How to improve your work environment to boost productivity

How to improve your work environment to boost productivity

Getting more productivity out of time spent is a major concern for most business people. In the effort to save time and maximize productivity, one may sometimes see certain individuals cutting corners. They may be comfortable with the calculated risks they are taking, but if you aren’t—and you’re frustrated at your level of productivity—consider making changes to your work environment. Here are some ideas.

  1. Organization

    The most successful and productive people in business are often the most organized and goal-oriented. Filing cabinets, desk top calendars, planners, and post-it notes are their friends.

    Having organizational trays and a filing system can seem daunting to people who aren’t experienced at staying organized, but it can be essential to the successful flow of business. In fact, some businesses have their employees take special training on specific task prioritization systems; that is, how one goes about organizing one’s tasks and goals in a way that makes sense and will get them accomplished.

    filing cabinets

    People who plan for success—and then act on those plans—will usually have an edge over those who don’t. That’s not to say that they won’t fly by the seat of their pants should the occasion call for it, but rest assured, they’ve done their left-brained homework ahead of time and have a very clear idea of their priorities and what they need to accomplish in order to move forward at a steady pace.

  2. Convenience

    Frequently used items should be within easy reach of your work space. Using either shelving over your desk or next to your desk, easy access to reference materials and office supplies makes for a much smoother work flow.

    Every time you have to interrupt your thought process, you lose at least a portion of your focus, meaning you have to reacquire that focus—and that takes time. Time lost equals productivity lost. The old adage that “time is money” couldn’t be more practically expressed than in this purposeless loss of time while hunting (yet again) for that one manual.

    The less time you spend in transit, the more you’ll be able to stay on task—an especially important point if you are trying to be mindful and in your approach toward work productivity. Think of it as the office version of feng shui: improve the flow of the environment and productivity rises.

  3. Comfort

    You might be thinking comfort is overrated, or that it can’t really be that important to your productivity. You’d be wrong.

    Something as seemingly insignificant as an uncomfortable office chair can cause anxiety, which in turn drops dopamine and serotonin levels, which in turn causes malaise, depression, and that feeling that the workload may be too difficult to deal with right now. You may discover you’ve blown an entire afternoon as your productivity stalled out.

    woman at the office with a sore back

    Whatever “it” is, if it’s enough to annoy you, it’s enough to be a constant source of background distraction. It’s not too hard to realize that having a distraction-free work space will increase one’s productivity, and there are a lot of options created with comfort in mind.

    Not only are there new ergonomically designed office chairs, there are office accessories available that can help remove one or more discomforting distractions from your ongoing work process. Perhaps you would be more comfortable standing. Perhaps your lower back suffers from years’ worth of long hours in poor office chairs. Perhaps you go home sore every day because what you really need is an engineer’s drafting table.

    While having too much comfort can be just as detrimental to productivity, having too little carries the serious and likely potential of interrupting your work flow. Unless one has an irrepressible drive to succeed, jeopardizing productivity by relegating creature comforts to the level of “unimportant” is simply not smart. Make yourself more comfortable in your physical environment, and your output will stay strong, or even improve.

Still now sure how to conquer that to-do list? Subscribe to Cafe Quill for more tips of how to increase productivity at work.