According to a recent article by The Balance, the average American worker between the ages of 25 and 54 years old works at least 42.8 hours per week. While this changes among other age ranges, gender, marital status, race, and level of education, most researchers conclude that American workers are the most overworked among developed nations. Therefore, we struggle with finding a work-life balance.
While Better Office Furniture of St. Louis, Missouri can’t help you find that needed balance overnight, we can give you some inspiration for making your office space work more for you. Countless successful business gurus, researchers, writers, and other pencil-pushers have proven that having an office space that is designed simplistically, kept well-organized, and remains uniquely personal to you can help to improve your productivity, mood, and overall health.
Here are our top 10 ways to create an office space that will help you be more productive, happier, and begin your journey on finding that needed work-life balance.
1-Think about the overall workspace for the ideal feng shui.
The layout of an office space can make a world of difference when it comes to your ability to focus, be productive, and be flexible throughout the day. Utilizing the art of feng shui can help bring a vibrant and positive energy to any space; which can also lead to more successful and efficient work hours within any business.
If you work in a cubicle type office setting, it is important that you use the space given to you to the highest advantage, even if you can’t move your desk or objects in the most effective positions according to feng shui philosophy. Likewise, while the principles of feng shui are far more flexible in an open or private office setting, it is still important that they are used in a way that helps you maintain a comfortable and organized work lifestyle.
2-Choose ergonomic office furniture to improve well-being and productivity.
It is difficult to feel like you are almost at home if you are uncomfortable and stressed. The use of ergonomic office chairs, desks, and technology has been shown to: reduce muscle tension, improve posture, allow all day comfort, reduce neck and shoulder stiffness, decrease back pain by supporting the natural curve of your spine, reduce extra pressure on your hips, and ensure the accommodation of different work activities. In other words, less daily pain means more work productivity, fewer medical problems, and a heightened mood.
3-Include a personal touch, but don’t let it run wild.
While you want to make your office space feel like it is yours, don’t forget to create a balance between personal memorabilia and what is appropriate for your company’s culture. According to Dr. Lois Frankel, author of Nice Girls Don’t Get the Corner Office, “If you work at Martha Stewart, your office is going to look more like your living room than if you work at BP,” so see how the most powerful woman in the company arranges her office to understand were that balance is for the business you are in. No matter what, be sure that all photos, artwork, souvenirs, collectables, and other family memorabilia is kept to a minimum and is there for a purpose. That means, each piece should bring a touch of happiness, pleasant memories, and motivation to work hard so you can return home at an ideal time.
4-Include a touch of nature to help you feel at ease.
No one likes to be cooped up inside all day doing the 8 to 5 work-grind, especially when it is a beautiful day outside. If you aren’t one of the lucky few that has the option to work outside your office space, adding a bit of nature to your desk or whole office can be a great alternative.
Adding some living plants and flowers has been shown to increase workplace productivity and creativity, reduce stress, and improve overall life satisfaction. Don’t have a green thumb? Choose plants that need little to no care – like spider plants, philodendron, Boston ferns, bromeliad, sweetheart hoya, aloe, and other succulents or low maintenance plants – or even have some simple photos of plants on the walls.
5-Utilize different types of lighting to your advantage.
Proper lighting is ideal when working for any length of time in your workspace, including at the computer. In general stay away from harsh fluorescent or bright white lights; instead opt for natural light if you have windows, blue lights that simulate the sun, and salt lamps that promote clean and positive energy. Even a low-watt fluorescent desk lamp can help you be less prone to stress and increase your mood, energy, and productivity
6-Maintain an organizational routine that works for you.
In any office setting, organization is key to ensuring optimal productivity, reliability, and a low-stress environment. While you could Google ‘how to stay organized in the workplace,’ you are more likely to be productive in the long-run if you find what organizational routine works best for you.
For some this could mean answering all emails and returning phone calls first thing when you enter the office, only scheduling meetings during a certain time frame, labeling file folders by color or alphabetically, utilizing the “touch it once” system for paperwork, or having a specific computer layout on your computer. Whatever works best for your work day routine and office setting, be consistent and stick to it daily whenever possible for optimal results.
Also see our article on why organization is important for professionalism and productivity!
7-Keep your space clean and clutter-free to prepare for the next workday.
If you walk into the office in the morning and the space is filled with clutter from the previous day, you will either be spending your initial time cleaning or distracted and interrupted by the things in your way. To ensure you begin each day with a clear mind and with the utmost productivity, make it a habit to clean up your work space – including dishes, trash, and conference rooms – at the end of each work day. You will notice a tremendous difference immediately.
8-Customize and minimize the technology you use.
While technology has become a major and usually essential aspect of our daily lives, particularly at work, that doesn’t mean that it should make your job more difficult. This can include only having necessary computer items on your computer desk, while keeping your mouse and keyboard in a keyboard tray and the computer underneath the desk. Also try turning off your phone while at work or silencing certain incoming messages and calls to prevent distraction. You can also utilize certain apps, like StayFocused or FocusMe, that prevent the use of specified websites during certain time frames.
The main idea: each piece of technology should have a specific purpose during your workday and a specific space for it to sit.
9-Leave space for inspiration and humor.
Much like any objects that remind you of friends or family, it is important to leave room for inspirational and humorous pieces that can help you get through the day. The key, once again, is moderation. This could mean keeping a photo frame with an inspiration message, a wall calendar or desktop photo that gives you a daily glimpse of humor, or a dream board that reminds you what you are working towards.
10-Remember to care for yourself throughout the workday.
A productive and harmonious office space is of no use if you don’t care for your mind and body throughout the day. So be sure to do little things throughout the day that keep your energy levels balanced and your mind focused; such as keeping high-protein snacks and fruit in the office, drinking lots of water to stay hydrated, staying concentrated with tea or coffee (if you choose), listening to music, and taking at least a 10 minute walk during a break or after lunch. Just be sure to listen to your body and recognize when you need some self-love.
While these ideas are just the beginning to helping you create a more balanced, productive, and enjoyable work-life, they are sure to change the way you feel about the daily grind. Do you have other ideas of how to create a happier and more effective office space? Share your thoughts on the Better Office Furniture Facebook or Twitter pages!