Whether you're working at home or back in an office setting, the surroundings of your given environment most certainly have an impact on not only your productivity but also your overall mood. So if you haven't already given some thought as to how to create a happier work space, it would definitely do you some good.
Aesthetics are important, but experts — including psychologists and interior designers alike — agree that there's more to it than simply the style of desk chair you choose or whether or not you've included the trendiest accessories. "Investing in your work space at home is more important now than ever," says designer Molly Kidd of Light & Dwell. "You should always consider things such as how the space makes you feel. Is it cluttered? Do you feel calm and productive? Take notes and adjust from there."
Obviously happiness is relative, but experts have found that some factors are proven to have mood-boosting effects — and all of your senses should be considered for maximum impact. From tips for decluttering your desk to which plants are as great to look at as they are for your air quality, a few professionals from both the mental health space and the interior design world have weighed in and shared with The Zoe Report four foolproof ways you can instantly make your work space reduce stress and induce joy.
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How To Create A Happier Work Space: Clear Out Clutter
One thing all the experts agreed on was tidying up for a clearer mind and a more functional space. "First, declutter all the little wannabe 'happy maker' items, which are only distracting you from your work, especially when you are working in a stressful environment," says Dino Antonio Parrella, co-creator of decor company White and Faded. "A clean work space brings happiness and increases productivity!"
And Kidd agrees. "I recommend keeping your work space organized and minimal by only leaving out the items that you are going to need that day," she adds. "Overall, less is more. Only keep out in front of you what you need on a daily basis." To totally channel your inner Marie Kondo, follow the advice of Dr. Paulette Sherman, psychologist, author of The Book of Sacred Baths, and host of The Love Psychologist podcast, and make sure whatever items you're not using for work are those that bring you joy. "Having objects you love boosts your mood as well, especially if they have positive associations," she says.
How To Create A Happier Work Space: Think Light & Bright
The connection between color and psychology is real: Some shades have been shown to increase energy, while others seem to be more soothing and grounding. But when it comes to your work space, Parrella recommends white above all else. "[Use] white — the most powerful color in reflecting colors," he says. "Don’t follow recommendations for yellow, orange, pink, or red — after a while they will drive you crazy." That said, if a white space feels too stark for you, Sherman shares that if you do want to add in some color, think blues and greens, which she says can create a sense of calm.
To achieve a similar brightness, you should also consider the light in your work space. "The perfect light is very important and a must-have," says Janet Parrella-Van Den Berg, White and Faded's co-creator. "Office light can be very draining for the mind. Natural light or a light source equal to that will make a huge impact on productivity and happiness in the workspace."
How To Create A Happier Work Space: Add A Plant Or Two
Plants have been proven to not only purify your air — leaving you physically feeling better — but they can also improve your mood. "Having plants can be calming," explains Sherman. Looking for something that's also easy to care for? Try a snake plant or spider plants, which are lower-maintenance options.
How To Create A Happier Work Space: Consider Sounds & Smells
Scent and sound can also be a powerful tool for enhancing your mood, as Sherman explains. Some of her favorite ways to do this at your desk? "You can boost serotonin by adding essential oils in a diffuser," the psychologist says. "Orange essential oil boosts mood, and lavender is relaxing. Peppermint or rosemary oil can help you focus." To treat your ears, she suggests playing ocean wave sounds to relax or listening to a meditation to ease stress.