Working in a Zen-like environment could lead to less stress, greater productivity and on-the-job happiness.
Over the course of a lifetime, the average person spends more than 90,000 hours working. So whether you work at home or in an office, it helps to create a pleasant, calm and productive work environment with minimal distractions. Aim to support better work habits and on-the-job happiness with a mix of minimalism and the things that make you happy.
Not sure where to begin? The following tips should help.
Express your personality
Everyone has their own sense of style, and they may want to express that at work. Sure, too much clutter can be distracting, but a few precious items can also brighten your day. Framed pictures of your loved ones, your preferred coffee mug and a favorite pen may be all you need on your desk. Keep other office supplies stashed in a nearby drawer for easy access.
Streamline your computer
An organizational system that makes sense to you will help you easily find the reference file you need and keep your projects on track. When necessary, silence distractions like email and instant messaging so you can focus, or block specific times of the day to do just that. Leverage the tools at your disposal to ensure efficiency while still being responsive.
Be color savvy
For starters, bland or neutral colors, such as white, gray and beige, can be depressing. The same is true of darker colors. But where you go from there depends a lot on the type of work you do. Workers who want a calm environment generally prefer blues and greens, while individuals in search of stimulation rely on bright colors, such as yellows, oranges and reds. A potted plant or small bouquet of bright, fresh flowers can do wonders to boost your mood. The same goes for stylish pencil cups and folders instead of bland-looking alternatives, if that’s more your style.
Bring on the light
The best-case scenario is a work environment with an abundance of natural light, which is known to increase health, happiness and productivity. In the absence of windows, however, you can create the next best thing with bright lighting (not fluorescent). Some people position a light box on their desk to increase light exposure during the winter months.
Control the temperature
Not everyone agrees on the optimal temperature for a work environment, but experts suggest that peak productivity usually occurs at about 71 degrees Fahrenheit. Test several temps before landing on the most comfortable and productive option for you. If you work in a corporate office setting where it’s not possible to regulate the temp, keep a blanket or a favorite mug of tea within arm’s reach.
Conquer the noise
Noise is just that. Noise. While it can be distracting or even irritating, complete silence almost never happens. If too much noise disrupts your concentration, a consistent volume of ambient background noise could help. White noise machines or noise-canceling headphones may just be the office hero you didn’t even know you needed.
If the best workspaces are designed to enhance productivity, then it only makes sense to provide a variety of spaces that address different needs. Meeting with a group? Head to the conference room. Collaborating on an idea? Gather around your standing desk. Need to make a call? There’s a private room for that. Remember that changing positions does the body good. No one likes to sit all day.
To set the process in motion, you can:
- Lead by example and create a desk space that reflects your ideal work environment.
- Gather ideas from co-workers about potential improvements to common areas.
- Ask your advisor about setting aside some funds for improving your home office.
Sources: businessinsider.com; lifehack.org; rocketspace.com; business.com; entrepreneur.com
Raymond James is not affiliated with any other entity listed herein.