If you’ve ever wrapped up work for the day and wondered what you spent all your time on, you’re not alone. An overwhelming number of workers indicate they are not productive during regular working hours, wishing they could work with fewer distractions or workplace drama. A lot of people also wish they could have the luxury of working remotely, but even remote workers struggle with productivity. So what’s the deal? It turns out that workers need spaces designed specifically for better focus, so here are some tips on setting up your office space to help you do just that!
You’ve probably heard of the stereotype about women in the office always needing a cardigan–even during the summer–to bundle up in during the day. In some aspects, that’s true. Many companies keep the buildings cooler, but some studies have shown that office workers, and women in particular, focus better in warmer environments. Consider keeping your thermostat at a higher temperature, above 70 degrees. If you work in an office building that doesn’t allow you to adjust the temperature of your workspace, then consider adding some warmer elements to your office space. This includes pieces such as a cozy picture blanket–something that’ll keep you warm but will also make you feel happy when you look at the picture on it!
One of the best things you can do for yourself and your focus at work is to have the proper office furniture. Working in a company office might mean that you don’t get to choose your furniture, but be cognizant of the closeout of the fiscal year. Ask the department office administrator or your manager if there’ll be room in the budget for a new desk chair or even an ergonomic keyboard. If you work from home, do some research to ensure you have the best fitting desk and chair, but also consider having multiple seating and table options. Designate a cushioned chair with a small side table for reading or writing, but also make sure you have a real desk and chair to conduct meetings, take phone calls or work on projects.
When it comes to productivity, everyone hones in their focus differently. Some prefer to have music in the background, others prefer to have some visual elements, such as the news or even a television show streaming in the background. Figure out what it is that makes you more productive. Studies have shown that listening to acoustic, classical or any other music without lyrics increases focus and decreases distraction. However, if you find yourself getting more done listening to a hard rock or ’80s pop playlist, then do that! It’s all about finding what makes you most productive.
Depending on your office environment, you might want to see about getting some Bluetooth headphones that will let you focus without needing to stay close to a computer monitor. Nothing is more uncomfortable than leaning too far away from your computer and having the headphone cord stretch, pulling your headphones out of your ears! If you work in a company office that has restrictions on using headphones, play your music softly or get a small desk fan to provide some white noise.
Colours and Plants
Different colours can elicit different emotions, so it’s important to research different colours to figure out which ones are most likely going to make you more productive. Don’t flood your office space in it, though. Instead, sprinkle it in with different decor pieces, such as a clock, mousepad or even a custom coffee mug or two. When working in a company office, you might not have much say in what colours your desk, computer and chair are, but you can bring in small, unique decor pieces that will let you make the space more productive.
Another way to make your desk more productive is to introduce greenery. If you’re working from home, situate your desk near a window so you can use the natural sunlight to feed any greenery you might get. Consider a small plant, such as an orchid or even a succulent. Remember to take care of it! If you’re worried your green thumb might be a little too pale, purchase some faux plants from your local craft store. Faux plants are great for company office spaces, too, since you might be in a cubicle without any direct access to sunlight.
One of the best ways to stay productive is to stay organized. Whether it’s making a to-do list, establishing a new filing system or actually taking the time out of your day to clean up your desk, it’s important to keep your workspace organized. Even if you claim to be one of those people who has an “organized messy” desk, your brain will thank you for having a clear space to work. Set a timer either when you get in or right before you leave to take at least 10 minutes to organize the papers on your desk. Even if your pile of unfinished work is three inches deep, at least it’s all stacked up and neatly placed in a corner of your workspace.
Consider having a monthly “Shred-It” day at the office, where everyone dedicates an hour or two of their workday to shredding old documents or files they haven’t looked at in months to increase overall office organization. If you work from home, make sure you clean the rest of your house, too. Having a pile of dirty dishes in the kitchen to stare at if your desk is in the dining room can distract you just as much as having papers scattered everywhere.
Staying productive during the day isn’t easy, but it’s important to do as much as you can to try. Consider warming up your space, adding some calming colors and listening to soft background noise to increase your focus. Making sure the space that you’re working in for an extended period of time increases your productivity is one of the best ways to be successful in your work.
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