Distractions are everywhere when it comes to an office environment – the ring of the phone, the buzz of text alerts and emails constantly popping up into view to name just a few. Add people chatter and paper clutter and it’s amazing we ever accomplish what we set out to do. By creating a comfortable and organized workplace you may just be able to maximize productivity with the added perk of work satisfaction.
Consider these 5 things when designing your workplace for productivity:
Open office plans promote collaboration and interaction but they can also be distracting when you need to devote your full attention to the task at hand. The solution: Dedicating quiet zones within open office space and providing enclosed areas that offer visual and acoustic privacy. Meeting space and shared resources areas like print centers and breakrooms should be centrally located so everyone has access. This same concept can be applied to a home office, creating niches to support the activity you are performing increases your productivity and enjoyment in the task.
- COLOR + LIGHT
Apply the psychology of color when selecting the color for your surroundings. Cooler colors – greens, blues, purples – are associated with being inviting and relaxing. Warmer colors – reds, oranges, yellows – create a warm environment and promote creativity. If changing the color of the wall isn’t an option, try adding color to your direct line of vision with artwork or desktop accessories. Lighting can affect a mood just as much as color. When possible, maximize natural light. Sunlight streaming in the window and a view of the outdoors can be energizing when being outdoors is not an option. When natural light is not an option, choose your bulbs wisely. CFL (compact fluorescent) bulbs mimic sunlight. The ability to control your lighting is also key. Lighting that is too bright or harsh strains the eyes, while too dim of light tends to lull and zaps energy levels.
There is good noise and bad noise. Adding music can enhance the energy in the workplace and provide a background beat to a day of multi-tasking. Keep in mind volume to avoid the tunes becoming a distraction when trying to converse in person or on the phone. To minimize becoming overwhelmed with overlapping conversations and equipment whirring, look to carpet on the floor, white noise machines and sound-absorbing panels to help control.
Allow for personalization of the individual workspace and you’re likely to see positive results as the work gets cranked out. Personalization goes beyond pinning up a familiar photo and adding a plant. Personalization should come with a variety of storage options to minimize clutter on desks. Shelving, filing cabinets and desktop sorter within arms reach support good workflow with the added benefit of a tidy appearance. Don’t forget the spot you plop down in. Seating should be adjustable to personal comfort and support good ergonomics to avoid neck and back strain. Providing height adjustable worksurfaces is quickly becoming an office trend. Providing a single working space that allow users to work sitting or standing encourages physical movement despite the need at times to be tied down to a desk to accomplish the task at hand.
Last, but certainly not to be forgotten is workplace technology. You likely spend more time with your computer and mobile device than with your family. Harsh reality but it’s how we conduct business in today’s workplace. While we tend to keep our portable devices up to date, other equipment meant to make us more efficient in our workflow is often overlooked. Invest in equipment such as printers and computers and keep the software up to date and implement a maintenance routine. Nothing is more frustrating when you’re stopped in your tracks to clear a recurring paper jam or watching a spinning circle on your screen as your computer “thinks”. Bonus: newer models of most equipment are typically less clunky, and have clean lines which require less space and improve overall aesthetics. Standard built in wireless features paired with a high speed wireless network allows flexibility in where you work which allows you to be productive no matter where you are in the office.
Recognizing common workplace distractions and taking thoughtful steps to minimize or provide solutions helps create an inviting space for people to spend 40 hours of their week. Perhaps it’s time to draw up the window blinds and turn on the music (& clean those piles off your desk!) and help make it an enjoyable and productive 40 hours!