Biz Buzz: Tips for Working at Home from Studio 88 in Newport Beach

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Studio 88 Founder and President Chris Johnson / photo courtesy Studio 88

From the news of a worldwide pandemic to the official order that all non-essential businesses must shut their doors and work remotely, it’s been difficult to process all the changes to our daily routines. One major change: transitioning from an office to a home work space.

When Design Tec and Design Tec Commercial began the transition from its co-working  space at Studio88 in Newport Beach to home offices, Design Tec and Studio88 founder and president, Chris Johnson, gave her team and Studio88 members a valuable reminder: in times of great uncertainty, we must focus on what we can control rather than what we cannot.

With that spirit, Johnson offers a few methods to improve our environments and promote well-being at home. These simple changes, says Johnson, will promote a sense of calm and boost overall happiness.

“It’s our hope during this challenging time that we all take intentional steps towards taking care of ourselves, improving our environments, and maintaining focus on the areas of our life that are within our control,” Johnson said.

The Place / photo by Chris Mayer
  1. Define Your Space

Add a personality area rug to define your workspace when possible. It sets a creative tone, as well as a physical boundary for other family members. Many online sources such as Wayfair, CB2, West Elm, and Crate & Barrel carry various sizes, shapes and styles. Still find your mind wandering while you’re trying to work? Create a small vision board or simply keep a couple of images of the subject you are working on in close view to help you stay focused. Keep sticky notes nearby to jot down ideas as they come to you through your creative process. (Photo: The Place by Intracorp)

  1. Light Up Your Life

Is your desk dark or poorly lit? Rearrange lamps, dimmers, and candles to enhance your workspace lighting. Notice how natural light changes as the day carries on. If you feel yourself losing steam, you can increase the intensity of your lighting. Set an alarm when it’s time to start winding down at the end of the day and dim the lighting to support your natural circadian rhythm.

  1. Bring in the Great Outdoors

Reposition furniture to bring your home office closer to windows, patios, balconies, or skylights. Create areas within your space where plants are the center of focus without TVs or electronics nearby. Bring in cut flowers from outside and put in a vase to add color and life to your space. With a focus on houseplants, wildflowers, soft textures, and earth elements, you can make this a space to rest and recharge. (Photo: Cava by TRI Pointe Homes)

  1. Ergonomics

Invest in a comfortable ergonomic chair if possible. It will make all the difference in how you feel at the end of the day.

  1. Diffuse Sound

Incorporate a sound diffusion strategy. When working in close quarters with others working or playing at home, sound cancelling headphones or earbuds are a must for total concentration. Download a favorite playlist, tune into a Pandora collection or YouTube some soothing music or nature sounds to drown out other conversations, encouraging focus and creativity.

  1. Use Color to Affect Your Mood

Transform your home into a sanctuary. Need a creativity boost? Use palettes with a focus on hues of green.  If you’re looking for help calming down, blues are the way to go. Home Depot and Lowe’s (and the three Newport Beach Crown Ace Hardware stores) are still open, so take advantage of extra time in your day and paint a wall in your office, extra room, or wherever you are setting up shop to give it a fresh look. (Photo: Ivy at The Preserve by TRI Pointe Homes)

  1. Clear Clutter

Maintain a clear workspace and notice how it affects the clarity of your thoughts. Make sure personal items are out of view to limit distractions. Make a habit of organizing and clearing your desk at the end of each day so you can start fresh. To clear mental clutter, make a short list of non-negotiable daily tasks that need to be done.

  1. Infuse Your Day with Fresh Air

Take breaks when you can and get outside. A short walk in nature for a change of scenery will do wonders to energize you midday. Eat lunch outside on a deck, patio, or lawn (weather permitting.)  Leave your phone in the office to get a true mental escape.

  1. Keep Your Office Hours

Stick to your home “office hours” and do all household chores before or after your  home workday to define the boundary between home and work as much as possible.  During your lunch hour, allow only what you would if you were at the office, like a short errand or personal phone call.

  1. Treat Yourself

Justify your otherwise commute time with a special treat at the end of the day as a reward for staying focused. Add in an online yoga class, prepare an otherwise time-consuming week-day meal for the family, or play a board game or game of basketball in the driveway with your kids for the extra 30 to 60 minute commute you may otherwise have had if you were going to the office. Build in intentional joy and happiness in nurturing ways on a daily basis to compensate for the stress and inconvenience that the current situation brings.

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Mystral / photo by Tsutsumida
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