Whether you work from home or from an office, there will always be things that are out of your control. Maybe your office is always freezing, your coworker always talks two times louder when they're on the phone, or there's construction going on right next to your building. Or maybe your boss just won't stop asking you for more than you can feasibly finish in a day.
You can't change these things, but you can make changes to your workspace - whether at your company's office or at home - that will boost your productivity and make you and your demanding boss happy. Here are five ways to boost productivity with simple office design tweaks.
1. Streamline and Simplify
This one seems like a no-brainer, but you'd be surprised at how many things you can pare down in your workspace to streamline your workflow. Simply recycling, shredding, or deleting items you no longer need can cut down on clutter (both physical and digital). Create a simple and easily searchable filing system for your important digital and physical files. The less time you spend searching for necessary items, the more efficient you can be.
2. Optimize Lighting
Good lighting is one of the keys to working well. Poorly lit spaces can cause eye strain, headaches, fatigue, and elevated stress levels. Natural lighting is always best, but if you don't have access to a window, use indirect lighting to illuminate workspaces.
If you're designing your own home office, make sure you choose a space with lots of natural lighting and position your computer to eliminate glare.
3. Minimize Noise Distraction
Noise is one of the most common office complaints – and while those who work-from-home might not have to deal with noisy coworkers, noisy neighbors are certainly a concern for apartment dwellers. Coworking spaces and cafes also present their fair share of unwanted background noise. Excessive background noise while working has been directly linked to reduced productivity, increased stress, illness, and job dissatisfaction.
White noise generators are helpful for masking the sound of voices, and there are even apps that can turn your phone into a white noise machine. If that doesn't do the trick, consider investing in a pair of noise-canceling headphones for those times when you need to hear yourself think (or join a conference call undisturbed).
4. Bring the Outside In
Having plants in the office increases workplace productivity and improves employee health. However, there's no substitute for the great outdoors. Taking a quick break to get some fresh air can also boost productivity by giving you a much-needed dose of nature.
5. Enhance the Environment
Color plays a huge role in the overall look and feel of an office, but did you know it can also have a significant impact on productivity? White walls are the worst. Designing offices with color schemes designed to reinforce specific activities can increase the effectiveness of a workspace. For example, a recent study shows the color red can improve detail-oriented work while blue can encourage creative tasks. A colorful office may result in more productive output. Whether you have control over your cubicle or over the color of your entire home office in mind, keep these tips in mind when deciding how to decorate.
You don't have to do a complete overhaul of your office to become more productive and find your surroundings more pleasant. With a few thoughtful tweaks, you can improve the look, feel, and level of productivity in an office.