Blog banner - Health.jpg

Powered by Headspace

Sept 7

6 min read

How to create a mindful workspace or home office

Whether you work from home full time or flexibly and choose your days to show up at the office, creating a mindful home workspace can make you more focused and productive. It’s not always easy when home doubles up as the office, which is why it’s so important to establish an environment in which you can knuckle down and do your work.

With that in mind, and understanding the challenges that come with the work-from-home life, here are some simple solutions for designing a home workspace that encourages mindfulness, so you can be fully present and engaged during your workday.

iStock-1365669010.jpg

How a mindful home workspace can impact your work

Work can often be fast-paced, chaotic, and stressful, which is why so many people often end up multitasking, and, in turn, risk running on autopilot in order to get everything done. But when you train yourself to be more mindful at work (AKA home), you learn to be fully present and take care of one task at a time. This, in turn, helps you feel less stressed and overwhelmed, and more focused and productive. In fact, one study showed that 10 days of mindfulness and meditation practice with Headspace reduced stress by 14 percent and; a second study found that nurses who used Headspace for 30 days had significant improvements in job satisfaction. In other words, setting up your space to promote mindful working can greatly influence your performance – but can also influence how content you are with your job.

In addition, when your home is also your office, separating your professional life from your personal life can be particularly challenging. Rolling out of bed mere minutes before you have to start working and spending the whole day in pajamas may sound attractive. But over time blurring the lines between work and home can lead to inefficiency, declining performance, increased stress and even burnout. Something we don’t want, of course.

That’s why creating a mindful home workspace can be essential for maintaining a strong delineation between work and home life. Even if your workspace is only 10 feet from your living room or bed — the reality for many people — integrating elements of mindfulness into it can help to keep you in the present moment and focused on your tasks for the day. Plus, it can also help you more fully enjoy your time when you’re NOT working, training your mind to be more present and engaged when it’s time to step away from the laptop.

Designing a mindful home workspace

Creating a workspace with mindfulness in mind doesn’t have to require a lot of physical space. Some people have a designated home office, but if you don’t, a walk-in closet, an unused corner, or even a seat at the kitchen table can work well. Don’t get hung up on trying to find the ‘perfect’ spot. What is important, however, is that you pick a spot and work from there as often as you can, in order to maintain consistency and a work-focused mindset. Here are some things to keep in mind to set up a space that encourages being calm, comfortable, and present.

First, you’ll need a surface to work on. A basic desk is an obvious choice, but you can also use the dining room table, a kitchen island, a shelf mounted to the wall, or a lap desk if you are working from the couch. Basically anywhere you can sit or stand with a flat surface in front of you. Ideally, if your workspace is in your bedroom or living room, then your surface would be something you could stash away, completely out of sight at the end of the day. Like a portable table you fold and put in the closet or simply put away your laptop and other work items at the end of the day.

You’ll also need to decide if you want a comfortable supportive chair or if you prefer other options. Some research shows that sitting for long periods of the day can lead to an increased risk of anxiety. It’s also been shown that standing at work helps to minimize fatigue, depression and tension, and increases focus and energy. If you’re looking to incorporate healthy movement into your home workspace, consider a standing or adjustable height desk. 

 

Minimizing distractions as much as possible will also help to promote awareness and being present. It helps to seperate your working space from the rest of your home with physical items: think about a privacy screen, room-dividing shelves (which can also double as storage) or tall plants. If you live with other people, it can be helpful to let them know when you’re working, with a small sign for example. Noise-canceling headphones can also get you a long way in battling distractions.

Decorating a mindful home workspace

One of the best ways to promote mindfulness in any space is to use decor that taps into the five senses, helping you tune into your body and ground yourself in the present moment.

  • Sight. Choose visual decor that makes you feel happy and peaceful. Paint the walls in cheerful colors. Frame photos of friends and families that conjure up fond memories. Place some nice plants around (choice of pot is up to you). Plants also helpt to purify the air, by the way. 

  • Sound. Use headphones, ambient noise, or focus music to mask any loud distractions. Soft music and nature sounds can also promote a more tranquil environment.

  • Smell. Plants can be wonderfully fragrant, making your workspace smell fresh, green, and crisp. Or try filling your space with pleasant scents from an essential oil diffuser. Or gift yourself a scented candle. It might be good to know that lavender and bergamot are known for their calming effects, while peppermint, sweet orange and lemon tend to be more energizing.

  • Taste. Keep healthy snacks and plenty of water easily accessible. Try putting your work down when it’s time to eat and try mindful eating (so you can really pay attention to what you’re eating).

  • Touch. Incorporating a range of textures and fabrics in your workspace can help to stimulate presence and focus. Get yourself a soft blanket or a nice cushion for extra comfort, for example.