It’s about time we give more importance to the place where nearly all of us spend most of our lives (hollering at you, you lucky part-timer star). Luckily, we’re already living in the future, and there are tons of research that will help you build the perfect, personalized workspace that will boost your productivity.
1. First, Your Desk, The Core Of a Productive Workspace
You guys know the never-dying standing table or not standing table controversy, right?
Team standing desks praise that their desks will make people increase productivity and less exposed to develop debilitating health problems.
Team sitting desks wants you to believe that standing desks will make you hate working (as if they need to, ha!) and still cause you debilitating health problems.
But as stated above, we have science to back us up. And according to science itself, your health couldn’t care less about either you work sitting or standing, rather than how muck energy you spend during a typical day. That said, I’m sure we all agree that the best desks are the marvelous “sit-stand desks.” Voila.
Stand up when you are running out of time and need to focus. Standing up generates a sense of urgency that will help you to finish an assignment fast.
Sit down for when you’re doing something less mechanical and more creative, like writing, designing and creating.
Therefore, the ideal is to do a bit of everything. As the ancient Greeks would say, “Παν μέτρον άριστον”, or Pan Metron Ariston: Everything in Moderation. And don’t forget your daily dose of exercise as well. We all know it does you good.
As the ancient Greeks would say, “Παν μέτρον άριστον”, or Pan Metron Ariston: Everything in Moderation.
Also, you according to research, you should definitely take breaks once in a while: the brain needs them. Now, if you’re anything like me and can’t establish a proper work/break schedule, try the Pomodoro timer app.
Make sure the rest of your setup is ergonomically right. Your monitor should be high enough to keep your neck straight, your keyboard position for 90-degree elbows, and your desk height for feet flat on the floor.
Here are the top market picks for sit-stand desks, according to these reviewers and also these reviewers:
The budget version: Ikea’s BEKANT in birch veneer and white, for $479.
The topper: Jarvis Bamboo Adjustable Standing Desk for $535.
The runner-up: The UPLIFT Height Adjustable Bamboo Desk for $559.
2. Is Clutter The New Black?
Now, that might sound outrageous. But messy desks are having a huge comeback. Aham. As much as an organization and minimalist enthusiast I might have become, I kind of miss my black-hole desk from the good ol’times. I once was a Fashion Designer and Colorist and had color palette folders and samples of fabric, buttons, and tags layering on top of each other and I LOVED them.
“If a cluttered desk is a sign of a cluttered mind, of what, then, is an empty desk a sign?” – Albert Einstein
Fast-forward 15 years, and here comes (what else?) science to explain it all. According to this experiment, having a tidy desk with help you to focus, to eat healthily, to produce more, and everything else you already know. “But, the research also shows that a messy desk may confer its own benefits, promoting creative thinking and stimulating new ideas.” To be honest, that is not the first time I read that super minimal and organized places drive people nuts. Oh well.
The same idea discussed on the desk topic is applied here: the secret is to adjust your workspace to your personality and professional needs. And off course, your current lifestyle. I couldn’t work on a cluttered desk to save my life nowadays.
The secret is to adjust your workspace to your personality and professional needs. And off course, your current lifestyle.
3. Curate The Perfect Color Palette That Will Help You Achieve Your Goals
All colors can boost productivity. It all depends on what kind of stimulation each of one needs. A study by The University of Texas found that neutral colors embellishing workplaces made people depressed. Again, neutral colors might work for you. It certainly does it for me. Except of beige, of course. Beige is to colors what Comic Sans is to Fonts.
If you feel like shaking things a bit, though, here is what the study says:
Red accelerates the heart rate, giving you a jolt of energy. Your eye is instantly drawn to red, and it promotes physical activity and emotion.
Orange is a social color, encouraging interaction. It works well in meeting rooms or other social spaces, though it might not be the most productivity-inducing shade.
Yellow stimulates creativity and optimism. If you’re a designer or creative professional, this could be your workspace accent color.
Green behaves almost as a neutral for the human brain. It is calming and also causes zero eye strain over long periods of time.
Blue is the most universally productive color. Calming and stable, it helps most people focus on intensive tasks.
Purple stimulates problem-solving, despite not being a very popular color in workspace decor.
Rainbows make us happy, creative, energetic, productive unicorns. (Okay, fine, that last one is not backed up by science.)
Beige is to colors what Comic Sans is to Fonts.
4. Light For The People!
There isn’t a proper substitute for natural light. I can affirm that with conviction after my second year here in gray Berlin. Nevertheless, other alternatives will keep your energy levels high during the afternoon/night, or even if you live in Alaska. Ok, then maybe not.
It’s known that fluorescent lights will suck out your energy, but LED lamps are the closest it gets from natural light. You can have a lamp lighting your desk, like this Eyestrain Reducing Computer Lamp that helps combat eyestrain caused by the extended viewing of a computer monitor.
Although you’re way better working by a window, a LED lamp turned on in the morning and switched off in the afternoon can mimic natural light patterns for maximum productivity and mood boost.
5. Finally, If You Are To Change Just One Thing in Your Workspace, Buy a Plant
Research has repeatedly shown that the presence of office plants has a range of benefits including helping workers recover from demanding activities and lowering stress levels. As a bonus, there’s also evidence that plants can reduce office pollution levels.
“Dr. Chris Knight from Exeter University and his fellow psychologists, who have been studying the issue for ten years, concluded that employees were 15% more productive when “lean” workplaces are filled with just a few houseplants, as employees who actively engage with their surroundings are better workers.” As stated in this article by The Guardian: plants in offices increase happiness and productivity.
And Why The Heck Do We Keep Talking About Productivity?
Productivity can be defined as achievement related to time. It’s a simple metric designed to standardize worker contributions as a management tool. Quite corporative, eh?
But productivity can also be a personal empowerment tool for people looking to shed the idea of the Monday to Friday workweek as a measure of value. Instead, if you seek ways to do your best work as efficiently as you can, measuring productivity can leave you more time to do other things that matter. Or to create something awesome in only one lifetime. How’bout that?
Productivity can also be a personal empowerment tool for people looking to shed the idea of the Monday to Friday workweek as a measure of value. Instead, if you seek ways to do your best work as efficiently as you can, measuring productivity can leave you more time to do other things that matter.
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