Story: A Pink-Speckled Home That Mixes Modern and Vintage-Looking Decor | Photography: Robin Stubbert
Tips from a workplace wellness expert on transforming that bland box into a super productive space.
Love your job, hate your cookie cutter cubicle? We’ve enlisted the expertise of Christina Disler, founder of co-working space Werklab, to help you transform your blah-beige office spot into a haven of inspiration, productivity, and yes, good design. Disler has a background in HR, a passion for workplace wellness and a focus on creating spaces for entrepreneurs to flourish in both the dollars-and-cents way and the mind-body-spirit sense. Case in point: The newly expanded Werklab in Vancouver boasts complimentary guided meditation, sound bath and yoga sessions, an onsite energy healer, and an aromatherapy bar.
In the Q&A below, Disler helps solve some the most common cubicle complaints, but first, here’s her No. 1 tip: “We assume we need more, but in reality, in order to create a productive workspace, having less clutter can help calm the mind and increase focus,” she says.”It's important that everything in your workspace has intention, and that we shouldn't just fill the space for the sake of filling it.”
Everyone dreams of working in a beautiful white warehouse space with tons of light like Werklab. For those of us who don’t, is there a way we can incorporate elements of what makes those spaces special into our own less-than-glam office areas?
One advantage to cubicles and most offices is that, like a white warehouse, they are a blank canvas that allows the personalized elements we bring in to pop. Anything that makes you feel comfortable and grounded can transform your workspace. Think of what makes your home your home, or the rituals you perform there—maybe it's bringing in a matcha whisk and bowl and making matcha at your desk every morning, or just bringing in your favourite candle.
Style at Home pick: A cozy throw to keep on the back of your chair, because predicting the temperature in the office is a constant guessing game.
Amped Fleece Throw Blanket, $44, urbanoutfitters.com.
Is there one simple thing we can do to inject some life into a cubicle space?
If I could only choose one thing, it would be a salt lamp. They make you feel better, period. It's not only the warm lighting they offer (particularly as a contrast to your bright white computer screen and overhead fluorescent lights), but from my experience can improve your current state. They are also considered natural ionizers so they neutralize electromagnetic radiation and are known for their ability to reduce stress and purify the air.
Style at Home pick: A small desktop one that can be plugged in and kept right beside your computer to help keep you calm.
Lumiere de Sel Natural Shape Himalayan Crystal Salt Lamp, $22, well.ca.
We mostly think of putting up fun pictures or adding a plant, but what are some unexpected ways to jazz up a boring cubicle?
As long as your office isn't a scent-free environment, essential oils can add a unique touch to your cubicle and support your wellbeing, depending on your mood. If you're stressed out or feeling anxious, scents like lavender, eucalyptus or bergamot can help create a more zen environment, whereas if you need a little boost of energy, scents like grapefruit, peppermint or rosemary are invigorating. I also love bringing textures like wood or different fabrics into my workspace, particularly if the space feels bare or sterile. For example, if I have candles or ceramics in my office, I place them on a little piece of linen (almost like a placemat).
Style at Home pick: Terrariums, because some of us aren't near a window, so our plants usually don't do so well on our desks!
Cross Base Terrariums, $19–69 USD, westelm.com.
Most cubicles do not come with a window (or even much natural light). Are there ways we can fake this somehow?
Bringing in plants that don't require much sunlight, like snake plants or even a little moss terrarium, can be great ways to bring the outside in and naturally brighten up and add life to a space.
Style at Home pick: Three mini candles in different scents that can be lit for a short period of time when we need a little extra help keeping calm.
Baies, Roses and Figuier set of three candles, $105, net-a-porter.com.
What can be done to our cubicles to increase our creativity?
I always like to have a selection of books on hand when I'm working. Some help increase my creativity through aesthetically pleasing images and design. The Kinfolk Entrepreneur is one of my favourites. Work: How to Find Joy and Meaning in Each Hour of the Day by Thich Nhat Nanh is all about mindfulness in the context of work, and allows me to free my mind and step into a more creative space. Creating different levels (e.g. a standing desk), or simply moving around can [also] be really helpful with breaking through a stagnant state. For example, if you have writer's block or are having trouble solving a problem, changing your angle physically can help you mentally approach what you're doing from a different angle.
Style at Home pick: Like Disler, we love The Kinfolk Entrepreneur.
The Kinfolk Entrepreneur: Ideas for Meaningful Work, $28, amazon.ca.