What do you want from your work space? If you’re anything like us, your dream set up might be a light, bright sanctuary of calm and concentration, where you feel inspired to tap into your creativity and able to maximise your productivity.
In reality, more of us are now working from home than ever before – adjusting to the ‘new normal’ whilst struggling to carve out a quiet area in the midst of a hectic household.
With kids running wild, kitchen tables doubling as desks, and bedrooms turned into boardrooms, it can feel impossible to separate yourself from surrounding distractions and emotional stresses.
Luckily, we’ve got some tried and tested tips to help you set up a workspace that is organised, inspiring and productivity-promoting – and which supports your wellbeing, too.
Read on for 8 ways to make your work life work well, including some very smart products – all of which can of course be found in the Conscious Spaces online store.
TIP 1: Shield your eyes from screen strain
With so many of us now tethered to technology for the entirety of our working day, symptoms of digital eye strain - from sore, tired, itchy eyes, to painful headaches and difficulty focusing - are on the rise.
As well as irritating our eyes, unprotected exposure to blue light has been shown capable by scientists at the University of Toledo (1) of damaging them, too.
"It's toxic”, said Kasun Ratnayake, a researcher from the university. “If you shine blue light on retinal, the retinal kills photoreceptor cells (2) as the signaling molecule on the membrane dissolves. Photoreceptor cells do not regenerate in the eye. When they're dead, they're dead for good."
"We are being exposed to blue light continuously, and the eye's cornea and lens cannot block or reflect it," Dr. Ajith Karunarathne, the paper’s senior author, explained.
"It's no secret that blue light harms our vision by damaging the eye's retina. Our experiments explain how this happens."
The good news? Reducing digital eye strain and protecting your eyes from blue light damage is simple and inexpensive. Here’s how:
- Wear Swannies blue light-blocking glasses. Boasting a chic design, Swannies glasses protect your eyes from harmful blue light, with anti-reflective and anti-glare lens coating to help prevent macular degeneration and insomnia, too. Wear them for long days in front of laptops –and wave goodbye to the accompanying eye strain and headaches. Night time versions, geared towards supporting your circadian rhythm and improving sleep quality, are also available.
- Turn down your screen brightness (but not so much that you’re having to squint to see it!). You could also download a free blue light filter app, such as Iris, which controls the light ratio of your gadgets for you.
- Make sure you’re sitting at a comfortable distance from your computer, and that you can easily focus on the screen, to avoid having to lean forwards and strain your eyes further.
TIP 2: Clear the way for positive energy
It’s important to explore how the space where you work makes you feel. How would you describe the energy within it? Does it uplift or leave you flat or anxious?
Whilst we might not immediately recognise it, all rooms carry a certain energy – whether physical, spiritual or emotional - which impacts on the wellbeing of the people within it. Think about what the energy might feel like in an abandoned building, or a cold cellar – and then compare that to a light-flooded, calming church, or a breezy, beach-front apartment.
Similarly, the mood within our homes is affected by past events which have occurred between its walls.
Derived from ancient indigenous cultures, space clearing is used to cleanse an area by ridding it of unwanted negative energy; paving the way for success, happiness and good health and allowing for a renewed sense of purpose and clarity.
Space clearing for productivity becomes especially important when trying to set up a work space in the middle of a chaotic home. With the sofa sometimes having to function as the study, and children’s shouts echoing in the background, it can be difficult to distance yourself from environmental stresses.
Conscious Spaces founder, Tara, has first-hand experience of the benefits of space clearing in a work setting:
“When we first got the keys to our office, there were a couple of rooms which we wanted to rent out - but nobody would take them. It’s hard to explain, but the rooms just felt uncomfortable somehow – not at all welcoming, cold – almost ‘heavy’ even.
We got space clearing done and the results were incredible. It was like a breath of fresh air flowed through the building - it immediately lifted the whole space. The following week, we showed people round, and the rooms were rented straight away.”
Tara believes that space clearing could be more helpful now than ever before: “it’s so cost effective, and can really help to release negativity and tension. It can literally be life changing!”
Want to learn how space clearing can help you to flourish and succeed?
Call or email us now for more information or to book your space clearing consultation (we are also able to offer online consultancy): T (+44) 01326 727 222, email@example.com
TIP 3: Bask in healing light while you work
Next, it’s time to set the mood.
Natural light is key in any work space, helping you to feel energised and alert. One study (3) found that employees sat within 10 feet of a window reported an 84% decrease in eyestrain, headaches and blurred vision.
So, if you can, set up your desk in a sunny spot close to a window – and keep curtains and blinds open to let the light in.
Perhaps less obvious, but just as transformative, is the introduction of infrared light to your working day.
SaunaSpace’s Photon red-filtered incandescent light therapy lamp provides the perfect full-spectrum of healing and detoxing light to soothe and calm your body and mind.
With no UV or blue light, no flicker and zero EMF stress, unlike other types of lighting, the Photon won’t wreak havoc on your sleep patterns.
Providing therapeutic-standard near infrared detoxification and mitochondrial stimulation, the Photon gently warms you whilst you work for a natural, anti-inflammatory energy boost.
TIP 4: Protect yourself from the electromagnetic radiation coming from your laptop
The average desk is cluttered with technology. Laptops, smart phones, iPads, wireless keyboards and Wi-Fi routers abound, meaning our exposure to electromagnetic radiation (which is given out by our digital devices) has reached an all-time high.
A growing body of scientific evidence exists to suggest that prolonged exposure to EMF radiation has significant biological and psychological effects, with studies citing the damage it can do to cells, (4) organ systems, (5) the brain 6) and fertility, (7) amongst other worrying examples.
To make your work space as healthy and safe as it can possibly be, we recommend that you:
- Take a moment to consider the different types of technology around where you work. Where’s the router that supplies your Wi-Fi? Make sure it’s kept as far away from where you sit as possible, to minimise the radiation risk.
- Think about investing in an EMF protection device. Sold in our Conscious Spaces online store, Qi-Tech products are proven to protect against the effects of electromagnetic frequencies. For portable, personal protection, we recommend either the smallest device in the range - the Qi-Me, or the Qi Shield, which is ideal for setting down on your desk whilst you work – cancelling out some of the impact on the body from EMFs.
- Always use a wired mouse and keyboard instead of wireless, then disable Bluetooth on your computer. Even better – make a complete move from wireless to wired options, using shielded Ethernet cables to connect computers to your router. The more wires you use, the more EMF radiation will be contained.
- Never rest your laptop in your lap – and especially not if you’re a guy. Research shows that a laptop resting on the knees can raise the temperature of a man’s testicles by an alarming 2.8 degrees. Further studies have additionally revealed a worrying association with the use of a Wi-Fi connected laptop and a decrease in sperm motility, as well as sperm DNA fragmentation.
TIP 5: Apply the principles of Feng shui to promote creativity
The ancient Chinese philosophy of Feng shui encourages us to deepen our awareness of our surroundings, arranging our environment to help us achieve our full potential. And when it comes to creating your best work space set up, what could be more relevant than that?
To apply the principles of Feng shui to promote creativity and productivity in your own home, consider your interior in correspondence with the five elements – wood, fire, earth, metal, water.
Try adding plants, cheerful colours, considered lighting and even water features, to achieve a sense of balance in your working day.
Placing your desk near a window or in the centre of a room will enhance creative energy and flow. A desk that faces a wall, on the other hand, is thought in Feng shui to have the opposite effect.
When a space is perfectly balanced through Feng shui, it means it is primed for optimal living; encouraging joy, lowering anxiety and increasing focus.
If you want to learn how to bring more harmony, balance, energy and power to your personal spaces – whether for work or play – our Feng shui consultancy could be just what you’ve been searching for.
Call or email us to discover Feng shui to suit all budgets and beliefs:
T (+44) 01326 727 222, firstname.lastname@example.org
TIP 6: Breathe easy with portable air purifiers for your desk
We know that air quality has a significant impact on every facet of our wellbeing – with a recent review (8) revealing that air pollution can cause severe damage to “every organ in the body”, and can “cause, complicate or exacerbate many adverse health conditions” - from cancer to dementia.
We also know that, since people now spend (9) 90% of their time indoors (and that’s before the lockdown was introduced), most of our exposure to air pollution occurs in our homes and workplaces.
A shocking 3.8 million deaths are attributed to (10) indoor air pollution every single year, with indoor air found to be (11) between 5 and 13 times more polluted than its outdoor equivalent. So, it stands to reason that, whilst you might not be able to see it, your work space is also vulnerable to the threat of polluted air.
Research carried out by the World Green Building Council (12) recorded an 11% increase in productivity as a result of increased fresh air to a workstation, and a reduction in pollutants.
So, what can you do to improve the air quality of your work space? Here’s a few ideas:
- Invest in an air filter. The Hextio air filter provides a one-stop solution to air quality issues, combining the world’s most advanced air purification technology with sleek, simple design. The best part? At £169, it’s eminently affordable and perfectly portable – making it ideal for home office set-ups or desk-top usage. Tackling viruses, mould, allergens, bacteria, VOCs, toxic gases and ultra-fine particle pollution, the Hextio brings medical-grade technology straight to your work space – allowing you to breathe clean, pure, health-giving air and propel your productivity.
- Keep a personal probiotic spray on your desk, like this one by We Are Probiotic. A super-easy and cost-effective way to clean and enhance the air – as well as the surface of your desk and the objects on it too, the Pro-Go releases microscopic sprays of natural, beneficial bacteria. Active air purification is especially great for people with asthma and allergies, as probiotics feed on pollen, mould and dust mite waste.
- Fresh air fuels the mind, so push open your windows and doors and let that breeze flow through. Let air circulate fully by opening windows at opposite ends of the house.
- Testing the air in your home for mould and other contaminants by buying an air quality monitor (please contact us if you need any help selecting the best model for your needs).
TIP 7: Boost your brain power with pure oxygen
Fancy feeding your brain and boosting your energy levels with fresh oxygen whilst you work? With the INBair 02 Personal Oxygen Purifier, you can.
Scientific research shows (13) that mental performance and agility can be significantly improved by inhaling pure oxygen.
As the world’s most portable, lightweight and stylish personal oxygen purifier, theINBair 02 delivers 40% oxygen through a sleek headset – helping you to work smarter and feel refreshed.
Conscious Spaces founder Tara, is a fan, finding the INBair invaluable for maintaining fitness and good health:
"The INBair 02 Personal Oxygen Purification device turned up for testing at the very time I had an unexpected chest infection. I doubt I would have cleared it as quickly as I did without this great product."
TIP 8: Add more joy to your desk
Adding some personal touches to your work space will immediately make it feel more inviting and inspiring.
According to Marie Kondo, (14) the queen of organisation: “when we care for the things we choose to keep, they give back positive energy. Many years of experience have convinced me that any place where things are treated with respect and gratitude, whether a home or an office, becomes a relaxing and energizing power spot.”
All-too often, home offices can feel like an afterthought, shoved in alongside guest beds and drying racks. Anything you can do to make your WFH set up feel like a space in its own right – separate from other household activities – will make it a more enjoyable, and productive, place to be.
The old adage – ‘tidy desk tidy mind’, rings true here too. Although, according to Marie, we shouldn’t think of it as ‘tidying’, but rather “interior designing". “When we tell ourselves that we have to do something”, says Marie, “it feels like a chore. But when we see tidying as a creative endeavor that will spark joy in our workspace, we're happy to do it.”
In this spirit of sparking joy, Conscious Spaces founder Tara likes to place crystals on her desk: “we have a really beautiful amethyst in our office which we’ve had for decades.”
Other stones thought to enliven a work space include rose quartz, pyrite, black tourmaline, chrysoprase and shungite - which is believed to be particularly effective for those wanting to balance the effects of too much tech.
“Whatever you feel about crystals”, says Tara, “they have been used for millennia, with various benefits attributed to them.”
Existing research into crystals and their potential uses covers areas as diverse as data storage, (15) and the fight against inflammation and skin damage. (16) “It will be interesting to see what other uses future studies reveal”, says Tara.
Colour can be another powerful tool for encouraging a certain energy (17) within a work space, with research suggesting (18) its ability to enhance not only our mood, but our mental performance and memory too.
"Research shows that colour can help us to understand, memorise and recall environmental information more easily”, explains Tara. “The choice of colours, and the way they’re used, has been found by scientists to affect the extent to which they influence memory."
“Most importantly”, Tara concludes, “whatever you choose to keep on your desk, makes sure it’s something that means something to you – it’s your space after all!”