Collaborative post – may contain affiliate links
When it comes to our office environment, could it be that we’re only as good as our surroundings? Numerous studies have indicated that the environment we work in can have a huge impact on our health, wellbeing, mental focus and productivity, so its surprising that small companies don’t invest more time in making the right changes to promote a culture of co-operation and creativity. However, despite the wealth of evidence to the contrary nearly half of employers still say that they don’t consider workplace design a good business investment.
From large-scale ergonomic changes such as investing in new seating, changing office layouts to enhance collaboration or smaller touches such as adding deck coating systems to make transform a rooftop into a staff recreational area, to smaller touches, a few adjustments could make a huge impact.
Lighting Your Space
After air quality, lighting is one of the single biggest factors in producing a comfortable working environment, but it also tends to be one of the most overlooked. Bad lighting is the cause of myriad health problems for workers, including lack of concentration, eye strain, headaches and low mood. Natural light is always the best option, but many of us don’t have the luxury of a desk by a window. Portable light therapy devices can be one solution you can proactively introduce.
The current vogue for open-plan everything certainly has benefits in terms of making collaboration easier, but noise pollution is a significant downside of this approach. Not only can loud conversations from co-workers be distracting, but they can also cause a constant, low-level form of stress that is highly detrimental over time. Luckily, noise-canceling headphones can be a godsend for managing noise in the office, while online music streaming services offer white noise or calming playlists intended to promote focus. If you work from home, these can even be useful as many find complete silence just as detrimental to their focus in its own way.
Probably the single most important factor from a physical perspective, air quality isn’t often something that gets mentioned, but it can severely impact our productivity and wellbeing. The OSHA has estimated the total annual cost of poor air in our offices actually costs employers $15 billion in lost efficiency and increased sick leave. Your office should consider fitting or upgrading air filters, or personal desk-based ones can be used, although these tend to be drastically less efficient. A cheap hack is just to buy in lots of green potted plants – these calm our minds and are also nature’s air filters, providing a steady supply of clean, purified oxygen.
You may feel that your clutter makes you creative, but actually messy environments around us are linked to poor concentration, and can cost us time when it comes to the daily hunt for the stapler. Focus on keeping your immediate environment harmonized by allocating ten minutes at the end of each day to a quick file away and wipe down of your desk. Smart office storage solutions are available to help you minimize piles of paper, too.