When you think about boosting productivity levels at work, what comes to mind? If you’re like most people, a specific app or software solution is probably the first thing you think of. But in reality, your work environment can have a much bigger effect on how much you get done.
In this article, we’ll share five ideas to improve your work environment and become more productive. Sound good? Let’s get started!
A Work Environment Definition
We’ll start with a definition, just to make sure we’re on the same page:
According to Money-Zine, your work environment is “the surrounding conditions in which [you] operate.” This will vary from one professional to another.
For example, if you work in an office building, the room in which your desk is located is your work environment. If you work remotely, your home office, kitchen table, the coffee shop down the road, or any other place you work is your work environment.
Why Your Work Environment Matters
So what’s the big deal? Does it really matter where you work? Can productivity, or the lack of it, actually be tied to a physical location? The answer is, absolutely! Your working environment can greatly affect production levels because:
It Can Affect Your Health
These days, most employees care just as much about their work environment as their salary and vacation time. Why? Because where we work can have a dramatic effect on our health. If we’re stuck in a dreary office space, we’ll be more likely to suffer from depression and burnout.
It’s really hard to get things done when having to constantly overcome the mental hurdles associated with poor workspaces.
It Can Foster Collaboration
The team that works well together gets more done. Period. This is because a group of people has more strengths and skill sets to utilize than a single person. When everyone on your team is able to do what they do best, productivity levels will soar.
That’s why many offices now have open floor plans. Employees who work in this kind of environment are able to easily connect and collaborate with each other.
It Can Help You Focus
Lastly, the right work environment will also help team members focus on their work and hit peak production states. An office space that is teeming with distractions isn’t conducive to productivity. In fact, it’s quite harmful.
This may seem to contradict our last point about collaboration. Yes, open floor plans allow team members to better connect with each other, but they also open up the door to distraction.
The key is having a variety of work environments to choose from. Is your desk situated in a public space? Try wearing headphones or relocating to a quieter spot from time to time. You’ll appreciate the added focus a quiet place affords you.
5 Ideas to Improve Your Workplace Environment
We’ve established that where you work is important. Now let’s talk about some ideas to improve workplace environment. Each of the tips below will be applicable to you, whether you’re the CEO of your company or a low-level intern.
Here are five office improvement ideas you should consider implementing immediately:
1. Tidy Up Your Desk
The quickest and easiest way to improve your working environment is to simply tidy up your desk. Clutter often leads to procrastination and low productivity.
It makes sense, if you can’t easily find what you need because your workspace is littered with random folders, papers, and pens, you might be inclined to not work at all. At the very least, your mind will be distracted and you’ll get your work done much slower.
The research supports these claims. A Harvard study found that students who worked in a tidy environment were able to work steadily for 7.5 minutes longer than students who were asked to perform the same tasks in a cluttered space.
But how do you tidy up your work environment? It’s easy: invest in proper organization. Desk organizers and filing cabinets will help ensure your workspace is free of clutter.
2. Get Comfortable
One of the top characteristics of an ideal workspace is comfort. Do you enjoy sitting (or standing!) at your desk? Is your chair comfy? Is the temperature and lighting arrangement to your liking? If the answer isn’t “yes” to each of these questions, it’s time for a change.
You won’t be as productive as you could be if your back aches because your chair wasn’t properly designed, or you’re constantly shivering because the thermostat isn’t regulated well.
Depending on your position within your company, you might not be able to completely rearrange your workspace for premium comfort. But there are probably a couple of things you can do to make your work area a better environment. For example:
- Talk to Your Superiors: If your boss knows that you’re uncomfortable, they may be willing to make a few changes. Things like improved office chairs and better lighting are fairly simple and inexpensive fixes that most managers would be happy to remedy — especially once they realize that team productivity will improve because of it.
- Invest in Your Workspace: What if your boss is stingy and refuses to make necessary work environment changes? Besides looking for a new employer, you could invest in your workspace by purchasing your own office chair, or decorating your desk or the walls of your cubicle with inspiring pictures and artwork.
Do what you can to make the place you work as comfortable as possible and you’ll undoubtedly see an increase in individual productivity.
3. Bring Nature Inside
Believe it or not, plants can reduce stress and negative moods when they’re located inside of working environments. And we’re not just talking about slight reductions here. The Greenlife Industry of Australia found that those with plants in their offices were able to minimize stress levels by as much as 30 – 60%!
But that’s not all. Plants can also improve the air quality of your office, lower CO2 levels, and increase humidity, thus acting as natural humidifiers.
According to experts like NASA, English Ivy and Snake Plants are top contenders when it comes to office foliage. We suggest you invest in a few green friends and make them regular staples of your work environment.
4. Prioritize Wellness
Here’s another office improvement idea: prioritize wellness. What do we mean by that? Make sure you always account for your personal health and look for ways in which the space you work in can better facilitate it. For example:
- Find the Right Work-Life Balance: Even the best office spaces in the world become prison-like if you’re always there. Don’t work yourself into the ground. Improve your work environment by leaving it behind and enjoying your life outside of your career.
- Take Regular Breaks: Similar to our last point, get out of your workspace during the day as well as after work hours. Take regular breaks away from your desk. This will allow you to rest your eyes, stretch your legs, and socialize with other humans — all things that contribute to a better working environments and higher job satisfaction.
- Fuel Your Body Properly: Water and healthy snacks will keep you energized and in peak working condition, which will help you enjoy your work more and complete it more productively. Ask management to stock the office break room with water and nutritious foods. Or simply bring your own snacks to work everyday.
Wellness, while not exactly part of your work environment, directly affects whether or not you enjoy where you work. As such, it’s important to account for and optimize.
5. Invest In Technology
Finally, the right technology can also take your work environment from “ho-hum” to “OH YEAH!”
Automation tools reduce the menial tasks we need to complete on a regular basis and allow us to get more done in less time. Digital asset management systems like CleanPix make it incredibly easy to organize and distribute company files. And communication tools such as Slack keep us in contact with our colleagues — even if we work in different locations.
As an employee of your company, you might not have full control over which tech solutions are available to you. You may be required to use outdated software and workflows.
If this is the case, contact management and ask them to invest in new solutions. Show them the numerous benefits and increased productivity that will result from these new tools. If they still won’t budge, use apps and services that don’t interfere with current solutions.
For instance, Slack can be used for free. If your company doesn’t have rules against communication software, signup for a free account and start contacting your colleagues via chat messages instead of long email chains.
A Better Working Environment
Where you work has a huge impact on job satisfaction and productivity. Fortunately, you now know a few office improvement ideas that you can use to make your work environment a much more enjoyable and productive place! Just remember to:
- Tidy Up Your Desk
- Get Comfortable
- Bring Nature Inside
- Prioritize Wellness
- Invest In Technology.
Speaking of technology, CleanPix is the best way to organize your company’s digital files and distribute them efficiently. Give it a try for free for 14 days and get full access to our suite of powerful features. You’ll be glad you did!– Jacob Thomas