27 Oct Tips to make your workspace optimally productive
Whether you manage an entire building, your desk space or your home office, making sure your workspace helps you be optimally productive sounds difficult, but is quite simple. Here are the three top changes you can make to help you work better.
1. Get a plant. Or even two.
If your office space has no plants, consider getting one for your desk or – if you’re the employer or facilities manager – some for the entire office.
Numerous studies, including a 2010 study by the new University of Technology in Sydney, have found significant reductions in stress and anxiety levels among employees who work in offices adorned with plants. UT Sydney’s research shows:
- Significant overall mental wellness increases;
- A 58% drop in depression and dejection;
- Decreases of tension and anxiety of up to 37%;
- Anger and hostility reduction of 44%; and a
- Fatigue reduction of 38%.
Fixing your space only:
With the global trend towards greener spaces and a significant increase in plant hobbyists, adding a flash of green to your workspace has never been as easy. Here are some top recommendations for office-hardy plants:
- Epipremnum Aureum, aka Golden Pothos
- Chlorophytum comosum, aka Spider Plant
- Sanseveria, aka Mother-in-law’s-tongue
Feel like you’re a plant-killer? No problem! There are many fantastic websites and blogs on the Internet aimed at helping you become the best parent you can be. Some suggestions include:
- Plant shop The Sill’s extensive blog;
- Model and activist Summer Rayne Oakes’ in-depth videos; and
- Author and journalist Jane Perrone’s exciting plant-keeping podcast, named On The Ledge.
Better yet, you can find out if your office has another plant enthusiast and ask them for advice.
Remedies for the entire facility:
If a single desk is not your problem, but an entire workplace or office space, you might need more plants. And more places to put them. The obvious choice might be to purchase a variety of plants and placing them all over the office; one could instead consider more styled and multi-functional options.
Shelving and divider units such as Ergoform’s Arcade allows you to bring plants into the office while also having the benefits of storage, working as walls to close off or divide areas, plus they have an incredibly stylish edge to them.
Does floor space come at a premium in your office? Simple solutions include the installation of shelving, acquiring desks with built-in shelves, or suspending planter boxes from the ceiling.
2. Shake up your space
They say a change can be as good as a holiday, which is true, if only for the fact that a change of environment is good for humans.
When you’re stuck with a significant problem while trying to work, consider a change to your working environment. It can range from something as simple as going for a quick walk, moving to a different space to work, or – a more involved solution – change up your workspace completely.
How to adjust your space:
If the space you’re working in is proving to drain your creativity more than inspire it, it may be time to consider a change.
Here’s how to go about it: At home or in a less constricting office, you can move around your desk or maybe change the area where you regularly work. If moving a desk or designated area is hard, you can always add to your space and personalise it.
Easy workspace additions could include:
- A plant (see part one);
- Some inspiring art as prints, a mousepad, or even a desk pad;
- A collectible figure or statuette that inspires you;
- Reshuffle where you keep all your work paraphernalia; or/and
- Swap or upgrade your stationery to add a subtle change to your space.
Office layouts work well when they allow employees some flexibility in their workspace. Researched for exactly this, the agile workspace is about transitioning between spaces designed for a variety of uses.
A great example of this is the communal areas in offices. While these spaces are generally designed with lunch breaks in mind, they are often used as an informal meeting or discussion areas, or even workspaces. This gives the area an agile edge, even if the initial purpose was not so intended.
Agile workspaces allow for meetings, discussions, and even collaboration between individuals, teams, and departments. It gives employees a break from the repetitiveness of a desk, but also allows meeting rooms to be freed up for formal discussions and gives employees than prefer or need a desk a place of their own.
Here are some examples of agile workspaces:
- Livingroom-style areas with soft seating and small laptop tables;
- Chairs with built-in flip tables like the Solitude Focus;
- Long collaborative tables with easy-to-move seating.
3. Create the perfect working environment
Research shows unseen elements have a significant impact on your productivity, ability to focus, and happiness at work. These include light levels, sound, temperature, humidity, CO2 levels, and TVOCs (total volatile compounds).
South African tech start-up Ergosense has delved deep into the impacts of low and high environmental elements. At best, it can create discomfort or decrease your productivity, and at worst, they can negatively impact your health.
Keeping your own space healthy:
Good airflow, temperature, and humidity levels will help you be more productive and decrease discomfort. To remedy this, open a window, put on a fan, add a humidifier or dehumidifier to your space.
Making sure you have adequate light will help reduce eye strain. Simple suggestions are to close a curtain if there is too much light or add a lamp to the room if it is too little. These easy fixes can improve the light conditions.
Are you spending a lot of time in front of a screen? A bonus is a screen colour adjustment program to help manage the light levels of your computer screen as the day gets lighter and darker.
High levels of CO2 and TVOCs can also negatively impact your productivity and health. Making sure you are breathing clean air can be aided by easy-to-use home air quality sensors.
Managing facility health:
Indoor environments can be hard to manage, but it is critical in ensuring optimal employee happiness, wellbeing, and productivity. The large variety of variables, such as electrical maintenance, aircon management, cleaning schedules, etc. add many possible points of possible oversight. Hence effectively managing your facility’s indoor environment can be quite daunting.
Luckily, companies like Ergosense make monitoring your office environment easy and helps you with actionable data that will keep your facility healthy and optimally productive.
Working through a central data hub, facility managers can easily keep an eye on the light levels, sound, temperature, humidity, CO2 levels, and TVOC in the office.
And that’s a wrap!
Whether your workspace is a home office, your kitchen counter, a cubicle, or an open-plan space with 100 employees, there are simple and effective changes you can make to help you get the most out of your workday.