From furniture to lighting, there are many facets to creating a workspace that makes you happy. We’ve been doing the research and if you’re a freelance graphic designer, then you obviously have the freedom to build your workspace however you like. If you’re employed in a wider team, drop your boss a few hints about how workers who can decorate their office are more productive as a result.
It’s All About the Accessories
First things first, take a look at your style of working. Everyone has their own way of doing things and learning about your personal style can help identify the kinds of accessories you need to kit out your workspace.
Do you make a lot of lists? Consider a whiteboard for lists that are easily editable and kept in plain view. What kind of timescales do you work on? You could organise your schedule with a yearly wall planner, a monthly calendar, or a week-by-week diary. Do you have to work on the go a lot? Do you prefer sketching out your ideas or going straight to digital methods? Do you need space to lay lots of items out at once?
Find Everything a Home
Once you have all the gadgets and gismos that you need, it’s time to find a home for them all. A good rule to follow is to keep everything you need within reach and then keep everything else well out of the way.
Neat storage solutions help to keep your workspace clear of distractions. Invest in some drawer units, cupboards, or shelving to suit your office. Then try to only keep out the items you’ll need for your current project.
Get into the habit of tidying everything away at the end of a work day, so that you can return to a fresh start in the morning.
Create Separate Work Zones
Providing you have the space, do what you can to create distinct areas for different kinds of work. Perhaps an area for meeting with clients and ideating, another for really getting down to business, and another for taking your breaks?
Doing this encourages you to move around throughout the day. It’s too easy to stay seated all day long but little bursts of movement help stimulate blood flow, oxygenating the brain and increasing attentiveness and productivity.
Work zones are particularly important if you work from home. Your brain makes associations with different locations and your living room is filled with relaxing associations – not really the set up for hard work. Create an area at home that can be your work space and your work space only.
An Inspiration Gallery
Use your workspace to stave off creative block by filling it with inspirational work. The walls around your desk can become one big mood board for designs and art that you enjoy. In fact, if you put up a corkboard, you can literally make yourself a mood board that gets updated with every new project. These designs can be examples of other people’s work or your own work if you’re particularly proud of it.
Just be careful with this one. You need to find the balance between inspiration and clutter – don’t create too many distractions for yourself.
Get the Environment Right
We’ve talked a lot about the physical set up of your workspace but did you know that your brain is hugely influenced by much more subtle factors. Optimise your work environment with the perfect lighting, scent, sounds and temperature.
This might sound like a load of old nonsense but research shows that we are unconsciously attuned to scent. The smell of coffee can enhance your analytical reasoning skills, and lemon can lead you to make fewer errors.
As for sound, do you think you work better in silence or with music? It turns out, the answer might actually be neither. Tonal sounds (melodies you can sing along to) can be very distracting, particularly anything involving the human voice. However, white noise and the steady noise of machinery can be easily tuned out. In fact, ambient noise at approximately 70 decibels can help with creative problem solving.
Plants, Plants, Plants!
Yes, we’re serious. A bit of greenery doesn’t just do wonders for your Instagram – it has been proven to improve your work. So you no longer have to feel guilty about your houseplant obsession.
Nobody works at their best when they’re stressed and you might not be surprised to learn that plants help reduce stress. However, plants have also been found to help increase our attention capacity. These benefits still apply even if your office looks out onto a view of nature.
If you’ve been considering the idea of going freelance, and this talk of having more control over your workspace is making it even more tempting, discover our tips for going from employed to self-employed. We’ll walk you through the steps to making your dream job a reality.