Our work environment has a major effect on our mental, emotional and physical well-being. The better our work environment, the better we will perform.
As we spend close to a third of our lives working, it’s important to design our work environment so it can support us to be at our best consistently. If our work environment is set up the way we want it to be, it can greatly enhance our effectiveness and assist us in achieving what we want faster, easier and with less effort.
If our work environment is not the way we’d like it to be, it can cause us to:
- Feel agitated or frustrated when working.
- Generate unproductive thoughts.
- Use up valuable mental energy focusing on what we don’t like about our work space.
- Take longer to get things done.
- Appear to be untidy or messy to our team members or work colleagues.
Setting up our work environment to enhance our personal effectiveness does not have to be difficult or time consuming.
There are simple things we can do to create our work environment to reflect who we are and how we can get our best work done. Sometimes setting up our work environment they way we prefer may not just involve physical things. It can also involve people we work or interact with daily.
10 Things You Can Do to Create a Better Work Environment
- Declare your work space to be for work only. Our work space should not be for casual chats, entertainment such as watching movies or TV shows, or a space where we have meals. We want to anchor our work space to do work only.
- Have the right equipment. Sometimes not having a desk or chair suitable for us can cause us to slouch or have bad posture. That affects the way we work and will also drain our energy faster as we are not optimising our physical capabilities.
- Improve the lighting. Natural lighting is the best especially if we’re able to gaze outside and take our focus away from our screens for short periods of time. The better the lighting, the better frame of mind we’ll be in, which means there’s a greater probability of us doing better quality work.
- Eliminate unnecessary items. These may include piles of documents, post-it notes, pens, highlighters, wires or cables, drink bottles, cans or food. Whatever isn’t required for the task we are doing should be removed.
- Work on one thing at a time. This can be challenging as we’ve bought into the idea of multitasking. We should always focus on one thing at a time and only have resources relevant to that thing on our work desk. Once we’ve completed that thing, we should remove what’s not required for the next thing we will be working on.
- Add things that stimulate your senses in a positive way. As we’re exposed to external stimuli all the time, we can be intentional about what we want around us by adding pictures, aroma or sounds that inspire or motivate us to do our best work.
- Have what you need within close proximity, where practical. This may include having folders, stationary, documents or equipment such as our printers or scanners close to our work space. This eliminates the need for unnecessary movement and also reduces time spent looking for things.
- Make yourself get up at least once every hour. Our bodies need to be engaged regularly throughout the day. If we are sitting down for long periods of time, our focus or concentration levels will wane and our quality of work will be affected. We can set reminders on our phones to get up every forty-five or fifty minutes and drink water. That way, we’re also staying hydrated and also giving our eyes a break from looking at screens all the time.
- Celebrate when you’ve had a win or completed something. Rather than going from one thing on our To-Do list to the next, when we complete something, we should acknowledge ourselves and celebrate. It could by saying something positive out loud, taking a longer break or just relaxing and enjoying the moment. The more we celebrate, the more we condition our brains to create more of those experiences.
- Do a review of your work space weekly. At the end of every week, we should get into the habit of assessing our work space and removing things like documents, folders or other unnecessary items that may have crept in during the week.
Creating a better work environment isn’t hard. A few simple things done daily, compounded over time, will make a big difference to our work life and make it more enjoyable. We no longer have excuses for not having our work space the way we want it to be.
Action Step: Start by doing a review of your workspace. Determine what you can eliminate, enhance or improve and design your workspace the way you want.
Question: What is something else we can do to create a better work environment?