Ever find yourself watching the clock and hoping your workday will end? You’re not alone; around a third of us are distracted for 3 hours a day which equals 759 hours per year! The secret to maximum productivity may be hiding in your office styling. Whether you work from home or are looking to upgrade your business fit-out, we have 7 style tips for the most productive office.
Good lighting day and night
Incorporating as much natural light as possible will mean a host of benefits for your workspace, from better sleep to improved quality of life. If you’re at home pop your desk near a window for amazing lighting as long as the sun is out. For business owners, look for an office space with plenty of windows to keep your employees on track.
Some workweeks call for overtime into the night. Working in the dark for long periods is guaranteed to cause eye strain and result in symptoms such as dry eyes, headaches and fuzzy vision. Positioning your desk directly underneath a ceiling light, or taking your work to a well-lit area, is the best option for evenings. But in a pinch, a compact desk lamp will provide just the right amount of light.
Use natural woods
With almost half of us spending less than an hour outside on work days it’s little wonder we aren’t experiencing the benefits of nature. But new research by Forest & Wood Products Australia has found that incorporating natural elements in your workplace is helpful in increasing productivity. Over 80% of workers with eight or more wooden surfaces in their workplace reported feeling very satisfied at work. Comparatively, only 53% of workers felt satisfied when no wooden surfaces were present.
Get creative to incorporate natural wood furniture into your office space. Try using a large wooden table for informal meetings or have a wood coffee table in the waiting area. Bar stools make another trendy addition to your office reception and are a great way to subtly bring in more natural woods.
A desk with a view
Having something nice to look at is more important than you think for your workflow. Offices with scenic views have a positive impact on wellbeing while also providing a different perspective to your computer screen or written documents. Quick breaks in your workday to look out a window or at a piece of art allow the eyes to refocus which reduces fatigue and eye strain. The best place for your desk at home is in front of a window and the luckiest office workers will score a spot near the window as well. However, art and photos are a simple solution to dress up bland walls if a room with a view is not possible.
Add personal touches
It’s long been believed that a less clutter means less distracted, hence the clean desk policies in so many offices. Recent research shows working in a stimulating environment helps boost our creativity and surprisingly is more efficient than minimalist surroundings. However, a messy desk can overwhelm your brain and create unnecessary stress. Tread the fine line between clutter and productivity with simple touches from family photographs to a bunch of fresh flowers. Make it a habit of changing up your working space every few months with a cleanout of old clutter and a fresh new item to inspire you out of a desk daze.
Consider feng shui
You don’t have to be a feng shui master to find ways it can benefit your workspace. In simple terms, feng shui is the practice of styling your surroundings so that they bring powerful and positive energy into your life. Since you have the most style control over your home office it’s a great place to practice feng shui. The Water element represents career and life journey in feng shui and decorating with this in mind will lead to positive chi. Obvious choices for Water themed decor could be using the colour blue for walls and decor or a water-themed painting on one wall. More subtle ideas include hanging mirrors or furniture with curved edges and water-like shapes.
Designate a nap corner
We don’t call it a ‘power nap’ for no reason. If done correctly, napping is a great way to reset your energy levels and boost productivity.
Around 10-20 minutes is the ideal nap length. More than this can lead to grogginess when you wake as you haven’t completed a full sleep cycle. If you really need more, 90 minutes is your maximum as it completes a full REM cycling meaning you’ll wake up during light sleep.
The best time for a nap is between 2-4pm which means it might become a feature of your workday. A bed is not the most professional choice in an office but your desk chair is hardly going to help you get a quick snooze in. Meet in the middle with a comfy sofa lounge. It looks professional in your office and doubles up as the perfect nap station.
Choose the best layout
Are open plan or individual offices better? It’s the age-old office design question and according to Memoori the perfect layout uses a mix of both. Their recent survey found that 71.4% of respondents preferred an open plan office saying it improved their productivity. Researchers believe this is because humans need social interaction throughout their day and while a solo office helps with focus it can lead to loneliness. However, there are tasks that benefit from isolated working spaces and increased focus. The bottom line? Flexibility is key so provide both quiet spaces for detailed work and open plan desks for regular tasks. This way you’ll maximise productivity by allowing for social interaction but also offering a hideaway from distractions when required.
Who knew it was this easy to hack your workday? Changing up your office design is a clever way to increase productivity for yourself and your employees.
About the Author
Julia Hammond is a Melbourne based lifestyle blogger who currently publishes weekly content over on the MyDeal.com.au blog. She can also be found guest posting on great websites and loves to write about all things work, life and health.