Chair Upright, Fan on, Folders Stacked… Shaping Your Work Environment to Maximize your Productivity
by Jane Kennelly, Director, Frog Recruitment
If one of your goals this year is to achieve great things in your career, or to motivate your team into action, chances are you’re going to need an office space conducive to high achievement. While getting an architect to design a new wing to the office may not be within your budget, here are some super simple things anyone can do to create a positive work environment. We’ve broken this down into four key areas:
It all starts here – if a person isn’t comfortable in their most immediate environment, it will be difficult to motivate them. Try the following:
- Clutter – A cluttered desk may mean a cluttered mind, but does an empty desk mean an empty mind? Cleaning a desk doesn’t just mean removing items; rather it’s about organising those endless piles of paper in easily accessible folders.
- Desktop wallpaper – This is something almost everyone will be seeing several times per day. By having wallpaper that gives some personal meaning to the user, it may help in personalising the work experience.
- Partitions – Erecting or removing partitions between workers may foster greater productivity. Ensure that your office partitions are practically arranged so that everyone is comfortable.
- Colour – We live in a colourful world, and so there’s no reason to have drab offices. A little artwork or a splash of colour (pens, folders, notebooks) can go a long way in livening up the entire office.
It’s difficult to stay focussed if you’re not physically comfortable. Consider the following when designing a workspace:
- Ergonomic accessories – Mouse pads, keyboard pads, and vertical mice are designed to reduce the amount of stress on your joints. When buying new office chairs, most will have a comfort rating based on the amount of hours you can continuously sit in them.
- Temperature – Small desk fans (some USB powered) can easily relieve discomfort caused by heat.
Working in offices may not provide a large variety of stimuli for your senses. By stimulating your mind in various way you can maintain your energy levels throughout the day – try the following:
- Snacks – Give your body and brain what it needs to stay focussed. Try having (healthy) snacks available in moderation to give bodies what they need to keep doing great things.
- Drinks – Stay hydrated (or caffeinated). Having a consistent stream of fluids can help maintain energy levels – try keeping jugs of water on desks.
- Smell – Involve all the sense throughout the work day – try some scent sticks to liven up the olfactory.
- Texture – As your hands are likely to be touching hard objects like a keyboard and a mouse all day, give your sense of touch some variety by having softer objects like stress balls to play with.
The ability to quickly and easily access information and new ideas may dramatically increase productivity. Consider:
- Lighting – If the overhead lighting is straining your eyes, try using a small and efficient desk lamp to light up your world.
- Drawers – Try assigning entire desk drawers to specific tasks. This is a quick and easy way to quickly access what you need for entire projects.
- Working elsewhere – Some tasks may actually be better performed in a different environment. If possible, you may try thinking about complex or creative problems outside of the office walls to come up with new ideas
We can all afford to spend a little time this year being interior decorators in the name of creating optimal environments. But whatever you do, make sure that it works for you and your co-workers. You don’t need a huge budget, and it may pay to allow yourself and your team some degree of freedom in shaping their environments.