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We are pleased to announce that our showroom is re-opening! Throughout July, the showroom will be open every Tuesday and Wednesday from 9am-4pm. All other times are ‘By Appointment Only’ (with 24 hours notice). Otherwise, please know that Paint the Town Green is operating a full service again. Decorating projects, new estimates and colour consultancy are all back underway. Our free ‘knock and drop’ for local orders has come to a close but ‘Click & Collect’ from our showroom is once again available. 

How to enhance your home-working spaces

16th June 2020

Presenteeism was an accepted British culture BC (Before Covid). Working from home – although increasingly in vogue – was still a second place phenomenon.  The phrase “I’m working from home tomorrow” was often top and tailed with reasons as to why it was necessary. Working mothers would need to negotiate days working from home. As well, when working from home, it was ever more important to be eternally available and respond to missed calls and emails in super-human time to ensure no one would think you weren’t working simply because you were working from home.

According to Business Comparison 4.3% of people in the UK mainly worked from home in 2015. This  steadily grew to 5.1% in 2019. The more progressive tech-facilitated companies led the way endorsing it as a new way of life. Lower overheads, longer days spent in the office without the commute and subsequent higher productivity were all deemed to be positive consequences – not to mention it’s kinder to the environment. Some companies however still preferred to thrive in a busy office culture where face to face meetings are considered vital for building relationships and where there is a certain security seeing 50% of the workforce still at their desks past home time.

Covid-19 has changed this deep-rooted culture overnight. Forced into lockdown, along with new office colleagues Zoom and Microsoft Teams – working from home looks indeed to become a new normal even though no one denies the benefit of working in an office. For starters, offices are fun (how else do you know what new series on Netflix to watch?); someone else makes the tea and sometimes it feels easier to get things done when all you need to do is get up and walk to someone else’s desk.

Except everyone has realised that although going into the office has its upsides, business can be done just as well online and now everyone’s worked out the ‘Touch up my appearance’ filter on Zoom – it’s plain sailing…..when the internet is working well. So, as lockdown eases and the new normal embeds its way into people’s lives forever more – there is one feature at home that has never been more essential to get right than now – the home office.

This is for three reasons:

1. It’s vital to ensure that your workspace lends itself to productive working and keeps your moods positive

2. It’s a space you need to feel eminently content in. It’s important to be happy at work after all

3. You need to feel happy that your home office is presentable and ‘zoom-ready’. Bunk beds behind you look like you catnap during the day. Messy bookshelves look like you’re disorganised and the wrong kind of paintings on the wall could cost you a promotion

Even for the self-employed and the freelancers – now is the time to review your desk and consider a home office makeover.

The ONS claimed that in April 49.2% of adults in employment were working from home as a result of the social distancing measures brought in in response to the corona virus pandemic. Not everybody will want to carry on this way and indeed some are looking forwards to getting back to the routine of travelling to the office; but for those trades where working from home is possible, any advice you read around creating a healthy home work environment centres around creating a dedicated space in your home that works for you.

There is of course a practical side of the home office. Storage, organisation and ease of use are all important factors. What’s less obvious is the subtle touches that can have positive impact on your mental-well being. Colour, light and plants. All intrinsic elements to a new kind of natural interior design Biophilic’ – that can help those who would like to improve their well-being.

They include the fundamental, ‘open the windows to let fresh air and unfiltered daylight in’, to the more in-depth idea of using wallpaper with configurations of calming patterns that replicate the repetition of pattern we find in nature e.g a pine cone or shape of a flower. It would appear there is a level of complexity of pattern, up to which we find calming, but after that it becomes overwhelming and has a counter-effect. PTTG founder Phil attended a lecture at Petina Julius (of Julius Interior Design) last year where Blue Bamboo Design’s Michaela Springford explained:

One of the challenges for designers is striking the balance between an information rich environment that is interesting and restorative and one where there is a surplus of information which is overwhelming and stressful.

It is important to strike a balance. Getting the correct balance helps stimulate the alpha and beta waves in our brains.  Alpha brain waves are dominate during quiet times and is the resting state of the brains.  They stimulate creativity, help mental co-ordination and learning. Beta brain waves dominate our daily lives and help with logical thinking, decision making and problem solving.

So along with calming patterns, our internal environment should ensure we are able to engage with the outside from inside and this is achieved in several ways. They include:

1. Viewing nature outside from as much of the property as possible by having large glazed areas looking out onto plants

2. Ensuring that views can be seen from seated areas so our subconscious is acknowledging nature when we are sitting there; positioning chairs with their backs to the window somewhat negates the point of having the window there at all

3. Having plants inside is calming when done in the correct proportion and in keeping with everything else. A small pot plant hidden away in the corner is unlikely to do much but a degree of plant-life incorporated sympathetically to the design of a room can have a very positive impact on mental health

As Petina Julius says:

Indoor plants transcend trends and are no longer just an object of decor. Plants have health benefits and should be considered as one of the necessities in creating a healthy environment. We inhale oxygen and exhale carbon dioxide. Plants absorb the carbon dioxide and releases oxygen increasing the oxygen levels which our bodies appreciate. Plants are purifying. The leaves and roots remove toxic vapours from sealed environments. Studies have shown patients that have access to plants have a lower rating of pain, less anxiety and ,fatigue and recover quicker.

Then of course there’s colour.

Suffice to say that the biophilic guide to colour choices recommends using vibrant, natural colours. The psychology of colour has been covered in a blog interview with renowned colour psychologist Karen Haller (Read it here). Biophilic design incorporates colours that trigger the senses and connect with the palette of the garden. The basic tenet is, “if you wouldn’t find it in the garden, don’t use it in the house”.

Paint the Town Green believe that adding your own stamp is critical. If you are someone who needs energising – your workspace should use splashes of optimistic yellow. If your job can get quite hectic, grey might suit as it can create a sense of calm and composure. As well it is thought to influence perceptions of security, intelligence and solidarity. If you like a relaxed environment, warm neutral enhance feelings of comfort and is (according to Lux Deco) to be a symbol of structure, support and stability. Green is a popular colour for home-working spaces. It is an extremely positive hue as it brings about a feeling of balance, growth and restoration. Finally, the ever popular blue. Light blues bring calm and tranquility whereas dark blue evokes confidence, loyalty, trust and success.

So, to give you a few ideas as to what colour scheme you are drawn to in your working life – we’ve come up with five mood boards to inspire:

The ‘remote home-schooling’ workspace. For anyone between the ages of 5 and 16 years old 

Paint the Town Green Powder Blue and White Ladder, desk is Swoon, chalkboards are Baker Ross, wallpaper is from Murals Wallpaper.

The ‘keeps you on your toes‘ workspace – to help you directing all your attention and energy to what you are doing

Our own eco-paint Ruby, A Night Like This and White Ladder, art print from Desenio, plastic free recycled notebook from Tokoru, shelves Wayfair.

The ‘calm and collected’ workspace – for the thinkers and theorists among us

Paint the Town Green Fisherman’s Blues and Dream On, Juliet Travers ‘Feathers’ wallpaper, Verveine candle from White Company, Smythson diary.

The ‘naturalist‘ workspace for those who secretly deeply miss the office succulents

Paint the Town Green’s finest: Fields of Athenry and Wuthering Heights, desk is from Barker & Stonehouse, the succulents are from Patch Plants, the lamp is John Lewis, notebook is from Papier.

The ‘highflying’ workspace for the go-getters who will stop at nothing to succeed

Interior eco-paint from Paint the Town Green Tiger’s Eye from our Nicky Haslam range ‘The Stones’, Birthplaces of big ideas book, plant from Patchplants, table lamp from John Lewis.

And of course, if you are looking to revitalise your home working space, don’t forget of course all the aforementioned biophilic tips to enhance mental your sense of well-being. 

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Paint the Town Green offer a colour consultancy and a range of water based eco-paints that with the lowest possible levels of VOCs are free from toxins, free from odours and are quick-drying. Click here for a colour chart. For a decorating quote, click here or email hellodecorating@paintthetowngreen.co.uk. For a colour consultancy, email hello@paintthetowngreen.co.uk

 

 

 

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