The Psychology of Space
During the pandemic, it became obvious that where one works matters. It also became obvious that doing your best work is about more than finding a comfortable chair. Everything from light to ceiling height impacts the psychology of space and its impact on our attention and productivity. So how do you build a great work space at home?
Step 1: Find Your Flow Zone
Think of a time when you have felt and been at your best. Where were you the last time you experienced flow? Then, think of small tweaks you can make to your workspace to recreate this context.
Step 2: Mix Things Up
While many kids rearrange their rooms weekly (even daily), adults tend to put their furniture in places and keep it there for years (even decades). Look around your workspace. Think about every item of furniture. Do you need it? What purpose does it hold? If you can’t answer this question or conclude it has no obvious purpose, it may be time to purge the item in question.
Step 3: Less Is More
On a related note, toss, donate, and when in doubt, deliberate (this applies to the stuff you don’t use but still love). If you’re not already doing this already, it may be symptomatic of a larger problem. A 2020 study published in Environment and Behavior found that workplace stress is often caused by excess clutter and further found that clutter can lead to increased stress and decisional procrastination. As it turns out, stress can cause clutter, and clutter can cause stress, creating a vicious cycle that erodes our impact on the job.
Step 4: Support the Psychology of Space with Small Changes
Revisit the insights you discovered in Steps 1 and 2 and start making bolder changes. You don’t need to be an architect or designer to build a better work environment informed by the psychology of space.