The views of this article are the perspective of the author and may not be reflective of Confessions of the Professions.
Being Productive in the Workplace
The workspace as we know it is changing. The days of monotonous cubicles are numbered and instead we are being presented with new modern solutions for the office environment. Open plan spaces, bright colours and ‘office pods’ are to become commonplace in the office of the future. The idea behind these being that that they will influence employee productivity, either by encouraging collaboration with colleagues or positively altering their mood. For the moment however, many of us are still stuck in the traditional office environment with fluorescent lighting and dreary grey interiors and so it helps to be aware of things that we can do to enhance our productivity levels at work.
This infographic by Davitt Corporate Partners offers advice on how to ensure a productive workspace, from positive changes you can make to your actual work environment to exercises you can do from the convenience of your desk. In addition, the infographic reveals some interesting insights from studies on the connection between the workspace environment and employee productivity. For example, studies have shown that music can decrease productivity when a worker is conducting a task that requires focus. When it’s a task a worker performs on a regular basis, music can actually increase concentration! To get more interesting insights and advice, check out the infographic below.
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WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW
Productive @ Work
The design of your workspace can have a major impact on your levels of productivity at work. It has the potential to increase your work output or hinder it. Find out what is the key to a productive workspace.
What a Productive Workspace Should Look & Sound Like
What the Studies Tell Us
In a study published by Cornell University, researchers reported finding higher levels of adrenaline in workers who were exposed to low levels of noise, when compared to workers exposed to no noise. This indicated workers exposed to noise were under higher levels of stress.
Music – Good Idea or Bad Idea?
Studies have shown that music can decrease productivity when a worker is conducting a task that requires focus. But when it’s a task a worker performs on a regular basis, music can actually increase concentration.
According to a study, a dimmer environment fosters superior creativity in terms of idea generation. While, brighter light levels are seen to be more conducive to analytical and evaluative thinking.
Research has found that when a worker is comfortable and safe, they are more productive. When employees sit up straight and type, they think more clearly and have a higher worker output than an employee who sits slumped over his or her keyboard.
The colour of an office’s walls, floors, and furniture can influence how workers perform, according to experts.
- Exposure to the colours blue and green have been show to enhance performance on tasks that require generating new ideas.
- The colour red has been linked with superior performance on tasks involving attention to detail.
5 Ways to Ensure a Productive Workspace
1 CHECK YOUR POSTURE
It is vital that your workspace is designed to provide proper ergonomic support. This is not only important for your physical health but it will also enhance your productivity. You should follow these guidelines to ensure a correct posture:
- The top of the monitor should be level with the operator’s eyes
- The head and neck should be aligned with the body
- Elbows should be supported and close to the body
- The lower back should be supported
- Wrists and hands should be in-line with forearms
- Feet should be flat on the floor
2 KEEP YOUR OFFICE WARM
In a study, Cornell’s Human Factors and Ergonomics Laboratory found that typing errors decreased by 44% and typing output improved by 150% when an office temperature was increased from 22 to 25 degrees. The recommended temperature for an office is usually between 17 and 22 degrees.
3 LOSE THE CLUTTER
Keeping a clutter-free desk can significantly increase productivity and organisation. Putting a system in place to deal with incoming mail, documents, and files should help you to work more efficiently and cut-out time wasting.
4 GET A PLANET
Studies have shown that having a potted plant on your desk increases productivity and cognitive attention. TO add to that, a plant will filter the air to remove mold and bacteria.
5 USE NATURAL LIGHTING
Use natural lighting whenever possible. It is easier on the eyes and research has shown it increases productivity and employee satisfaction. If you have no option but to be in an office space with fluorescent lighting, then ensure you take frequent breaks outdoors.
The Top Exercises To Do At Your Desk
Considering that we spend a third of our time at work and many office jobs are stationery. It helps to do any bit of exercise you can to keep your body and mind active. Below are five easy exercises that you can do from the convenience of your desk!
INVISIBLE CHAIR SIT
How to do it:
Stand in front of your chair with your feet at hip’s width apart. Place your hands on your hips and lower your bottom until it’s just above the seat. Then sit down as slowly as possible. Do 20 repetitions.
Tip! This exercise works best if you lower your seat as far as it will go.
STRAIGHT LEG LIFT
Sit in your chair, extend one leg out straight in front of you and hold for ten seconds. Then raise it up slightly higher, and hold it again for two seconds. Repeat six times with both legs.
TIp! To make the exercise harder, lift both legs at the same time.
How to do it:
Sit tall in your chair and reach your left hand behind your back, between your shoulder blades, palm out. Then reach your right hand up toward the ceiling, bend it down, and try to touch your left hand. Hold for 10 seconds. Switch arms and repeat.
Tip! If you can’t touch your left hand then grab onto your shirt and keep practicing.
Sit tall with abs pulled in. Hold water bottle in right hand and curl it up towards your shoulder. Repeat 15 times and change arms.
Tip! A full water bottle can make an excellent substitute for a dumbbell at work.
Put your arms behind your back, resting at the edge of your desk and form a squat position. Gently, lower and raise your torso.
Tip! Do 10 reps in a set and complete three sets a day for optimum results.
Workspace Trends of the Future
Goodbye to Cubicles, Hello to Transparency!
The idea is to create an office space that promotes employee collaboration and interaction from the bottom of the company to the top.
It is evident that formally in the workplace is in demise and instead the focus is on creating more transparent and barrier-free work environments.
Shared spaces and glass walls and doors are likely to become more commonplace in the future.
A Norwegian telecom company called Telenor provide the perfect example of a more flexible workspace, one we are likely to see a lot more of in the near future.
Here staff have no assigned seating and are encouraged to keep moving into different teams.
Accordingly to management, this allows for greater exploration, which ultimately results in faster decision making.
Open Plan but with a Privacy Aspect
Countless studies have shown that completely open plan offices are not effective for employee productivity, hence the familiar site of people wearing headphones in these types of spaces.
The evolution of the mobile workforce means that there is not necessarily the need for a seat for everyone in the office.
This has brought about the idea of office pods – these are designed to promote privacy, yet are still translucent enough to be inviting or encourage communication when needed.
For example, a feature of the BBC’s new Broadcasting House headquarters in central London was the reduction of workstations to 3,500 for the 5,600 staff.
The ideas being that mobility would allow for sharing with wokrers sitting around the campus and create “positive crowding”
What the Experts Say
“Our offices should encourage casual, cafe-style interactions, but allow people to disappear into personalized, private spaces when they want to be alone.
– Writer and Lecturer, Susan Cain for the New York Times
“The idea that the desk is a unit of productivity is changing very, very rapidly. Your productivity is not measured by the amount of time you sit behind a thing called a desk. It is what you do. It is about your output.”
– Architect Phillip Tidd [Gensier] speaking to the Guardian
“It’s vital that you choose an office space that you feel happy and comfortable in. If your freedom is restricted, shape the space as much as you can to make it your own. Get your surroundings in order and the rest is sure to follow.
– Psychologist and Writer, Dr. Christian Jarret for 99U
“Even the most well-designed office will make employees unproductive if they feel chained to their desks. Make sure that employees have the space to get up and take a walk occasionally, or maybe a lounge area where they can get a little work done, without sitting in the same place all day.
– Writer [Mashable], Taylor Casti
DAVITT Corporate Pyschology