The impact that your working environment can have on both your productivity and happiness should not be underestimated, which is why big companies spend top money on modern, ergonomic office spaces. But you don’t need to spend big to make improvements to your office that will make a big difference.
Here are 7 ways that you can improve your working environment:
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1. Let In More Natural Light
Dark offices that rely on un-natural fluorescent lighting can give you headaches by causing you to strain your eyes and squint. A dark office can also make you feel trapped and unmotivated which can lead to low productivity levels and low mood.
Natural light has actually been proven by some studies to improve productivity as well as to be beneficial for mental health and wellbeing so you should try to let in as much of it as possible.
Let more natural light into your working environment by ensuring there are plenty of windows and sky-lights (if possible) or go one further and incorporate an outside area to your workspace.
2. Ensure All Desk Chairs Are At The Right Height Or Provide Sit-stand Working Options
A common complaint from people at work is that they get back pain from sitting at their desk which is often caused by a badly set up chairs or spending too long in one position.
Having a correctly adjusted chair can make all the difference, so take the time to complete an assessment of your position whilst at work, it may be that you need a foot stand if you cannot touch the floor at the proper desk height.
Another reason many people get back pain is that they do not use a stand when regularly working from a laptop. Additionally, you may wish to consider implementing sit-stand desks which will allow you to work from both a seated and standing position which can promote better blood flow and allow you to stretch out when sitting becomes uncomfortable.
3. Bring The Outside In
The use of plants in the workplace has been proven to improve mood and reduce stress as well as increase productivity and make the workplace more attractive to new employees, not to mention they also look great.
Before you go out and buy yourself a set of new foliage it’s important to remember that not all plants can survive life in the office and some will only thrive with specific light conditions, for a low maintenance option consider starting with cacti and succulents and then experiment with more leafy varieties such as palms and Lillies if you have the natural light to do so.
If you really don’t want to do any of the upkeep yourself then there are even companies out there who are dedicated to the care of office plants.
For another low maintenance option that will also make your office smell divine why not bring in freshly cut flowers for people’s desks?
4. Provide A Variety Of Working Areas
Although a dedicated desk is important for privacy and personal space, people often like to work from a variety of different spaces depending on their mood and the task they are tackling.
Incorporate some variety into your office to give people the option to move around when the feeling arises. This could be a lounge area with sofas and armchairs for casual work or small personal booths which are great for phone calls or focused work.
It may seem hard to incorporate separate workspaces into small offices so maybe consider working from a local cafe or taking a day from home every now and then to shake things up a little.
A change of scenery can often offer a change of perspective.
5. Keep Υour Space Clean
Perhaps the easiest way to improve your working environment is to keep it as clean as possible. This can be hard in a busy office space with many people, but instilling a culture of cleaning up after yourself will help. Periodically, set a few days aside for a deep clean and be sure to tackle areas such as carpets with a Steamaster to get rid of deep ingrained dirt.
To maintain a clean office you can either hire in a cleaning firm to regularly keep on top of dusting and surface cleanliness or set a rota in smaller office spaces. If your office has a kitchen area then try to make everyone responsible for their own washing up to avoid a pile-up in the sink and regularly clean out the fridge to avoid moldy and rotten food.
6. Incorporate Invigorating Scents
No one wants to work in a space that smells like reheated salmon or someone’s old gym shoes. Keep the air in your office fresh by regularly airing it out by opening your windows, limiting bad odors and using air fresheners.
You could even bring in a diffuser to diffuse your favorite essential oils such as rosemary which can help with memory or lavender which helps with relaxation and stress. The scent has a powerful part to play in how you feel and how you think and so utilizing this sense could be very beneficial to your business.
7. Provide A Relaxation Area
Eating lunch at your desk may make you feel like you’re getting ahead of the game but it can actually damage your productivity later in the day.
To work at its best your mind needs to have regular breaks to switch off and recharge. Having a dedicated break out area to switch off from work gives your brain two clear zones, a zone for work and a zone to rest.
A breakout zone could be a kitchenette area or a lounge area but whichever you choose it should be a work-free zone and not used for meetings or phone calls otherwise you won’t fully switch off.
Make this place somewhere tranquil and peaceful away from the hustle and bustle and as mentioned in point number 3, incorporate some plants for some added zen. If you have an outside space you could dedicate a portion of this to relaxation too.