Find yourself sitting at your desk but can’t get your head around the urgent work you need to do? The deadline is looming, but you just can’t seem to focus!
...Or is that just me?
This is a productivity issue, and is usually because of either what is going on with you personally, or the environment you are in.
Aside from looking after your personal health to avoid burnout (let’s tick off good sleep, down time, a decent diet and regular exercise), the environment of a workplace can have a big effect on productivity, especially for those in the creative industry. Being in an inspiring atmosphere that suits you can get your brain juices flowing.
So what can you do to make your workspace a place of high productivity?
Getting the Basics Right
Lighting and Temperature
Lighting in your office is central to your productivity yet often overlooked in a work setting. Unless you’re a vampire, try to get as much natural light into the room as you can, as well as fresh air if possible. Artificial light can often lead to eye strain so workspaces with big windows are a plus.
The temperature of the room you’re in is also a major factor. Get your Goldilocks hat on - is it too hot? Is it too cold? How can you can get it just right so productivity doesn’t dip?
The ideal temperature depends on the individual, their age and gender especially, but it’s generally accepted that it should be between in 21°C and 24°C. A steady temp through the day is great for anyone who’s pro environmental efficiency. And in a shared space, you can always use a desk fan or extra layers if you find the temperature slightly off the mark.
The relationship between music and productivity is a complex one.
Music can generally make work more enjoyable, particularly when tasks are repetitive or administrative. However, the type of music that works depends on the work itself and influenced by personal preference.
A couple of tips:
- Creative sessions are best paired with ambient noise - think beach waves.
- Lyrics can be distracting so they’re a no go zone for writing tasks.
- Listening to music that you’re familiar with is often good for focus, as you’re less inclined to pay attention.
- Classical, electronic and even video-game music seem to be the go-to for highly immersive tasks.
An uncluttered desk is an uncluttered mind, and for a lot of people, a good way to improve productivity in the workplace is to ensure that the room is tidy, uncluttered and organised.
Once you’ve got a clean space to work in, think about adding a piece of artwork, a plant or decorative item to give it a bit of life and inspiration.
Anyone who is sat in the same position for a long time can find themselves suffering from pains if their workstation isn’t set up properly. There’s also the risk of repetitive strain injury.
Experts now recommend that people working on computers should sit with their back slightly reclined – at about 110° instead of bolt upright. Laptop users might also want to consider using accessories such as a separate mouse, laptop stand or exterior monitor.
Working In Collaborative Environments
A factor which can impact on workplace productivity is whether you are working in an environment where interaction and collaboration are necessities. How can you work with others in a way that’s productive for you and not disruptive for others, or vice versa?
The 80/20 rule can work well here, with planning out ideal times for brainstorming, strategy meetings and any work that requires collaboration. It’s much easier to then plan your own time without the worry of constant interruption.
Use of messaging apps like Slack - something we use a fair bit at Little Tokyo Two workspaces - can also help quickly send a message to someone, who can then reply when it suits them.
In the end, productivity for you is directly related to the environment you’re in - both physically and socially. Rather than assuming a one size fits all approach, it’s really about being aware of the variables, start with what’s working for you, tweak what’s not and build from there.