Location, location, location. It really matters – whether you’re picking somewhere to vacay, buying a house, taking a nap, or even working. Your surroundings influence your mood and your productivity, possibly a lot more than you realise.
Ever tried working on the train at rush hour? Someone’s eating an onion bagel, someone’s using their phone as if it were a megaphone and you’re 90% sure there might’ve been chewing gum on the seat when you sat down.
When you think of it like that, the environment you’re working in is pretty important, right?
How can you improve your work area and, simultaneously, your productivity? We’ve scoured the net for the very best tips and tricks to triple your output and tantalise your senses.
Not the fanciest tip in the world, but then again – there’s nothing fancy about back pain. 18.6% of work absences in 2016 were due to musculoskeletal problems. A simple switch in the height of your desk or swapping in a more supportive chair could make a real difference to your comfort levels, your ongoing health and your productivity.
Motivational wall art
‘Smile every day’, ‘Work hard and be nice to people’, ‘Dreams don’t work unless you do’.
Whilst these may not be Winston Churchill or Nelson Mandela quotes, a little pep talk from some pretty artwork can be surprisingly inspiring. It’s super cost-effective to grab a couple of nice pieces of calligraphy to hang in your office. It’ll encourage you and your employees, give you a little boost on bad days and show the world that you’re hitting the productivity button hard.
Forget fluorescent strip lights and desk lamps. Big windows and natural light are the best for your eyes, your mood and your wellbeing. We’ve all heard of SAD (Seasonal Affected Disorder), which is in no small part due to limited access to sunlight. Make your office a bright and light space – not only will this stop heading-nodding at your desk, but it’ll create a warm and comfortable environment that everyone will enjoy working in.
Colour can influence mood, that’s not new. But how can we utilise colour science in our work environment? Blue is soothing and great for heavy knowledge-work, red gives you an energy boost and promotes productivity and green relieves stress and encourages action.
What kind of colour scheme do you want in your office? Why not try an accent wall to test out how colour influences your work.
Perhaps you need somewhere to enjoy your super-charged breakfast? Maybe you want to squeeze in a little coffee-nap after lunch? Break-out areas encourage employees to get out of their chairs, walk around and change position.
You can hold 1-1s or appraisals in cosy break-out areas to break up the monotony and limit anxiety. By making people feel comfortable and supported at work, they’ll likely work harder and be happier to boot.
King Arthur had a good thing going, it would seem. Circles and rounded tables promote collaborative working and a collective mindset.
In a 2011 study, hundreds of students looked at images of room interiors. The rooms with rounded or circular elements were deemed as pleasing and inviting; whilst another study found that ‘rounded spaces triggered more activity in brain regions associated with reward and aesthetic appreciation.’
Research has suggested that plants in an office can prevent fatigue, lower stress levels and reduce office pollution.
What’s more? Succulents are pretty darn fashionable right now. Get yourself a few edgy cacti, a couple of leafy palms and you’re on your way to a fully oxygenated and Instagrammable office.
Preferably not a loud, ticking ones. Clocks are not only useful, but they are motivational.
Choose a clock with clearly marked ‘segments’ and promote the use of schedule blocking in the workplace. We can get a lot more done if we allocate a certain amount of time to a task. Telling yourself ‘I will get this done in an hour’, is the kind of self-fulfilling prophecy that has a positive effect on your productivity.
Before you go heading on down to your local hardware store on a hunt for blue paint, brand new chairs and a potted plant – maybe consider how you could implement these elements in small ways.
Put a few cushions and blankets around, encourage employees to decorate their desks or bring in a plant. Make sure windows are open and blinds are up. Once you know what works for you and your office, you can start picking up the paintbrush.