How to create a more mindful office while you work from home

As a workplace designer, I have had the opportunity to collaborate with incredible companies like Airbnb, Headspace and Soundcloud, among others, to design-conscious workplaces that inspire healthy habits and a deeper connection to the cycles of nature.

Over the past few months as many of us have been on lockdowns and working remotely throughout the world, the culture of work, not to mention the role of the workplace itself, has changed immensely. And with that, achieving a sense of balance or zen has become a distant memory for most

As we continue to live through these times of great change and transition, our homes have never played a more important role in our lives. With this shift, we have an opportunity to reimagine how we design them.

Kelly Robinson
Kelly Robinson, Founder & Designer of Kelly A Robinson

In my new digital design guide,”Where Spirit Meets Space,” I’ve outlined design methodologies to support this transformation and navigate the balance of working from home, and spending much more time at home, through intentional design. 

Here are my five tips to transform your current work-from-home setup into one that considers your overall productivity,  well-being, and in-home happiness: 

1 – Shift your lens

While it is challenging to suddenly be more confined to our home, it is also such a huge privilege to have one. Our home is our own small planet. The way we design and care for it shapes the way we experience all aspects of our life.

Before you consider how to change it to work better for you, take a moment to find gratitude for all your home has held you through. Whether you have lived in your home for two weeks or twenty years, this is the place that is holding you through this unprecedented time.

Try to imagine what life would be like without it, and find more appreciation for all that it is.

Kelly Robinson - where spirit meets space
Before you consider how to change you home to work better for you, take a moment to find gratitude for all your home has held you through

2 – Practice essentialism

Often the first thing we must do to create a needed shift in our home is to focus on what we can remove. Now is a very good time to take stock of everything in your home and clear away the non-essential.

As you move through your space, pick up each object and ask yourself whether it has been physically touched in the last month. If not, perhaps it’s time to part ways. You may even consider whether there is an entire room that is under-utilized and can be repurposed for a more essential task.

Reclaim space for only what is truly important, and don’t be afraid of having some empty space. Consider how you feel when stepping into a yoga studio or similar sacred space.

Why do so many people feel such an immediate sense of calm when entering such a space? Because it is empty. When you clear away the things that you don’t truly love, you’ll immediately feel much more clear and free.

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Kelly Robinson - Headphones and keyboard
“Now is a very good time to take stock of everything in your home and clear away the non-essential” (Image credits: Alex Ghizila)

3 – Create balance

Spending time in spaces that contain both feminine (yin) and masculine (yang) elements inherently makes us feel more balanced. As you look through your workspace, take note of which element may be overpowering the other, and make shifts to bring about more balance.

To bring more elements of yin into your space, you’ll want to add anything round, curved, circular or organic in shape. To increase the yang energy in your space, it often helps to focus on what you can remove.

Yang elements are clear countertops, hard surfaces, closed cupboards and empty spaces. You can also add tall or towering plants, bright lights, bright colors and fire elements to increase the yang energy in your space. 

Kelly Robinson - home environment
“Spending time in spaces that contain both feminine (yin) and masculine (yang) elements inherently makes us feel more balanced” (Image credits: Hillary Black)

4 – Mimic nature

Mother nature is the ultimate interior designer. Her colors, gradients, textures, and materials are the basis of everything we can imagine with design. Because we are creatures of nature, it makes sense that we feel more at home in spaces that contain the elements found in nature.

The natural elements that ultimately create a balanced, harmonious space when used together include earth, fire, water, metal and wood. Scan your home and workplace and take note of which elements may be missing or overpowering, and work to create a better balance.

Similarly, scan your space for plastics or synthetic materials and see if you can donate those and replace them with more natural products. 

Kelly Robinson - Headspace HQ cafe
Headspace Headquarters in Santa Monica designed by Kelly Robinson

5 – Enhance your vista

Prioritize yourself and what you see when you layout your workspace. Give yourself the best view possible. If you have a window, situate yourself so that you can look outside, and cheer it up with more plants.

If you are facing a wall, be sure you are looking at art, imagery, photos or inspirational quotes that make you feel good when you see them. Next, consider how to enhance the vista of your clients and colleagues by intentionally designing your backdrop. Choose visual affirmations surrounding your space consciously.

Too many distractions at work? Your colleagues won’t stop talking? We have a number of solutions for you: 5 apps to improve focus and boost your workflow. Thank us later.

Kelly Robinson - WFH view
“Prioritize yourself and what you see when you lay out your workspace” (Image credits: Mikey Harris)

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