Adjusting to a work from home schedule when you’re used to going into the office is challenging, to say the least. It can feel like you’re spinning your wheels and constantly succumbing to distraction rather than diving into the tasks at hand. While adapting to a changed work environment overnight is a tall order, making enhancements to your at-home set-up can really help you adjust to this new WFH life. To learn more about how to change your space to ease the work from home transition, we consulted Swedish design team Kauppi & Kauppi. Run by husband and wife team Nina and Johan Kauppi, Kauppi & Kauppi is an award-winning Scandinavian design house best known for their work with light and greenery. The two Scandi-chic designers recommended these simple changes to your home office:
Declutter Your Space and Minimize Distraction
“Clean the place well, it is not a procrastination, it is a necessity,” says Nina Kauppi. “It is about defining what is your new office and what is not.”
To that end, she suggests you spend a few hours ridding your space of anything that isn’t serving you in a work capacity. If you’re using your office space to store your vintage gaming equipment, that’s cluttering your space with items that are in no way related to your work. “Find a box, pack away all unnecessary items, and make sure to declutter the space where you intend to have your ‘focus spot,’” says Kauppi.
Invest in a Standing Desk
The next adjustment for your office? “We would definitely suggest you invest in a height-adjustable desk,” says Kauppi.
The design team makes a strong case for a standing desk that adjusts, pointing out that it allows you to better break up your day. “It will allow you to divide your day into segments,” says the team. “Choose to stand the part of the workday when you need to finish something up rapidly, or when you need to be extra alert making an important call. Change for a sitting session when you need to do your research or think out strategies.”
Organize in a Way that Feels Familiar to You
To “create a world of your own in a busy place,” Nina and Johan put a premium on bringing calm and serenity into your space. That means avoiding making a mess of your immediate workspace.
“Put a small stool, or little table in reach of your desk,” says Kauppi. This gives you “a place to put things that you need to have, but that will crowd up your desk if you keep them there.”
Bringing work accoutrements—notebooks, pens, coffee cups, USBs—into your space is inevitable. But they don’t need to crowd your desk, which should really be reserved just for work. That’s why having a space near your standing desk to function as your WFH medicine cabinet can help.
Create a “Green Corner”
In true Swedish design fashion, Kauppi & Kauppi advocates for upping your plant game as you decorate your home office. “They will grow, give you oxygen, and there is something very wonderful with a new leaf appearing—it is like a happy message of hope,” says Kauppi. “We believe in the power of biophilic design!”
To get started, Kauppi says to simply “Borrow plants from other places and create a green corner.” To optimize your green corner, check out the Swedish design team’s GreenFrame plant divider, which was launched at the 2018 Stockholm Furniture Fair. GreenFrame adds light to a room “even where daylight may not be enough,” and uses wood and light to “contribute to better indoor climate, nicer workplaces, and happier plants.”
Use Light and Dividers to Elevate Your Workspace
You don't need anything particularly fancy to divide your space; minimalist dividers are the way to go. If you're working in an open-plan room but need a personal workspace, Kauppi says to "consider hanging linens from the ceiling to divide the space temporarily."
Even if you have a room entirely to yourself, using strategically placed dividers is still a smart way to increase your productivity. You can have a designated workspace that revolves around your standing desk, a nook by the window where you can take a break and read or get into more creative ideation, and a planning station where you keep your calendar, white board, or other long-term planning materials. "Create a pin board for notes, sketches, and to-do lists," says Kauppi.
Anf finally, play with light as a way to enhance your workspace. That might mean moving your standing desk around until you find where the light is just right. "Arrange the light so that it supports your activity, optimize it as far as possible, even if it means that you need to drag a lamp from another room," advises Nina and Johan. "Often more than one lamp is needed to be able to change the light during the day and work session."