How to Make Your Workspace More Efficient
The environments around us play a major role in our productivity and overall happiness. We spend so much time and money to create a space we love at home, but what about the place that we spend on average 45 hours per week? With such an important role in our lives, our workspaces have the power to transform the way we work and our workday efficiency and productivity. By making your office efficient, you ensure your time there is well spent, allowing you to leave work with your tasks completed, so you can relax when you get home.
This guide will help you achieve your goals for creating a more efficient office. Filled with some of the best productive work environment ideas, it is designed to make your life at work easier and more enjoyable. So if you’re ready to take steps to make your office more efficient, look no further.
Create a Tranquil Environment
At IFR, we believe that an efficient work environment should be free of distractions. If you work in a space where your mind is constantly pulled away, you will quickly find the day slipping away from you. Here are some of our favorite ideas to make your office more productive by making it more tranquil.
Cater Your Lighting to Your Personal Needs
Harsh lights can make people anxious while too little light adds strain to the eyes. You want to do what you can to find the perfect lighting levels for you. One great way to easily add light is to use a desk lamp, which provides light concentrated right where you need it. In addition, ensuring you have a natural light source such as a window, skylight, or a lamp that mimics sunlight is another way to increase lighting while boosting your mood and helping you feel more connected with the environment.
On the other hand, reducing the lighting level can be tricky. Depending on the level of control you have over the lighting, you may want to find a way to avoid florescent lights. Some people have found relief, by simply reducing the number of fluorescent bulbs in the fixture directly above their work area. You’ll be amazed at how much easier it is to concentrate once you’ve achieved the optimum lighting levels for you!
While lighting is important, it is equally important to make your screen is glare free. The constant strain of trying to work on a computer with a glare will slow you down. While it may mean rearranging your desk or the layout of your office, you’ll enjoy the payoff when you find how much more you can accomplish, and how more relaxed you’ll feel.
Get the Perfect Chair
If you are working long hours, you may start to feel the pain of those hours — literally. Bad chairs can begin to hurt your back, while constantly readjusting in order to get more comfortable can kill your productivity. A good chair will do wonders for making your work day more bearable. If you’re within driving distance, visit Interior Furniture Resources and take their available office chairs for a test drive to make sure you have one that makes sense for your specific comfort needs. You can also use this chair selection tool to find one that’s right for you. If you’re an employer providing chairs for your employees, just think about the money saved in the long term by providing them with ergonomically designed seating.
Clean Up & Get Organized
A messy office is a distracting office. Although everyone has their own systems, clutter can draw your attention away from your work. If you have low priority work in sight, you can easily find yourself procrastinating and leaving your most important work behind. Get a file cabinet and discipline yourself to use it. You’ll be able to tackle your most important tasks without constant reminders of things that are less important. Even a simple document tray can help keep stray papers from becoming an efficiency problem.
Find the Perfect Noise Level
This tip all depends on what kind of worker you are. Some people do well in complete silence, but others find total quiet to be unsettling and distracting. You need to figure out that perfect level of background noise. However, be warned: Some people think they work better with music playing but actually struggle when compared with gentle, white noise. Try getting a noise machine or small bubbling fountain first.
If you do find that music is the best way for you to work, invest in a pair of nice noise-cancelling headphones. Check with your company’s management if you have any doubt if this is an acceptable practice. Not only will you keep distractions out, but your music won’t end up being a distraction for your office neighbors.
Office spaces are often uninviting and sterile, so consider adding some green to your desk. A good, low-maintenance plant will make your office feel more alive while also improving the air quality at your workspace.
Get a Fan
A small desk fan is a great way to get better control over the temperature in your own workspace. This is essential if you work in a large office where you don’t have control over the thermostat. It will also help keep stale air circulating. Plus, the sound generated by a fan could provide you with the white noise you need.
Tie up Your Cords
We live in a digital age, which means most of what we use to work is plugged in. But when the wires on your desk look more like a pasta dish than the latest technological gadget, you run the risk of getting distracted and frustrated. Use a clip or some Velcro to bind all of your cords together. This will help keep your desk clutter free while also making your workspace more aesthetically pleasing.
Make It Yours
Finally, the best way to make your office space comfortable and relaxing is to make it reflect who you are. Putting up photos of loved ones, or things you enjoy will bring the comfort of being at “home” and will make you much more relaxed and thus more efficient when you’re at work.
The Keys to Efficient Office Design
A tranquil office space is, in many ways, up to the individual. But there are ways to make an entire office more efficient as well. Here are some big picture ideas for creating a more productive office.
Think About Workflows
When mapping out the floor plan for an office, consider the flow of work. If one employee is going to be expected to be in close communication with another employee, make sure their desks are in close proximity to each other. If a particular job requires numerous trips to the copier, have that person’s workstation nearby. You want to ensure that your layout promotes efficiency.
Make Refreshments Accessible
A drink of water or a quick handful of trail mix can really recharge an employee who is starting to drag. By keeping refreshments easily accessible, you will ensure those needed mini-breaks are actually quick, rather than drawn-out excuses for avoiding work and wasting time.
Young people have started to catch on to the drawbacks of having too many things. Their apartments and workplaces are becoming much more minimalistic by design. Devices and tools that are never used only take up space and drain resources. Only include things in an office design that are actually necessary.
Keep Efficiency & Diversity in Mind
Different people like to work under different conditions. So even if you find a certain approach really increases your own efficiency, this doesn’t mean it’s the perfect, one-size-fits-all solution. Take individual work preferences to heart. If one person works better when they can move around, make sure they’re able to. But if another employee needs absolute quiet and does not want to be disturbed, try to provide that space as well.
Create a Culture of Respect
Some people are extroverts who derive energy from a quick chat by the water cooler. But sometimes those same people need to enter “do-not-disturb” mode. A great, efficient workplace culture is one in which someone can make it clear they can’t talk right now and not have to worry about offending anyone. Similarly, when someone is asked to respect someone else’s need to be left alone, it is important that request is taken seriously.
Make Sure You Have the Right Furniture for the Job
There are a lot of options when it comes to office furniture, and every job has specific office furniture needs. Take some time and consider what sort of furniture items are perfect for your office. Sometimes getting more furniture might increase initial costs, but keeping up efficiency will only help you save money in the long run.
Renting office furniture is a great cost-saving measure as well. This is especially helpful if you are unsure about future growth or are concerned that changing work habits may require new or different furniture in the near future. IFR offers a wide range of office furniture rental options that are perfect for a company exploring how to create a more productive workspace.
Some Specifics for the Home Office
Not everyone goes to work — an increasing number of people are working from home. 3.7 million Americans work from home at least half the time, and just because the office is another room in the house doesn’t mean you want to ignore those things that make it more efficient. With that in mind, here are some specifics on making your workspace more efficient at home.
Make Your Office Single Purpose
As much as space allows, you want your office to dedicated to work and work alone. Having a multi-purpose workspace in your home only serves to tempt you to do things other than work, so try to avoid using your office as a place to watch TV or work out. Otherwise, when work gets really stressful, you may decide the latest episode of your favorite show or a good run on the treadmill is better than getting your work done.
Keep out Kids
One of the joys of working from home is you’re closer to your kids when they need you. But if you really want to make your workspace more productive, it’s important that your office is kid free. Toys and clutter will only keep you away from work. If your kids are home while you are working, you also want to make sure they know that disturbing mom or dad when they’re in the office is only for emergencies.
Think About Color
There are many schools-of-thought about the ways certain colors either make you feel or affect your creativity. However, color preference is also very personal. Regardless of what kinds of colors you think will make your space most efficient, pick one that makes you feel happy. This will help your home office become more inviting and personal, allowing you to spend time in your home office without feeling frustrated about working.
Personal touches are a must if you go to an office for work. But there is a risk in over-personalizing when you work at home. Because there is so much more that can distract you, over-personalizing might make you too comfortable. You want your workspace to be a place where you are energetic, but not so relaxed that you become lackadaisical. So if things in your home office, such as your favorite books or music collection, tempt you away from focusing on the task at hand, consider removing these from your work area.
In the end, you want to enjoy your work and do it well. Considering how much time Americans spend working, you want that time to be as joyful and productive as it can be.
Making your workspace productive is a great way to improve the quality of your work. In fact, a well-designed office increases productivity by about 20%. When you implement these tips in your office, you will get more done and you’ll do it with less effort. This, in turn, will free up more time for you to spend doing the things that truly bring you joy.
That’s why IFR put together this handy guide to making your office productive. Whether you are looking to add a little personal touch to your private space or you are designing a brand new office from the ground up, productive workspaces are happier workspaces. So pick out some nice colors for the walls, spruce up your desks, dim the lights and get some plants to brighten up the space. With just a few tweaks and a little planning, your workspace will be more efficient and therefore, a joy to work in.