Our office is a place where work, time and effort are put in to create something new. Whether we are working from home or from an office, it is important to feel comfortable. The main reason for it is productivity. It is a constant hot topic that is on every employer or entrepreneur’s mind. How much work and how much value can I add in a given time period? Time and energy are money and if we are easily distracted, we are hemorrhaging it. So, the main question is, how do we optimize our workspace? To answer it, there are several factors we need to address. Maybe space is tight, or there is plenty of unavoidable distractions. To prevent ourselves from falling into the pit of unproductivity, let’s go over some basic principles.
1. Matching surroundings and goals
First of all, we need to know which path to take, before we make a move. By paying attention to the type of industry we find ourselves in, we will gain insight into our needs. What are all the types of tasks we are trying to accomplish at our workplace? That is our starting point, how do we make it more convenient, efficient, comfortable, and intuitive? Two most common types of tasks are focused, individual, and collaborative work. They all need space that is custom tailored so that the setting is prioritized and optimized properly. The first thing that comes to mind in today’s world is the open floor concept. But it can prove to be a challenge as it is not the end all be all of the interior design.
Again, it depends on our needs. If we are regularly making phone calls, we need spaces physically detached by either walls or distance for everything to operate smoothly. An example would be a library. It is an open-plan space and everyone knows how to behave. Unless the niche demands otherwise, it should be treated as such so that colleagues do not distract one another. It comes down to being flexible and having different spaces for different kinds of work. It will increase employee satisfaction as well as productivity.
Another good initial step to take is taking inventory of our actual immediate environment. What is it that we actually need? And what part of those things we need right there at our fingertips? Usually, it boils down to a couple of notebooks, pens, and printer cartridges. A clean office is much closer to heart and gives a sense of professionalism. Once we figure out what is it that we actually need on a daily basis, we realize it is easy to do a cleanup. There is always extra stuff and inventory that accumulates over time.
From pens, post-it notes, and label makers to packaging quickly discarded in a rush and forgotten all about. Having a specialized room for all the non-essentials like a closet or a dedicated storage house is a must in any business. It should always be in reach of everyone and should be easily accessed.
3. Bringing in natural light
In an ideal situation, a workplace should take advantage of as much natural light as possible. We can achieve that through windows, obviously. The sun is a proven way to boost our mood and make us more productive. There are other benefits as well, like not wasting electricity on lighting and such. But this is not always a possibility. We could be working in a deliberately closed off office or we may have a night shift. In those cases, something is better than nothing and we should see to it that there is enough artificial lighting. Reading, writing, and many more activities demand ample lighting if we mean to do these activities for a prolonged period of time.
Not providing it would result in fatigue and general moodiness. A small trick, based on many studies is to go for higher Kelvin (K) lighting. What it means is that the colour of our light bulbs is more inclined towards a crystal white. It is proven that warmer colours induce a more homely and relaxed sensation which in turn reduces efficiency and productivity. On the other hand, colder colours keep us alert and awake. If this seems a bit too technical there are companies that deal with commercial renovation professionally.
4. Quality tools and equipment
Depending on our trade, having the right tools is essential. There is no trade without the tools. Not only that, but we need quality equipment, not just any kind. If we spend our time sitting at a computer, a quality keyboard, mouse, chair, and monitor will go a long way. It is our bread and butter so it makes sense to optimize those aspects as well. Imagine your left click not working. It is such a small but such a powerful way to demotivate and hinder our performance. We do not need standing desks and massage chairs for every employee, it is these small touches that go the furthest. And it actually pays to spend a little more and acquire quality goods and equipment. Think about it, it would last longer and will not demand to be replaced so often. Usage experience is sure to improve as well.
5. The little things
As we mentioned before, it is usually the little things that count the most. What type of music would best be received in our environment? Work can often get repetitive and playing quiet music can bring that little spark of randomness in our working hours. With our highly digitalized and computerized working environments, wires are a constant nightmare. Finding a way to organize them can really save someone’s life. Tie them up under the working desk or find another way of getting them out of our way and sight.
There is much all of us can do to make our working environment a better place to be and work at. Whether it means cleaning out our desk or renovating entire office space, we can optimize all aspects of our working lives, today.