The working environment has changed beyond all recognition in the last two decades. Long gone are the days when ?another day at the office? meant being stationary at a desk cubicle from 9-5.
But even if that is still the case for you and your current job, there are steps you can take to improve your surroundings and ensure you feel inspired and motivated by your office or working space.
We?re going to look at four small but simple ways to get the most out of your working environment; we hope these will help to improve your productivity and boost your morale levels.
1. Ensure there?s some background noise
Research from an Australian university points to the benefits of stochastic resonance. This is commonly known as background noise; the hum of people?s conversations, the clatter of colleagues typing on keyboards, or even the radio being on.
This noise, small enough to notice, but not to distract, is said to help improve people?s perception and mood. It certainly explains why you often see people working on their laptop or notebook in coffee shops.
Of course, there are certain industries and roles where you have to keep noise levels at a minimum; and others where it?s impossible to make yourself heard. Be conscious that this could damage your hearing in the long term. If this is true for your working environment, consult with your line manager about some practical solutions; noise cancelling headsets or ear defenders can work well.
Alongside this, some people enjoy listening to music or even a podcast when working their way through certain tasks. If your employer allows you to do this, make sure you go for nice, upbeat and light listening; it can also help to lift your spirits.
2. Make sure you?re comfy (but take breaks when necessary)
As human beings, it?s important to understand our limits. That way, we know how best to respond to them and ensure our level of comfort in our work environment.
The first step is to ensure you?re comfy in your working environment. Your chair should give good back support and you might want to consider a wrist rest for your keyboard and mouse mat.
At the same time, it?s important to note that we can?t stay absolutely focussed in one place for hours on end. Furthermore, studies from Queen?s University show that being stationary for too long in the day increases the chance of health risks; that includes heart disease, cancer and Type 2 diabetes.
For this reason, you should also try to take comfort breaks; even if that?s looking away from your screen every 10 minutes or so. If you take most of your work calls on a mobile, use this as an opportunity to walk whilst doing so; even if it?s just round your breakout area.
3. Offer flexible solutions
A common denominator for companies with the best working environments is flexible work time. Studies say that each person has a different cycle of activity. This means that not everyone will have the same?peak of concentration and productivity?at the same time of day. Offer flexible schedules so that everyone is at their best in the office. If you add the opportunity to work from home a few days in the week, you?ll see how your employees? attitudes towards work change.
4. Organize routine activities
Another thing that really affects the work environment is the daily routines. You can organize simple things like ping pong tournaments and small outings after work to improve team bonding. You can also promote environmental and social responsibility focused projects to bring everyone together. Let employees pick a cause and manage a project themselves. Have everyone on the same level and working together.
Summary of achieving optimum working environment
- Ensure there?s some background noise
- Make sure you?re comfy (but take breaks when necessary)
- Offer flexible solutions
- Organize routine activities