HAVING worked in an office for so long, I’ve always imagined those working from home having it easy. As it turns out, the stress levels experienced in both conditions are similar. Perhaps the only perks of a home office are lack of commute and flexible working hours.
Over the years, I’ve designed gardens for many home owners with a home office.
When I suggest having a little garden next to their work station or home office room, many seem to be surprised at the idea. I guess we have become so accustomed to living in enclosed spaces with tall fences and gates, insulated with air-conditioning and electronic distractions, that it’s hard to imagine having a garden indoors.
Most of us live in homes surrounded by concrete walls, with a home office probably overlooking the backyard or a row of houses across the street. Home offices in apartments are no better, surrounded by walls. It’s no wonder then why the self-employed experience just as much stress as salaried workers.
But imagine having your computer beside a bubbling water feature or your favourite plants at the corner of your room?
Some may say, “Sure or not? Having plants in the house will attract lots of insects lah.” Well, no.
First, the choice of plant is important. Flowering plants tend to attract insects and require higher maintenance, so avoid them unless your home office opens up to a balcony. In which case, you can set up your garden at the balcony.
Second, there are many planting media apart from soil that can keep your indoor garden tidy and insect-free.
One advantage of having a home-office garden is that you need little space to reap the benefits. Perhaps it’s the novelty of having a garden indoors. And because of its typically small size, home-office gardens are easy to upkeep.
In fact, you can install an automatic watering system and perhaps never have to lift a finger again. You still need to remove dead leaves, though.
Also, you need to ensure there’s strong lighting if you keep plants indoors.
Ideally, your home-office garden should be near a window with good sunlight. If not, invest in artificial lighting and turn it on just for a few hours.
A better alternative is to rotate the plants: Keep your plants indoors for two days, then move them outside in good sunlight for two days, and repeat.