Working in an office job can be stressing. You are expected to be somewhere from 9AM to 5PM straight and are usually confined to a small space. Add on to this approaching deadlines and coworker drama, and you’ve got yourself an unhealthy environment that enables the growth of discontentment. Every office worker approaches these problems differently; some simply endure it and wait for 5PM every day, and some take these matters into their own hands. If you belong to the latter group of office workers, and want to improve your office whether it be one at a corporate job or in your own house, read on.
Maintenance Vs Design
On reflection after having read this post, you might wonder what the difference between maintenance and design actually is, that is why we will cover that beforehand. Design obviously refers to how you set up your office, and how you personalize it. Maintenance on the other hand, means actually keeping your office designed like that and actively working to not let it fall apart. Maintenance is an essential part of working in an office, it is much easier to keep your workspace organized than to reorganize it every few weeks and suffer from the disarrayed office in the mean while.
Keeping It Tidy
The biggest mood killer you can experience as soon as you step foot in to the office in the morning, alongside clutter and a huge pile of paperwork, is the office being dirty. No one likes to work in filth, and certainly not in an office for up to eight hours a day. Make sure to keep your office sparkling, or at least not let it get grimy. Follow the five-minute rule; if it takes five or less than five minutes to do, do it. If you spill some coffee or spot some dust on the floor, clean it up then before you forget and it accumulates or hardens and becomes more difficult to get rid of.
Keep It Clutter-Free
Second perhaps only to a dirty office, clutter is a serious no-go if you want to keep your cool in your office. Letting things pile up on your desk and on top of your cabinets not only looks bad, it increases your workload because you have to file through tons of junk to find what you need. Keeping an office neatly organized gives an impression of professionalism and boosts your mood and actually makes you want to do a good job that day. Tuck away things neatly in places that make sense, store your folders in a specific order, and don’t put off organizing your items because there is a very likely chance of them piling up until organizing them becomes a very daunting task.
Keep It Minimalistic
Something that feeds into keeping your office clutter-free, you won’t have much decluttering to do if there are no unnecessary items hogging your office’s space. Refrain from filling up your office with items you barely ever use. Keep a small number of pens, maybe a cup of coffee, and your workstation be it either a desktop computer or a laptop or something else. If you need folders, organize your work into categories and get one for each. Keep your desk items in the drawer of your desk, and everything else in a single cabinet that has plenty of room. It will take some experimenting depending on the size of your office and the nature of your work before you can figure out the minimum amount of storage and necessary items you need. Start small, and work your way up to a comfortable level.
Add Some Decoration
Keeping your office tidy and organized is a huge step towards improving your mood and boosting your productivity, but it can get a bit dull with just sleek white and silver surfaces everywhere. Many people like to personalize their offices, some choosing to hang up framed family pictures while others opt for posters of their favorite football teams. These are perfectly viable options of course, as long as you don’t overdo it and plaster your walls completely, but there are other options to choose from as well. A nice painting goes a long way in setting the mood for your office, though you will probably have to check if you’re allowed to hang one. A potted plant however, is mostly fine and looks great in a simple office above the desk. Other than that, you can also choose from items like calendars, clocks, small toys even, and flower vases alongside or in place of the potted plant.
Doing Your Work on Time
Not really a design tip as much as a maintenance one, this is a subset of keeping your office clutter-free. Make it a habit of finishing up your work on time, and you will have a cheerful start every morning. Meet deadlines, and don’t put off today’s work on tomorrow. Knowing you already have pending work, in addition to all the new tasks offloaded on to you today, is an awful thing to feel just as you are about to start your day, and immensely ruins your mood to work. Maybe you can get planner to help you plan each day properly.
Get Yourself A Good Chair
A chair is an investment you need don’t need to be stingy in. You only get one backbone, and it would do you well to treat it well. Try out multiple chairs until you find the one you think you can sit on for hours at a time. Make sure your chair is well-suited to your back and helps you maintain a proper posture. And speaking of postures, be sure to level your screen properly too. Here’s a handy chart and calculator to help you position your monitor at just the right height and angle.
Get A Good View, Or Simulate One
Easier said than done, you can only really get one yourself if you work in a home office. If you do, great. Build your office somewhere you have a nice view of the outside, perhaps of the neighborhood or even your backyard. If you do work a corporate office job, try to acquire an office near a window. Or if you work in a shared open space, try to get there a bit early and snag a spot next to the window for yourself. A view to look out at can greatly improve your mood and in turn boost your productivity. If none of the above is possible and you’re stuck in a cubicle, hanging a nice framed picture or painting of a beautiful landscape can also alleviate stress. Even a nice desktop background can do wonders. Whichever option you end up choosing, just be sure to not start daydreaming, else it would completely defeat the purpose.
Keep Adequate Lighting
Lighting is another important factor in setting up your office’s comfort. Make sure to light up the office nicely, illuminating everything and not having any light sources shining light directly into your eyes. A well-lit workspace will not only keep you awake and alert, it will also help you find whatever you need more easily, thus saving time. Decide what color of lights you find most comforting and easy on your eyes and get yourself some good ones.
Level Your Table And Chair Properly
Being tired will of course, greatly reduce your productivity, and improper chair and table alignment can be very tiring. According to the chart we linked to above, your hands should be straight along your arms. Your feet should be flat on the floor and your back should be straight. You can look around for some hand rests as well if your wrists get tired quickly and your hands keep getting forced to make an uncomfortable angle. A good mousepad can be a lifesaver in this regard as well. As can be a keyboard with a huge protrusion under the keys where you can rest your wrists.
Keeping your office well set up can be a major improvement in many ways. You feel happier, more energetic, and you get more work done as well. Hopefully this post gave you an idea of how you can do just that. If you are looking for more office related reading we have a piece on the types of office chairs and how to pick the right one for you. If you are looking for something else entirely, we have an interesting read on IBM’s Watson Artificial Intelligence too.