Six Easy Ways to Make Your Office a More Homey Space – McGreals

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Six Easy Ways
to Make Your Office a More Homey Space

With the whirlwind of 2020 behind us, and the pandemic still upending things the world over, how the workplace functions and fits into people’s daily lives has undergone some pretty significant changes. Many people were forced to work remotely while the lockdowns happened, either tweaking their home office or, in some cases, building one from scratch. We all had our share of cats interrupting meetings and children using vital documents as sketch paper, but a lot of us discovered there’s a certain joy to be gleaned from working in an environment designed with your comfort and personality in mind.

By now things are back to normal in many ways, and that means getting to go back to the office. However, that’s no reason to say goodbye to the ergonomic benefits of home. There are plenty of ways to take the home environment and bring it into the office, making it a more pleasant, natural and uncluttered space for employees to do their best work.

silent pod

STEP ONE
adjust the flow of the office

There’s a practical functionality to most office spaces. You have desks where desks need to be, an area for breaks, somewhere for the printer and copier to sit; furniture is there to do a job, rather than to enrich a room. Thinking about how an office space flows—how people move around it—can greatly improve not just the feelings of employees but the efficiency of the team. If there’s a logic to the layout which matches how a team works, the space can increase employee engagement rather than get in the way of it.

Changing from banks of desks to a more segmented approach can help the space feel more purposeful, as can investing in semi-private booths for meetings. You could also consider adding noise-cancelling pods to the plan, for those moments when privacy and focus are a primary concern. Consider how the teams in a given office might want to operate as their work day goes on, and plan zones for those possibilities.

STEP TWO
designate specific areas

Speaking of different zones in the office, designating different purposes to certain areas can help to craft a more friendly and relaxed atmosphere. Part of the comfort of the home environment is knowing your space. When people recognise they’re in a specific part of the office, like the breakout space, or somewhere for collaborative brainstorming, they’re more comfortable leaning into those roles.

Adding dividers or bar leaners to a space in the office can encourage people to use that area to socialise, run ideas past their colleagues, or just grant themselves a break away from their desk without entirely leaving the office. A clear separation between areas also avoids the potential problems of people hovering near the desks of others who are genuinely trying to focus.

STEP THREE
add more plants!

One very simple way to bring the cozy feeling of home into the office is by increasing the softer aspects of the space. Decorating an office with indoor plants and other greenery taps into the principles of biophilic design—crafting a space that enhances the connections between people and the natural world—which has been shown not just to have environmental benefits, but also to improve the health and wellbeing of those in the space.

Plant walls in particular can break up the manufactured atmosphere of an office space and keep occupants at ease. Weaving plant life into an office design is an economical and satisfying way to increase the visual appeal while also boosting everyone’s mood.



STEP FOUR
push for colour and comfort

For better or worse, when people think of an office environment they invariably picture something very square, grey and probably uncomfortable. That’s more or less the opposite of how people feel about their homes. Designing with a strong and energetic colour scheme in mind can transform an office from a mood-killer to a place people are excited to turn up to in the morning. It can be about little touches, like a few bright posters, or something larger like a big comfy couch for breaks.

Getting a comfortable, collaborative seating arrangement can make the whole space feel more inviting. Adding some dividers in choice areas keeps the colour from overwhelming and distracting.



STEP FIVE
plan for organisation

For all their differences, the home and office do share one potential problem: clutter. If you want to keep that comfortable feeling in your new cozy office, you’re going to need storage solutions in place from the very beginning. Part of being able to stay happy and content in a workspace is being able to actually do your work, which means knowing where to find things and not having to wade through junk to get there.

The most efficient solution is to build that storage into the spaces themselves. Modular storage options of all shapes and sizes can be found to work with the vibe you’re seeking, and shelves can double as both section dividers and display areas for plants or other office-related knick-knacks.



STEP SIX
prioritise collaboration

A functional, comfortable, friendly workplace lives and dies on the team’s ability to work together. No matter how often people collaborate at work, the space needs to accommodate that shift in gears between personal work and engagement with the group.

Pod desks can easily facilitate that sort of collaboration, allowing people to break off and focus on their own or get ideas from across the way at their leisure. More casual collaborative spaces like small tables near windows or couches can allow people to work together without feeling like they need to do something formal like booking a meeting room. The key is to make everyone feel as if collaboration is an option rather than a requirement.


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