Did you know that the average person spends 90,000 hours at work over the course of their life time? That is almost one third of your life (!!!). If you are working in the corporate world, this means spending a lot of time in one designated space. Whether it is a corporate office, a desk, a cubical, or a home office; your work space is a major part of your everyday life.
With this being said, it is important that your workspace is organized, comfortable, and conducive to being a happy and productive employee. When you look at your workspace, consider how it makes you feel. Content? Stressed? Productive? Comfortable? Motivated? It is likely a question we don’t ask ourselves often. But if you take some time to think about how your workspace can be optimized, you can boost your productivity and morale.
Below are some of our top categories with tips and tricks to consider when sprucing up your workspace:
Did you know that 25% of American adults spend more than 8 hours a day sitting? Ergonomics is designing a workspace with the individual’s comfort in mind to support their health and safety in the workplace. With an influx of people unexpectedly having to work from home, poor ergonomics and the injuries associated with it are at an all-time high. This includes musculoskeletal disorders, back injuries, migraines, and more.
Some things to consider when creating an ergonomic workspace are:
Your Chair – Arguably the most important part of your workspace, your chair should give you the ability to adjust it to best suit your needs. This means the height, back rest, arm rest, and seat depth should be set to allow you to sit with your back straight, shoulders relaxed, and feet flat on the floor. According to a study from Cornell University, An estimated 50% of people in the industrialized world suffer some form of back complaint with many of these being due to poor seat design.
There are countless chairs on the market that you can choose from, and finding one that best suits your needs and workspace is a very worthwhile endeavor that will prevent avoidable injuries. If you’re not able to invest in a good chair at the moment, a pillow or seat cushion designed to provide lumbar (also known as lower back) support can also make a world of a difference in creating a more comfortable workspace and preventing injuries from sitting at your desk for long periods of time.
Your Desk – Desks with adjustable heights allow you to prevent strain on your back, shoulders, and forearms. Having the ability to change up your positions throughout the day can also be beneficial to your health. This can be accommodated with sit to stand desks that give you options as you work. Research has shown that being able to go back and forth between standing and sitting is the most ideal way to work.
Your Electronic Devices – This covers a few different things, all that are probably crucial to your day-to-day tasks. Your computer mouse, keyboard, and monitor should be positioned centered and directly in front of you. Your mouse and keyboard should be at elbow height and close to the front of your desk.
If you want to take your office ergonomics even further, there are many different computer mouse and keyboard options that allow you to maintain the natural position of your hands and arms to prevent repetitive strain injuries such as carpal tunnel.
Documents - If your role involves having an influx of paper on the go, then you probably already know how quickly things can get cluttered and confusing. It may feel overwhelming but fear not – all it takes is developing a system and committing to it. Decide how you need to categorize your documents and take some time to organize them in an accordion folder, filing cabinet, or simply a stack of different colored or labeled folders. The next step to this is crucial - sticking to your system. This means continuing to sort incoming paperwork accordingly and maintaining the system you created.
If you find yourself simply not able to maintain the system you created, it may mean that you need to try something different. Be open to experimentation and working towards finding a system that makes the most sense to you and maintains your productivity.
Reference Sheets - What sort of information are you referring to everyday? As someone in marketing, I reference our branding color codes pretty much every day when I create graphic design elements. Any highly referenced components of your job should be displayed clearly so they are just a glance away as you work. This will help you maintain momentum and save time digging through papers to find it.
Odds and ends – Taking even just 30 seconds to organize your workspace at the end of the day will help you feel reenergized and ready to get to work first thing the next morning. Feeling overwhelmed by the items that just don’t have a place? Designate a space to keep these little items like headphones, phone chargers, extra office supplies, etc. Some people call it a “junk drawer” - we call it an odds and ends space.
Below is our rapid-fire list of décor ideas that can bring a smile or sense of calm to even your most chaotic days.
Photos – Display photos of friends, family, pets, or vacations to increase happiness and even serve as conversation starters. Frames can be a simple way to display photos on your desk, but if you need the space, you can also hang photos on walls or even wired displays. Get creative with minimalism or gallery walls depending on what best suits your space.
Plants – Looking to feel a bit more connected with nature as you work? Having some greenery in your workspace has many different benefits. Studies have shown that plants in the workplace reduce stress and boost productivity and creativity.
Not sure where to start with having a green thumb in the office? The best plants for your office depend how much sunlight you get. Generally, we recommend cactuses, succulents, or Dracaena Plants for low maintenance greenery and air purification.
Lighting – Your workspace is likely where you spend most of your time during the day, so having some degree of natural light in your workspace is ideal. Natural light - whether from outside or inside – has many health benefits. Boost your vitamin D intake, decrease mood swings, and even improve sleep patterns simply by setting up your workspace close to a window.
Surprisingly, something as simple as adequate natural light was the number one thing employees most valued in their workplace environment according to a Harvard Business Review study.
Not able to work near a window? LED lights with dimmers can be another good choice to have adjustable lighting that can be accommodated for your working/productivity needs.
Credentials - Show your alum pride and establish credibility by displaying your educational achievements. It is easy for the physical proof of your post-secondary achievements to fall by the wayside. Swipe the dust off your degree/certifications and get them displayed at your office. Not only are they a great way to demonstrate your accomplishments and qualifications, but it also serves as a great conversation starter for those you interact with in your office.
A workspace that fosters a positive attitude and productivity will allow you to be at your best and make the most of those 90,000 hours you will spend there.
Did we miss anything for sprucing up your workspace? Let us know in the comments below!
Posted by Katelyn Roy on