Let’s face it: whatever industry you work in, there is a good chance that you spend most of your day in an office sitting at a desk, typing away at your computer, answering phone calls and drinking lots of less-than-stellar coffee.
Since we spend so much time at our place of work, we should make sure that it is a productive, healthy environment.
Here are some simple tips to bring your workspace to the next level.
1) Keep Your Work Atmosphere Clean
I know, it’s easy to let paper, notebooks, cap-less pens and wrappers from your sneaky 3 PM chocolate fix accumulate on your area because cleaning your desk is not high on the to-do list.
However, as research from Princeton University shows, working in a cluttered area can have a negative effect on your productivity: it restricts your ability to focus and process information, as the mess competes for your attention.
So, in order to boost efficiency and improve your mental health, organise your space. Here are a few easy DIYs – from keeping your cords tangle-free with binder clips to sorting papers with an old window shutter – that will help you keep your area and mind clear.
Bonus tip: keep a small pack of antibacterial wipes and hand sanitizer at the ready, and regularly wipe down all desk surfaces. This will help keep your area free from cold germs that are bound to spread around the office, discourage pests from smelling the remnants of your lunch and get rid of unsightly dust and smudges.
2) Create A Visually Engaging Workplace
A common yet not necessarily welcome fixture in any office is the fluorescent light bulb, emitting an artificial glow that mingles with the glare of our computer screen.
But – unsurprisingly – this isn’t great for our health: it can cause eye strain, raise stress levels, increase blood pressure, among other responses.
Natural light in the workplace leads to a better quality of life, so open the blinds whenever you can and turn off the lights. Better for your electricity bill, better for the environment and better for your health, all in one.
3) Focus On Wellness
Sitting down at a desk all day every day can have grave consequences on your physical well-being. Years and years of staying seated for hours at a time can be detrimental to your physical health (and your level of fitness) in the future.
In fact, the main cause for loss of working days are musculoskeletal conditions such as back and neck pain.
It’s all about minimising strain. Whether you are looking at a screen, writing, talking on the phone or doing whatever else, you want your posture to feel as natural and relaxed as possible.
This means keeping your wrists neutral when typing or using your mouse (in other words, don’t keep your keyboard at a slant), elongating your spine so you aren’t hunched over your desk and positioning your devices at the proper height and angle.
And for those who aren’t fortunate enough to have a sit-stand workstation, make sure you stand up and move around enough. Go make a cup of tea in the kitchen. Get up and stretch. Rest your eyes by looking away from your screen for 20 seconds. Move!
4) Control your break time
The enemy of the office worker: post-lunch inertia. That 2-3 PM slump right after lunch where you are full and sleepy, where you suddenly find yourself Googling ‘things to do this weekend’ despite the fact that it’s Tuesday.
It can be all too easy to tell yourself that you need to ease slowly back into your workflow, but before you know it, there’s only an hour left of work and you still have all your afternoon tasks to finish.
While it’s beneficial to take frequent breaks throughout the day, it’s important that they remain brief, so they don’t double your workload.
One way to structure your breaks is by using a program like StayFocusd. This productivity extension for Google Chrome helps you stay focused on work by limiting the amount of time you spend browsing on ‘procrastination sites’ like Facebook, Twitter, Buzzfeed, Mashable, The Daily Mail….(the list goes on).
You might also want to make sure that you’re not being tempted by these daily habits that could be killing your productivity.
5) Establish A Good Relationship With Colleagues
One of the best ways to cultivate and maintain an emotionally healthy work environment is to bond with your colleagues.
Sure, there is bound to be that one person who you don’t see eye to eye with, but the more you connect with your colleagues, the more positive you’ll feel about work and life in general. So make sure you take the time to have fun and avoid these top ten company culture killers.
Surprise them by bringing in cookies or snacks, organise a picnic lunch when the weather’s warm and send around thought-provoking, relevant or funny articles to boost morale.
Are You Using Lifehacks For Work?
How are you making life easier at work? Do you have any tips or lifehacks for work that you think would be beneficial to members of the HR community? Let us know @Officevibe and we’ll post the tips on our Twitter account.
If you’re looking for the ultimate “hack” to improve employee engagement, look through some of the resources throughout Officevibe, or check out GoToMeeting’s blog.