Your workspace matters whether you’ve returned to the office or are still working from home. From adding greenery to changing your desk chair, consider making upgrades to increase your comfort and productivity.
Here are seven quick and easy ways to improve your office environment so you feel more positive at work and get more done:
1. Increase natural light
Exposure to light has many benefits, such as reducing headaches, eyestrains, drowsiness and seasonal depression. If you’re working from your home or apartment, try ditching the drapes and letting the sun in while you work. Mirrors can also help to bounce light around in a darker room. If you’re in the office, move to a spot by the window or take a break to get outside in the natural light.
2. Add plants
Plants not only enhance the look of your office space but also help increase productivity and alleviate stress. From a low-maintenance cactus to a leafy fern, a plant is a simple way to brighten your desk and boost your mood. Plus, they improve air quality! (Note: Before bringing outside plants into an employer’s office, it’s a good idea to check with the facilities manager first.)
3. Tone down outside noise
From the buzz of traffic to chatty coworkers, the office can be a noisy place! Noise can be stressful and distracting, which can decrease productivity. If your office has a quiet corner or room, take advantage of it to focus. Consider investing in a pair of soundproof headphones. If you’re working from home, try insulating your doors and windows to reduce noise.
Check out this post for more tips on boosting productivity, no matter where you are working from.
4. Opt for calming colors
Did you know that certain colors can impact your productivity, creativity and mood? Neutral colors like white, grey and beige can minimize distractions, while soft shades of blue and green are calming and relaxing. Yellow has been shown to boost happiness. Up your color palette at home or in the office with a new rug or pillow. If you’re more ambitious, consider a fresh coat of paint for your home office.
5. Invest in your furniture
If you spend all day on a computer, having comfortable, ergonomic furniture is an integral part of a productive work environment. Your office furniture may cause back pain and eye strain, and it might be time to upgrade your desk to something more adaptable. Many also opt for a standing desk for part of the day to increase movement.
Working from home? See this post for insight on how to be successful at remote work.
6. Make decluttering a priority
Develop a routine to keep your desk clean. For example, I like to sort and recycle my notes throughout the week every Friday. Consider investing in desk organizers to keep things neat. If you’re working from home, maintain a healthy work-life balance by putting your laptop away at the end of the day before transitioning to other activities. Also, extend decluttering to your online desktop by deleting and organizing your files.
7. Improve your air quality
Good air quality is vital for your comfort and health, especially if you’re in a stuffy, dusty office. Ensure that your ventilation, air conditioning and heating systems are properly maintained, and watch out for dampness and moisture due to high humidity or floods. Also, keeping your work surfaces clean helps to prevent dust from getting in the air. Consider an air purifier if you have pets at home.
These are just some ways to upgrade your workspace, whether working at home or in the office. Take a step back to re-evaluate your work environment to make yourself more comfortable and focused so you can increase your productivity.
Charlie Keohane is a junior at Middlebury College majoring in environmental writing and a 2022 summer intern for Robert Half’s corporate communications team. She is from the East Bay region of the San Francisco Bay Area.