With the right set-up, you can prime your brain for its sharpest side-hustle ideas yet. Keen? Over to the experts…
Build a Nook
Having a creative cocoon to settle into helps you feel grounded before you start hustling, says interior designer Gary Wheeler, who’s led office renos for innovators such as Apple. If you don’t have a separate room for an office, he suggests picking a corner by a window, as a survey by HR advisory firm Future Workplace confirms natural light is the number one perk of an office space.
Next, visually separate your workspace from the rest of your home by placing a floor rug under your desk, suggests interior stylist Kylie Jackes. “This anchors your space and creates a defined zone, with the added benefit of providing extra warmth in the cooler months,” she explains. Short on space but got some spare cash for a reno? “You could look at converting a pantry or cupboard in your kitchen or dining area into a workstation cupboard with doors on it, so you can close off any mess when not in use,” suggests interior stylist Emma Blomfield.
Keep it Tidy
While the science community continues to argue over whether a messy or uncluttered desk inspires more creativity, two things are certain. The first: “Stepping into your space should be an experience. If it stresses you out, you’ll spiral,” Wheeler says. The second: the people you live with shouldn’t have to witness the debris of your productive mind. Blomfield suggests putting in floating shelves above your desk. “This helps define it as a workstation, as well as giving you some sneaky storage space. Filing cabinets under the desk work well for this too,” she says. Stylish cloth boxes are another option for storing stationery as well as hiding paperwork. “Make sure the boxes have lids on them, so you can hide the mess easily and don’t have to keep it all neat,” Blomfield adds.
Log Out Daily
When you’re working from home, it’s even more important to set solid work-life boundaries. Why? A joint ILO–Eurofound report found 41 per cent of remote workers feel stress “always or most of the time” compared with only 25 per cent of traditional employees. To combat this, interior stylist Aimee Tarulli suggests “allocating a set time to work from home, as if you were scheduling a meeting, to help switch off easier”. Styling-wise, she says those tips to keep your space tidy will also “help ‘close the door’ on the workspace once you’ve finished working”.
Decorate with Intent
“The ability to think and focus depends greatly on the connection between your eyes and brain,” says Wheeler. He suggests anything directly in front of you should be neutral (white or grey), while Jackes offers another opinion: “If your desk faces a wall, you may want to use a feature colour, then group a couple of favourite framed prints or use a pin board to create an ever-evolving collage of magazine tear sheets, swatches, photos and pictures. [But] less can be more when it comes to decorating, so avoid the trap of over-cluttering the space. You want a desk area where you can spread and work unencumbered with minimal distractions.”
Go for Green
“Greenery can really help make a workspace feel more inviting,” says Tarulli. “Add a plant in a pot in the corner of the room, or use floating shelves for a trailing plant like Devil’s Ivy.” The extra foliage will help you get more done too, according to a study published in the Journal of Experimental Psychology: Applied. When plants were added to sparse workspaces, employees were 15 per cent more productive. Vote green!