by Zy Gonzales . September 17th, 2012
Designers are one of those professions that force people to sit in front of their computers for 8 hours or even more every day for the entire year. This can sometimes be a major hurdle for creative people since the environment can play a vital role in inspiring or uninspiring a designer.
But if you’re currently working in an environment that’s not very conducive to creative design projects, and you’re thinking that the only way to change this is by doing a major office space makeover; then hold that thought until you finish reading this article. Why? It’s simple really. Not all companies have the resources have the funds to initiate an office space renovation much worse those who are working at home.
So, will your dream workspace be a dream forever? Well, not necessarily. Believe it or not, there are some simple ways on how you can spruce up your work environment without burning a huge hole in your wallet. We’ve listed 10 things you can try in your workstation to help lighten up the mood and at the same time get your creative juices flowing.
This tip is particularly useful for those who work at home. You would want to have your workspace positioned in a place in your house that allows you to move and stretch around. If you have a spare room in your house, try using that room instead of placing your work area in a cramped space in the family living or dining room. Having a dedicated space in your house for work helps not only to maintain order in your stuff (especially if you have kids) but helps to minimize interference coming from outside sources.
If you’re working in a office located in a high-rise building, this might be a little hard to do as you usually don’t have a choice when it comes to workstations. But what you can do is organize your area in a way that will allow you to move freely. Arrange your computer, your file cabinet, paper works and office supplies to create a spacious environment.
A nice view can oftentimes spark inspiration and imagination. Again, if you have a home office, take into consideration a spot in your house that gives you a nice view of the outdoors by placing your table or your chair near a window. In addition to providing you with a sort of entertainment whenever you peek outside, the window will also add in natural light into the room.
Now for those working in a normal office, pick an area in your office that gives you the best view and as much as possible, avoid picking a spot where you’re facing the wall. Although facing a wall helps you get focused on doing your job, creative people with creative jobs need dynamism and interaction with their environment. And a wall will definitely not provide that.
If the seating arrangement doesn’t allow you to choose where you want to sit, think of other things you can use to “get a view”. Post a poster of a landscape in your station or get a mirror. A mirror or a poster will not only give the illusion of added space but will also help you prevent your boss or nosy co-workers to sneak behind your back to see what you’re doing.
Office furniture was made for a reason. So people who are working should be using them. If you’re in a home office, ditch the dining room chair for an ergonomic office chair. Avoid using furniture that is not meant to be used with computers such as outdoor or living room furniture. Get yourself a decent work desk that can hold all your equipment specifically those that were designed to be used with computers.
And instead of using an ordinary chair, get a chair that swivels and reclines. If you’re working full time, you’ll definitely appreciate this kind of chair as it helps promote the proper alignment of your spine which would really make your 8 hours of work very comfortable.
Creating prints and other design projects would usually involve the use of the computer mouse and keyboard. And heavy use of these two computer peripherals can lead to health problems – carpal tunnel syndrome to be specific. So if the keyboard and the mouse are your primary tools when creating your designs, try getting a firm yet comfortable wrist pads for your hands.
Most keyboard and mouse pads are affordable. But you would want to get the right pad that is comfortable yet provides your wrists the needed support. Based on my personal experience, pads that use gel instead of polystyrene beads offer the best support for your hands when using a mouse or keyboard.
It’s also a good idea to surround yourself with inspiring and creative things. Whether it’s a photo of a loved one, a lava lamp or a cool looking desktop feature, having a visual and tactile representation of the things that usually inspire you helps in jumpstarting the creative process.
The addition of something organic in your work space can also sometimes lighten up an office’s mood. The most practical way to go would be to get fake plants but you can also try to get a real living plant. The advantage of getting a real one over a plastic is that you’ll certainly see a more dynamic object in your desk. It can also help you become persevering, patient and responsible when you strive to help the plant flourish.
We all know that the Internet is a gold mine for multimedia content; and a lot of artists use this vast collection of stream of content to their advantage. If you’re a music lover or a fan of movies and videos, you’d definitely want a pair of decent to excellent quality speakers or headphones to help you in entertaining yourself.
Choose a sound system that suits your preference. If you’re a music lover who prefers hip hop and RnB, then go for a system that has good bass. If you’re a person who values vocals over the sound of musical instruments in a song’s background, then go for a speaker system that provides crisp sounds.
If you’re also a photographer, you’ll definitely agree that people’s perception of things can be changed by simply changing the environment’s lighting. The same applies to workstations. You can experiment what kind of light is the most conducive for working and depending on your mood.
If changing the light fixtures is not practical for you, a more convenient solution is to work with the existing light conditions in your work area. You can move your things around and see which combination of arrangements of your computer, your file cabinet and other things in your desk is pleasing to your eye.
Stress will always be a part of any work no matter how dedicated and hardworking you are. But instead of keeping the stress in your system, try getting something to relieve your stress. You can try getting a stress ball, boading balls (Chinese meditation balls) or even a hand grip exercise.
Feel free to squeeze and put your stress into these devices whenever you’re talking to that horrific client of yours. And as an added tip, some people say it’s really effective to imagine their clients’ necks while squeezing into these devices. (Just kidding!)
Another way to improve one’s work place is to eliminate all the clutter and trash lying around. A clean and uncluttered desk can sometimes be a deciding factor for failure and success. A lot of people tend to appreciate the value of having an organized environment when working. We’re not saying that your area should be as clean as whistle, but it would be very practical, convenient and productive when you’re not rummaging through a pile of stuff when you’re looking for something, right? (Like in case you drop your Intuous 5 pen while working)
So, are you still thinking that the only way to improve your workspace through a major renovation? After reading this article, we hope not. Anyways, if you like this post, we certainly would appreciate your feedback by leaving a comment below. You can also drop by our Facebook, Twitter and Google+ accounts and subscribe to our RSS Feeds for more inspiration, features, tips and tricks, and news about graphic design.