Is Your Office Design Helping or Hurting Your Productivity?

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Your job comes with enough stress — a never-ending to-do list, difficult coworkers and a boss who constantly breathes down your neck. Stop bringing home the stress, bickering with your spouse, turning to the booze or an entire box of Cheez-Its. Instead, do something about it.

You can’t change everything about work, but you can reduce your stress level and increase your productivity with an office redesign. When it comes to office design and productivity, here are five tips for creating a positive workspace — and all can be done within just a few minutes!

1. Keep your office clean

You make your kids clean their room daily, right? Give yourself that same chore at work. Spend the first or last five minutes of each day tidying up. Put important papers away, throw away trash, take home all the unwashed Tupperware (or maybe just throw those away while you’re at it).

If your office is disorganized and cluttered, your mind will be too. A clean environment makes one less source of stress, so you can really focus on more important tasks.

2. Get exposure to natural light

Ever walk out of work and feel blinded by the sun? Eight hours under fluorescent lights makes you forget what the outside world actually looks like.

If your office allows it, bring in as much natural light as possible. Get rid of the blinds, sit by the window and turn off the overhead lights.

Studies have shown that natural light leads to greater productivity. In one study, workers without access to natural light slept less, had poorer quality sleep and more daytime dysfunction. So enjoy as much sunlight as you can so that you can rest better and be more productive at work.

3. Get rid of your phone and email (as much as you can)

If your office allows it, get rid of that bulky telephone on your desk and simply use your cell phone. In fact, some Internet plans — even those that use phone line technology — do not require an actual phone. Not only will this clear up your desk space, but talking on your cell phone allows for freedom of movement. When you get a call, stand up and walk back and forth in your office.

Of course, you’ll need to email clients and those away from the office. But instead of emailing back and forth with coworkers, encourage them to come to talk to you or you go to them. Sitting at your desk for 8 hours a day just isn’t healthy — get up and move! In fact, studies prove that taking a break away from the desk will help with your productivity levels.

4. Create a healthy atmosphere

Just face it — a candy bowl and poor posture aren’t helping your health or productivity levels. Surround yourself with a healthy environment — your body and mind will thank you. A few tips:

  • Ditch the candy bowl — a clear candy bowl close by increases your sugar intake, according to a study (no surprise there…).
  • Bring in a comfy desk chair or even an exercise ball to sit on with good posture.
  • Keep healthy snacks in a drawer — fruit, almonds, whole grain crackers — for those times of day when your stomach starts growling.
  • Go green and get a plant — it’ll reduce stress, lower blood pressure and reduce absenteeism.
5. Add your own personality

A clean office doesn’t have to be synonymous with a boring office. Bring your personality to the room. Decorate with your children’s artwork, bring in photos of your friends and family, add a stylish chair with colorful pillows to the room.

Being surrounded by personal items will make it feel more comfortable and less like work. Having a few personal touches and important photos nearby can help you find the inspiration to get more done.

Rose Haywood is an Internet tech blogger and small business marketing/tech  consultant. She hails proudly from Asheville, NC but resides for the time being right outside of Atlanta, GA. Feel free to reach out to her directly via twitter.

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