With the work from home mandate back in action, we thought this would be a timely article to help us spruce up our work (and home) environment and make the next few weeks as enjoyable as it could be.
Now that work and rest are forced to be within the same space, it is actually quite important that we learn how to segregate these two realms properly, so that we can create an optimal environment for each activity and do our best at both.
This segregation could take the form of an actual demarcation if you’ve got the space for it, but we understand that majority of us just haven’t got the room to create two separate environments for work and rest. As such, one way to work around having just one space, is to create different set-ups for work and rest, such that we gradually learn to condition our minds to associate each set-up to its intended activity and concentrate on that activity only. Creating associations between the environment and the task is a good way to teach ourselves to be fully present in the intended activity, which is one way to set ourselves up for success regardless of which activity we are doing.
In this article, we’ll be showing you how flowers can be used creatively to carve out different environments for work and rest, so that we can still enjoy our rest space and ‘safe haven’ even during this WFH period. And if our ideas speak to you, fret not about procuring fresh blooms during this period, for our 24 hour flower delivery service will get those blooms to you while you stay in the comforts of your newly furnished home.
The Work Environment
So how should we go about creating these ‘work’ and ‘rest’ set-ups? Ultimately, the goal is to create an environment that is best suited to your productivity style, so that you will be able to work or rest best in that environment.
Let’s start with the work environment, since that’s the one most of us spend the bulk of our day in. Just spend five minutes, close your eyes, visualize your ideal, most productive work set-up, and imagine yourself grinding out work there. What would you like to have on your desk? Does an empty, minimalist desk suit you best, or are you someone who would prefer a more artsy, creative environment? Where would you want your charging port, your pens, your laptop to be at? Once you’ve got the productivity set-up in mind, think about what would make working at your desk fun. Yes, we said fun. This writer is a fan of Ali Abdaal, and if you have watched his latest video, he dished out some tip top advice on how to increase productivity. One piece of advice which I felt made absolute sense, was to make work fun. For example, if you’re a fan of small figurines, having a cute set-up at your desk which you enjoy looking at could increase the enticing factor of working at said desk. Or if you enjoy nature and the outdoors, placing a table plant or flower on your desk is another way of making the hours sat at the table more exciting.
In fact, you don’t really have to be a nature lover to benefit from having a desk plant or flower. Many studies have shown that a desk plant can increase productivity by reducing stress, improve air quality, and provide some semblance of tranquility amidst the office hustle and bustle. The obvious greenery also reminds one to rest your screen-fatigued eyes every once in a while. Even if you think you are the type who might kill a plant just by being in the same space as it, don’t let this fear deter you from the multiple benefits of having a desk plant!
Many desk plants can be well-maintained with minimal effort and just the occasional water every few days. On the other hand, if you are the type who love being in the company of greenery, then take this as a sign to spruce up your work environment by procuring some new desk plants and table flowers. While desk plants can be seen as staples, table flowers are like the occasional treat for yourself. And they are very much needed when you are having a rough week at work, or when WFH starts to get sluggish and cabin-fever starts to set in. Since we’re talking about a table flower on our work desk, it also makes sense to choose an arrangement that is not too extravagant that it will distract you, but can still add a pop of colour and novelty to your work set-up. Arrangements like this ‘Lush’ one with white oriental lilies nestled amongst fresh greens in a simple acrylic vase, a table flower arrangement will do the job just perfectly.
The Rest Environment
Now that we’ve got the work environment settled, it’s time we curate a nice space for us to wind down at the end of every long work day. Even if your wind down routine consists of changing into cozy sweats and binging on Netflix the rest of the night, it helps to have a designated environment for that so that we can fully switch off our mind and put us in the best state to recharge. While ideally we would like two separate spots for work and rest, the reality is that many of us are space-constrained and do not have the luxury of creating two distinct work and rest areas. However, even if we are within the same space, it is still important that we create certain cues in the environment that help to signal the end of a work day.
What many of us tend to do, is use the same desk set-up that we had during the day as our chilling spot at night. But that mixes up our associations with that desk set-up, and makes us distracted while we work, yet unable to fully dissociate from work while we rest. Having pieces of work material lying around the desk while we chill is almost akin to having the boss join us at Friday night drinks with the team. So to avoid such muffled associations between work and rest, it helps to just spend that extra five minutes every day after work to clean up the desk and set aside the work-related items as a closure to the work day.
Put aside items that you’ve learned to associate with work, such as the work laptop, the mousepad, the desk plant even. And then set up the items that spell ‘rest’ in your dictionary. Things like lighting a candle, switching to a different playlist, turning on the soft yellow light instead of the bright white one. Switch from the ‘productivity’ desk plant to a ‘softer’ item such as a dried flower display, or this ‘For evermore’ [insert hyperlink to item] style of arrangement. Whatever you prefer to do, the point is to create an environment that helps lower the basal heart rate and slowly shed the stressors of the work day.
Aside from changing one’s desk set-up, there are other areas in the room that could be targeted for a better evening and night’s rest. Think of the bedside table, an item which you’ll see without fail when you go to sleep at every night, and when you wake up every morning. There’s much potential for this table to be more than just a space for placing our phone and reading lamp. Again, our biased opinion would unabashedly influence us to recommend placing a small table flower which you’ll be happy waking up to every morning. Imagine starting your day being greeted by fresh blooms, quite possibly one of the better ways to kickstart a positive and productive day. There are more flower display ideas you can adopt for your own home.
The Dining Environment
Finally, not to forget the environment in which we have our meals! From lunches with colleagues to solo meals, from café runs and hawker visits to more simple home-cooked meals, there may be adjustments to get used to when we are doing all activities within our home. Yet again, the idea is to create a designated space for each activity, so that we learn to be fully present in the activity itself. Of course, this is assuming that you guys are able to carve out a full, undisturbed 30 minutes to an hour for lunch each day, which we understand is a privilege for many. Regardless, perhaps some of the pointers here will be applicable to various extents.
During lunch, try as much as possible to eat away from your work desk. You must have heard this multiple times before, but there is a reason so many people recommend this. In addition, do try to unclutter your dining area as well. Having a open space in front of you when eating helps to calm the mind, and staring into nothingness is great for helping you to let your mind wander away from the work tasks you were greatly engrossed in just mere minutes ago. If you want to take this a step further in enhancing whatever short dining experience you managed to carve out, feel free to beautify the dining table with another vase of flowers.
This time, choose something bright that can lift up your spirits and provide you with that much-needed momentary distraction in the middle of the work day. Something like this ‘Citrine Orchids’ arrangement [insert hyperlink] that is hard to ignore even in the darkest of work days could do the job well.
We hope this little piece has inspired you to create a designated work and rest environment given our semi-permanent WFH situations. We may not be able to control the external conditions – factors like demanding bosses, mountains of work, and uncooperative colleagues. But we have the power to control how we react, and while this is definitely easier said than done, conscious practice really does make perfect. With intentional habits and good practices, we hope that everyone would gradually get the hang of working from home and delineate work from home in a way that is sustainable for the long run.
Writer: Engracia Loh