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Designing a Comfortable, Cleaner and Healthier Work Space at Home

A recent study revealed most people do not anticipate a return to ‘normal’ working life, with more than two-thirds of workers saying they are more productive operating from home than at the office.

If you’ve been given the green light to work from home, congratulations, you’ve won the opportunity to make your work space a unique one, allowing for familiarity, better comfort, aesthetics that suit you, and a healthier working environment.

In her new book, Joy at Work, tidying expert Marie Kondo and professor in organisation Scott Sonenshein provide the reader with ways to tidy up the workspace, clean up your network bases, and keep tabs on a healthier state of body and mind whilst working. In sum, it aims to lead to better productivity and less stress.

Cream presents 10 tips on how best to work from home – with a few tips from Marie and Scott thrown in for good measure. Well, not so much thrown as neatly placed…

Compiled by Antonino Tati & Lisa Andrews



Help brighten up your home office – literally – by bringing in a little natural light. Let the sun shine in through your windows by keeping blinds partially or fully open. Sunlight is not only an attractive alternative to ghastly fluorescent lighting, it provides vitamin D which is good for immunity and can help keep depression and stress at bay.



When it’s not raining out, leave those windows open. Fresh air keeps you more alert and energised. Also, take time out every two hours to focus on your breathing and carry out some basic meditation. Sit or lie comfortably (perhaps invest in a meditation mat), close your eyes, make no effort to control your breath and simply breathe naturally.



The rule is simple and direct: tidy up and de-clutter. It might take a while to put papers in their appropriate order but it’ll be worth it when you’re busy and quickly wanting to find a particular document. Mess can be most demotivating, and a cleaner workspace = a cleaner mind. If you want to go full detox in the clutter department, have a read of Marie Kondo’s new book Joy at Work. You may not be working from a traditional office space, but this means you have even more freedom to make your home working space more comfortable, appealing and productive.



Marie Kondo and Scott Sonenshein suggest dividing office supplies into two groups: desk supplies and consumables. Desk supplies include things like scissors and staplers, physical folders and rulers. Try to keep these at one item each since they’ll be on your desk for a long time. With consumables, such as sticky note pads and paper clips, keep just one pad and one small container of clips on your desk. There’s no need for massive amounts – these can be stored in a mini supplies cupboard. As for pens, go through each and every one, squiggling them on a pad; any that don’t work once you’ve tried squiggling a few circles – bin them!



Teleworking has become a recent reality for many peeps as work culture continues to shift. Keep your ‘digital’ station minimalist and clean just as you would imagine a boardroom to be minimal and clean, allowing focus on the business. The last thing you want when Skyping or Zooming is to have a whole lot of busy-ness going on in the background. This is when you might want to close your windows and blinds. Perhaps set up a clean corner with white or grey background when chatting online.


With regards to content on your computer and mobile devices, go through your contacts and emails with a fine-tooth comb and delete any doubles or unnecessary names and addresses. It may take half a day to do this but you’ll be grateful you did when you need to track down that important contact in an instant.



If you’re familiar with Marie Kondo’s method of getting rid of mess as though parting with a friend, you’ll know the art of letting go ‘with gratitude’. As you might do with material possessions, you can say goodbye nicely to unwanted digital items. This doesn’t mean thanking each file as you move it to the trash for that’ll take ages; rather, turn on your “thank-you switch” at the start of cleaning files and maintain that feeling while sorting through your digital clutter.



Prepare a particular space for private meetings, especially if you have one or more staff working beside you. When that special client arrives, you’ll want somewhere discreet to discuss business. Even the lounge area might be private enough – or something like a separate study.



Stock the fridge and pantry with healthy snacks. Sure, working in front of a computer all day can lead to cravings of toasted cheese sandwiches and packets of crisps, but be sure you’ve got plenty of healthy snacks on hand: cut-up carrots, easy dips, vegan crisps, and so on. If you have staff, get them to join in on creating an herb garden as a team-building exercise… with satisfying results!



Now that you have more space on your physical desktop, decorate it minimally with things that are important to you. A photo frame featuring your lover or bestie; your favourite Pop Vinyl for that month; and, yes, we’ll even allow a sticky-note featuring your new word for the day or some affirmation.


‘Joy at Work’ by Marie Kondo and Scott Sonenshein is published through Pan Macmillan, RRP $34.99, available in hardback from quality book outlets.

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