- If you work in an office, you probably spend the vast majority of your time at a desk. And the way your desk is set up will play a big role in determining how you feel while you’re at work and how productive you are.
In fact, research suggests effective workplace design may improve job satisfaction and productivity. On the flip side, an unpleasant or disorganized workspace can clutter your mind and impair work performance.
That means it’s worth your while to put some thought, time, and effort into crafting a work space that’s geared toward your success. To that end, here are some smart tips to develop the most productive desk setup.
- Set up near a window.
- Consider a standing desk setup.
- Invest in an ergonomic chair.
- Use a keyboard and mouse for enhanced ergonomics.
- Keep a plant(s) nearby.
- Accessorize strategically for a more organized work flow.
Let’s take a closer look at the reasoning behind each of these tips.
Set up near a window
A huge body of research has found that natural light encourages alertness, decreases stress, improves mood, and increases productivity. Additionally, gazing out the window every 20 minutes or so is a great way to give your eyes a break from staring at a computer screen.
Don’t have access to a window? You can keep your workspace bright with artificial lighting, and invest in light bulbs that mimic natural light. If possible, opt for floor lamps rather than overhead lighting, since you can modify lamps’ positions to reduce glare on your computer screen. Glare can contribute to eye strain and make it harder to stay focused, so customizable lamps are a smart choice.
Consider a standing desk setup
You’ve probably heard some of the many benefits of standing desks. For starters, they help combat the negative effects of sitting all day, which include increased blood pressure and blood sugar, poor cholesterol levels, and an increased risk of cardiovascular disease. Additionally, there’s some evidence that standing desks may improve productivity.
Don’t feel like investing in a standalone standing desk? You can easily convert your existing desk into a standing one with a standing desk converter or a sit-stand desk (which is a great option because it’s not ideal to stand on your feet all day).
Invest in an ergonomic
If you choose not to opt for a standing desk or if you decide to go with a combination of sitting and standing at work, it’s important to invest in a high-quality chair. If you want to sustain your productivity throughout the workday, then an ergonomic chair is the way to go. Ergonomic chairs reduce physical discomfort, which could detract from your ability to stay focused.
The right chair for you should be customizable so you can adjust it to your body and desk. To set yourself up correctly, aim for the following.
- Your thighs should be parallel to the floor and your knees should rest at approximately 90 degrees with your feet flat on the floor.
- Your elbows should rest on the desktop at a 90-degree angle (this reduces wrist and arm strain.)
- The chair should include lumbar support to encourage proper posture.
- When you’re sitting in the chair, the top of your laptop or computer monitor should be even with your eyes.
Use a keyboard and mouse for enhanced ergonomics
Whether you work on a desktop computer, a laptop, or a tablet, it’s a good idea to invest in an external keyboard and mouse. These help improve the ergonomics of your workstation by reducing strain on the wrists and arms. As noted above, ergonomics are important for productivity: If you’re uncomfortable you may struggle to stay focused.
Keep a plant(s) nearby
While it’s generally a good idea to keep your desktop clutter-free, you may want to make an exception for some greenery. Research suggests the mere presence of living plants can increase your work performance in several ways. They help purify the air in your office (which can reduce the chances of you getting sick and having to be absent from work), and they may help sustain focus and alertness, improve mood, reduce stress, and increase productivity. If you don’t have a green thumb, consider investing in succulents, which are very low-maintenance.
Accessorize strategically for a more organized workflow
As noted above, minimizing clutter on your desk is a proven tactic for boosting productivity. But this can also be taken too far. You don’t want to be so stringent about having a clear desktop that the supplies you need on a regular basis are always far out of reach.
As with so many aspects of life, balance is key. Choose a few essential accessories for your desktop to preserve organization while streamlining your workflow. Think about these points.
- Consider investing in a desktop organizer to corral papers, pens, and other office supplies you need to access on a daily or near-daily basis.
- Remove any items you don’t need to access throughout the day. This helps cut down on clutter, which can enhance focus. Consider stashing these items in storage drawers so they’re accessible but out of sight.
By developing an ergonomic work station, embracing natural light and greenery, and organizing effectively, you’ll craft a pleasant work space that is all but guaranteed to make you a rock star at work.