After three years of working from home, two things were really bothering me: I had been way too sedentary and I felt the overwhelming urge to be around people every day—have somewhere to be in the mornings, a reason to wash my hair, and an excuse to wear the nice clothes I've invested in over the years. Working from home means a lot of leggings and casual comfort clothing and the commute is about 20 steps from my bed to my desk!
I was already feeling like I was sitting too much and after reading numerous articles about how terrible sitting is for your health, I decided it was time for a major change—I wanted a standing desk, stat! My husband and a good friend both switched and swore they were way more energized throughout the day. As I went into my 30s, I felt like I needed that boost of energy. Plus, I needed to be in an office with other people. I love my mail lady, but she was the only person I saw on a regular basis besides my husband!
After dwelling on these things, the concept for a collective office with other entrepreneurial women in D.C. started to form. I envisioned a chic modern space that also encouraged a healthy lifestyle. Being a lifestyle blogger, the aesthetics of the space were just as important as the people and the health factors. Now that I've settled in, I couldn't be happier with how much the new office has encouraged me to be healthier, more efficient, and more creative. Read on to find out how I designed my perfect workspace, and the simple tweaks you can make in your own office:
Get On Your Feet
I knew I wanted a standing desk, but I wasn't willing to sacrifice on style. Partnering gave me access to chic-yet-functional pieces, but I still wasn't finding a standing desk that met my requirements. In the end I had to search outside of the desks category and I found a white lacquer bar table that fit the bill. So don't be afraid to think creatively when setting up your workspace. And if your office can't completely convert you to a standing desk, try a tabletop version instead.
Turn Your Commute into a Mini-Workout
When looking at locations for the space, I was searching for more than just white walls, hardwood floors, and good lighting. I wanted to force some fitness into my commute and also be near options for exercise classes. My perfect spot ended up giving me 40 minutes of walking time to and from the bus stops. If you can't pick your office location, look for ways to move more at work—whether it's parking a mile away or walking to lunch instead of driving.
Make Fitness Accessible
The other awesome perk of my building's location? It's super close to several yoga, Pilates and barre studios. Check, check, check. OK, so you can't exactly manifest a yoga studio near your office, but you can make it easier on yourself to get to your gym of choice by stashing a week's worth of workout clothes at your desk (just hide them in something chic and discreet like this chevron storage ottoman). Because let's be honest, if you go home to change, it'll all be over once you see the couch.
Stock the Space With Healthy Snacks
Luckily we have a kitchen in the office, so I'm able to keep and prepare healthy food here instead of ordering out all the time. When I go to the grocery store each week I actually make two lists: one for home and one for the office. Pick up healthy items that are easy to take to your office and leave there—like nuts, carrots, granola bars—so when you get that hunger pang at 3:00 p.m. you can reach for something other than the vending machine.
Find an At-Work Workout Buddy
When I was thinking of asking other women to join me in the office, I thought about not only who would motivate me in business, but who would motivate me to be a healthier person. Several of the other ladies in my office work out on the regular, so I knew they could keep me on track. If you find yourself skipping workouts for happy hours, find a buddy in the office to keep you accountable—preferably someone who will make sure you walk out together when there's a yoga class on the agenda.
Keep Green Tea at Your Desk
I constantly have a beverage on my desk all day long. In the morning it's water with lemon and one cup of coffee (I don't skimp on the creamer though). And in the afternoons I always have at least one cup of green tea. But buying tea from a café every day can get expensive, and lattés all day long isn't a great idea if you want to fall asleep at night. So keep a box of green tea and a large mug at your desk for your afternoon pick-me-up. When you need that little jolt of caffeine, you can reach for a tea bag instead of spending $5 on a latte. Less jitters, more saving.
Make Your Space Reflect Your Style
Obviously having a stylish office was a main concern for me. I feel that your belongings and environment should reflect your style and inspire you—that way you'll look around mid-workday and smile instead of wishing you were somewhere else. Personally, I think the lighting is really important so I partnered with Lamps Plus for our office needs. Finding a lamp for your desk that reflects your personality can completely change the feel of those late nights at the office.