In his work The Great Good Place, sociologist Roy Oldenburg hypothesized that people need three discrete spaces to thrive. The first space is the home—a place for cooking, relaxation, and quality family time. The second is the workplace, where we produce, innovate, and collaborate. Oldenburg argued that in addition to these, people need a “third space” that is neither—a communal place for recreation, contemplation, or gathering. Public areas such as libraries, gyms, and coffee shops fill this need.
The advent of remote work has collapsed the first and second spaces into one, and modern conveniences are fast reducing the need for many third spaces as well. The result—the home as domicile, office, and recreation centre, an overburdened three-in-one space that can often make it difficult to thrive.
That doesn’t make it impossible, mind you. With some guidance, you can restore your work life balance under one roof, enjoying your time away from work and the freedom from time wasting commutes. So let us look at how we can make your home relaxing when it’s also your office.
Create a Dedicated Office Space
If you’re committing to continue to work from home, then you must do it right. Set aside a room or area for work and resist the urge to make use of your laptop’s portability. Let your bedroom be for sleep, your kitchen be for cooking. Associating other parts of the home with the stresses of office life will make your intentional time in these spaces less enjoyable.
Rely As Best You Can on Natural Light
One of the negatives of modern office life is the bright and often fluorescent lighting that illuminates most work spaces. Cold, harsh, and ever-humming, it’s a feature that puts many of us on edge. Locate your home office in a part of your home that receives ample sunlight. the less artificial light you need, the more relaxing your home office will be.
Seek Harmony Outside Your Office
If you’re interested in how to make your home relaxing when it’s also your office, all your energy shouldn’t go into perfecting your office space. Optimising the rest of your home is important for your work life balance. When you emerge from your workspace to relax in your bedroom or living room, a well-designed and aesthetically pleasing relaxation space will make a big difference to your life. Make the careful distinction between endearing clutter and meaningless disarray. Keep artificial lighting warm-hued and soothing, and take a look at making your flooring and furniture coordinate properly. Spending time creating a comforting setting to relax in will also help to refresh and rejuvenate before you have to go back to your office space.
A green Home—and Home Office
It’s important to distinguish your first and second spaces, but one aspect that can unify them is an embrace of greenery. Being among low-maintenance plant life can reduce stress and make you feel healthier. Count on ferns, succulents, ficus trees, and other popular houseplants to bring a sense of calm throughout the home. My Peace Lily and Snake plant are the most resilient plants I have ever owned and both have air purifying properties too.
Give Yourself Time Away from Both
One final way to get the best out your home and office space is to avail yourself of those third spaces. Enjoying your local coffee shop, public library, or recreation centre will make you feel less constrained by home and office alike. This healing time sets the stage for relaxing at home and work.