as effective. Essentially, avoid doing work in your bed or on your sofa as these should be places you associate with relaxation.

Lighting

When we researched the psychology of the workplace, we found that people feel better when they have access to natural light. It also has a series of health benefits such as reducing seasonal depression, improving sleep and thus increasing energy levels.

If possible, set up your workspace in front of, or close to, a window to ensure you get a good amount of natural light (and air, when required). If this isn’t possible, a good alternative would be to invest in some daylight bulbs to simulate natural light. Make sure, if you don’t have access to natural light in your workspace, that you are exposing yourself to it at some point in the day by going outside for a bit.

Set the Scene

You don’t need to go over the top, but there’s little things you can do to make your workspace a bit more appealing; you’re spending the majority of your day there, so you want it to be a pleasant place to sit! Here’s a few things you can consider to create an a positive space;

  • Cleanliness – a tidy workspace makes for a tidy mind, so make a note of regularly tidying your surroundings to help de-clutter your mind and focus on your work.
  • Desktop – change your desktop screensaver to something you enjoy looking at. Simple but effective (consider the colour of it too, as this can have an effect on your mood).
  • Some nice added touches – consider adding some small décor such as plants, candles or photographs to lift the mood a little and give it that personal touch.

Distractions

Your home can be full of distractions; TVs, radios, phones, books etc. It’s easy to fall down the rabbit hole of scrolling for hours on your phone or starting on your 20th episode of a Netflix series. Willpower is a wonderful thing but can be hard to find, so try and separate yourself from distractions. Sit away from TVs and radios to avoid temptation and set time limits on your social media apps to avoid indulging (you can set your own limits in your settings). Listening to music is usually the best background noise as it can be the least distracting form of media. Luckily, we have multiple Spotify playlists that you can choose from depending on your mood. Check out our ‘Working from Home’ playlist to get you started.

Socialise

Just like communal workplaces, social interactions play a big part in our daily lives and can have many positive effects on our mental health. Working from home is no different, so make sure you are keeping in touch with friends, family and/or colleagues, even if it’s not face-to-face interactions. Regular calls on platforms such as Zoom or Microsoft Teams (or even your good old phone-call) can really help to boost morale and keep your professional and personal relationships strong.

Working from home does have its differences from a communal workspace, but with the right practices, it can be a very productive space. If you find yourself recently turning to home working, read up on our tips on how to adjust to the new environment.

Author

Rachel Brown
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