Designing Your Workspace to Maximize Creativity and Sanity
Start-up culture has beautifully challenged the layout of the traditional “office”, however, modern-day technology has created more daily distractions, taking a toll on our daily productivity. Whether you work from home, or an out-of-home office setting with fellow employees, people are ditching the rigid four walls and traditional desk, and making room for a more fluid environment that nurtures productivity, collaboration, and innovation. This is all believed to lead to successful entrepreneurship. Just as artists have their studios, your office as an interior designer should be as put together and creative as the work you do. Whether you’re a one man/woman show, or have multiple employees, your space should work with you, reflecting the style of your business and maximizing efficiency.
Wide Open Spaces
Sonia Roy and William L. Hamilton from Dwell explained “the newest work environments are open floor plans that foster informality, flexibility, and an interactive group dynamic.” Whether you choose to create this versatile space by switching out walls with contemporary moveable panels, or have multiple interactive work areas, an open space could be used for conversing with your clients or fellow designers, plugging into your laptop, or catching up on some well deserved R&R during lunch. One thing’s for sure, the “corporate cubicle” is becoming a thing of the past. If your workspace also happens to be your living space, carving out a dedicated area, either in the garage, a spare bedroom, or even a section of the living room, can make working from home more efficient and free of distraction.
Photo by Dwell
Putting the “We” in “Werk” – Communal Space
There are endless ways to create a collaborative work environment, but the most common trend in all well-designed offices (in or out of the home) is a comfortable communal space. This is obtained by adding long communal tables or creating a lounge with comfortable chairs or a sofa to evoke an organic communal atmosphere. Avoid florescent lighting and seek a space with natural light. Even if you work alone, this area can give you the space you need to relax and meet with clients in a more interactive setting, eliminating the gap that forms when you sit behind a desk, and allowing for effective conversation and creativity to flow.
Photo by Homepolish
With Comfort Comes Creativity
As a designer, you’re constantly being forced to make snappy decisions and be on your feet, meeting with clients and visiting endless vendors and showrooms. When you do finally get the time to be in the office, it should feel like a relaxing haven, allowing your creativity to flourish. The first step to getting the creative juices flowing is picking the right place to sit. Sorry, the plastic swivel chair just won’t cut it. Designers at Continuum, an international innovation and design consultancy firm, suggest that the psychology of seating is equally as important as ergonomics. Dwell explains that “subtle changes in elements such as pitch, height, padding and seating configuration can dramatically change a person’s mindset during an interaction—and even the interaction itself.” The hefty sticker price for a throne fit to sit in for countless hours a week is well worth the satisfaction that comes from classic design companies such as Herman Miller or Knoll.
Inspiration doesn’t always come so easily, so designing a workspace that stimulates the creative process while effortlessly blending with the functionality of an office is key. White walls, natural lighting, and pops of color, are just a few easy ways to give your space the extra bump it needs. However, pictures of your family don’t need to be limited to the fridge. Personalizing the office space can also lead to innovation, but no need to go overboard with the accessories and quirky vacation pictures. Try bringing in a collection of your favorite design magazines, or favorite art pieces to bring a design element to your space. Homepolish suggests “be smart with your accessory purchases, making sure that they are both functional as well as aesthetically pleasing”. Furthermore, the feel of your office should reflect the style you bring to your client’s home, whether you’re traditional, contemporary, or eclectic, let your personal style shine.
Photo by Homepolish
Put the Junk in the Trunk
Keeping your space clean and organized is essential to an efficient work day, so file away the loose paperwork, fabric swatches, and magazine clippings, and clear your desk of the clutter. Your office should be refined and tidy, allowing for maximum productivity. Ariel Feldman from Homepolish couldn’t stress the importance of storage in a work space enough and suggests adding some cool, collected shelving or artful boxes to keep your office orderly and elegant. A clutter-free workspace will put your mind at ease and translate to an efficient and blissful work environment.
Photo by Dwell