Guide to Optimizing Your Work Environment

Work Environment

Optimizing your work environment is one of the best ways to improve your productivity at work. As an employee, you may not have complete control over how your workspace is organized. However, you may find out that you have more control than you realized to make your workplace more productive, particularly when it comes to your own work space.

Organize Your Space

One of the biggest environmental factors that is directly tied to your productivity at work is organization. Without a system to organize your tools, documents, references, and/or files, you simply cannot make the most of your time at work.

Clutter in our physical space creates a cluttered mind. You may be surprised to learn that when your workspace is well organized, you are able to better focus on tasks and get more done during a typical workday.

Another place to think about organization in an office work environment is your computer. Make sure your files are well organized into meaningful folders. This includes folders housed on your computer, your email, or even cloud storage space.

When you are well organized you waste very little time looking for items that you need in order to complete tasks. And, you are much less likely to get distracted on a hunting tangent which saves more focus for the task at hand.

Keep Your Area Clean

Cleanliness isn’t just about keeping things neat, although that is a major benefit. It is also about workplace safety and health.

Clutter can create serious safety hazards in workplace environments. For example, cords left laying around on a job site can cause trip hazards. Keeping common and personal workspaces free of clutter is safer for you and your coworkers.

Dirty spaces accumulate germs, dust, and even mold which can lead to sickness in the workplace. And, your health has a direct impact on your productivity.

Check Lighting and Temperature

Both lighting and temperature are critical to making sure you are able to give your best at work. As an employee you may feel like you have little control over these factors. However, you may be surprised to find out that your supervisor would be happy to help you optimize these features to boost your productivity.

Solutions for controlling the temperature of your workspace may be as simple as a fan or a space heater. Lighting issues may be solved with a portable desk lamp or opening the blinds on a nearby window.

When it comes to making the most of your workplace environment, don’t overlook lighting and temperature.

Look Into Ergonomic Adjustments

Ergonomics is the study of workplace productivity, but it also refers to making sure the tools we regularly use in the workplace are safe and prevent injury even as we do repetitive tasks.

Some employers invest a great deal of money to get expert advice on how to optimize workplace ergonomics. However, not all companies have the budget for a comprehensive ergonomic plan. If this is the case in your workplace, you may still have some options to improve your comfort at work and thus boost your productivity and/or reduce injury.

For example, someone working in an office environment may find that a better chair, a standing desk, or a monitor filter screen can solve everyday problems with poor posture or eye strain. Warehouse employees may find that placing larger items on lower shelves is a safer way to organize stock.

Regardless of your particular work environment, paying attention to how repetitive tasks could be shifted to reduce injury or discomfort can help you change your work environment to a more productive one. If you are able to identify and articulate both the problem and the solution to your supervisor, then you will have better luck making improvements to your workplace ergonomics.

Identify Distractions

When you find yourself distracted at work, pay attention to what is drawing your attention. Many distractions can be minimized with simple changes to the workspace, allowing you to be more productive at work.

Noise is an often overlooked aspect of the workplace. And, some people even work better in noisy environments. However, most of us benefit when we have a quiet place to work. If you find that noise is a constant distraction, talk to your supervisor to identify a solution.

Another key distraction in the modern workplace are cell phones. Buzzing at all times of the day with often meaningless notifications, our phones can keep us from focusing on the task at hand. Be sure to practice good phone hygiene at work by keeping notifications to a minimum, silencing your phone when you have to focus on a difficult task, or even leaving your personal phone off during the work day.

Personalize Your Workspace

Allowing some of your personality to show in your work environment can have benefits for both mood and motivation. If your space feels drab and generic, consider boosting the mood with some personal items, color, and artwork.

Take advantage of your ability to personalize your workspace. Many people appreciate having pictures of family, for example, to help remind us of the best things in life while we are at work. However, personalizing can often go beyond photos.

Color has been shown to affect our mood. If you are someone who feels uplifted by brighter colors, you may be able to get some color into your space by painting the walls or hanging some artwork in your space. Brightly colored Post-it notes are another option for some color pop at work.

Other people may be particularly inspired by positive affirmations posted prominently in their workspace. Some find that using handmade items, such as a pencil caddy made by their child, keeps them motivated at work.

Be sure that personal items don’t create a cluttered feel to your space, however. It is important to balance personal style with organization and neatness for the best results when optimizing your work environment.

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