How to Create a Productive Workspace
The setting in which we work has a great impact on the output and quality of the work we produce. In fact Fortune 500 companies sink big bucks into designing productive workspaces that boost creativity and encourage collaboration and innovation. While we can’t copy their million dollar design plans we can certainly learn from the concepts behind them and recreate them on a more modest budget.
Lucky for you, we’re here to give you five simple (and cheap!) ways to make wherever you work a bit more enlivened.
LET THERE BE (the right kind of) LIGHT
Aside from rearranging the office floor plan– something few small businesses have much control over— the most impactful change a business can make to create a productive workspace is to have ambient light.
Design consultants agree that sunlight is the most invigorating kind of light. If you’re lucky enough to have a big ol’ window in your office, that’s the best place to move your desk.
For those of you who only have artificial lighting to work with the first thing you can do is rule out fluorescent bulbs or dim lighting. The flicker of a fluorescent light can trigger headaches and not enough light creates eye strain. Thankfully, companies are now making warmer, less soul sucking tube lights and there are several ways to warm up those hideous tube bulbs in case you can’t swap them out. If the overall lighting in your office is too dim, the best option is to get a desk lamp—studies show that an adjustable, lensed lamp is best.
Sure we all like looking at greenery, but it turns out there’s more to plants than their aesthetic beauty. Numerous studies have shown that being among plants not only positively influences people’s moods, help increase productivity and generally create a healthier environment.
For example Areca palms, like those found on bamboo plants, are natural humidifiers, Snake plants, despite their scary name, are air purifiers and Lemon balm can boost moods and diminish anxiety. To help create a productive workspace place a couple plants around the office and let the plants do the rest!
You feel different spending the day swathed in black than you do when you wear bright yellow, right? Well, while it might be a bit more subtle, the color of your workspace can have a similar effect.
The science on the influence of wall color on a person’s mood gets pretty complex, but here are three big takeaways: blue increases mental stimulation, red raises your pulse and yellow is energizing. So you may want to consider painting your productive workspace a shade of blue or yellow or both!
No matter what the rules of the office, everyone personalizes their space to some extent. It is a natural human inclination to put our unique stamp on our surroundings. We all want to work in a space that reflects us and our personalities, so go for it!
But instead of scotch taping dozens of your niece’s school photos to your cube, take the time to go through your pictures and choose a few that bring you the most joy. This will not only maximize the happiness you get from each decoration but will minimize the appearance of clutter. Display your photos as you would if they were in your home. An inexpensive frame goes a long way.
Interestingly, research shows that while women tend to personalize their space with reminders of personal relationships via photos of friends or family, men are more prone to displaying objects related to their achievements like certificates and awards.
While it is important to surround yourself with items that make you feel comfortable and reflect your style, don’t pass over a chance to showcase your accomplishments. It’s not about trying to impress other people, it’s about reminding yourself how valuable you are.
MAKE HEALTHY EASY
You don’t have to offer free yoga classes to make the office a healthy, productive workspace. There are some very simple changes you can make to your workspace that will help increase employees’ energy levels and reduce absenteeism.
If your space doesn’t have a water cooler and buying one is out of your budget, buy a faucet water purifier or a pitcher-style filtration system. Climate control like air conditioning and heaters rob the air of moisture, contributing to dehydration. If folks don’t replenish themselves by drinking water the effects of dehydration such as headaches, sluggishness, confusion and weakness will take a toll.
Additionally, it is a good idea to lose the candy bowls and other junk food snack stations. While a sugar rush may feel good for the first 30 minutes, the subsequent crash renders the next few hours less productive.
Let the corporate gazillionaires install their ping-pong tables and half-pipe skateboard ramps (which haven’t exactly ensured company success) and remember that simple changes in decor go a long way in creating a productive workspace.