The UK workforce is one of the world’s hardest working, according to a recently published list, and even tops the list amongst its European counterparts. More often than not, you’re working well above the 9-5 hour work day, likely spending more time working than sleeping.
Being able to make the most of your available workspace and having it serve you in the most efficient way possible should be one of your top goals, if you want to increase your productivity and reduce stress.
Having trolled the internet to find valuable advice to help you do this, we’ve compiled a short guide with tips and ideas on how you can maximise the available space for work and achieve a sense of ‘openness’.
A cluttered desk….
The old maxim holds very true. If your desk is cluttered and unorganised, it’s difficult for your mind not to be. One of the principles of hardware or interface design is that each piece of information presented to a user at the same time will compete for attention, which in turn means that the amount of attention each piece of information actually gets is smaller. To put this in a non geeky way, this simply means that the more items you have on your desk, the longer it will take your brain to efficiently jump from one important item to another when you need it. Moreover, by limiting the amount of distractions, you can focus better on the important task at hand.
Start with the basics – keep your desk and immediate work space as clutter free as possible. Designate a place for everything and make a habit of storing items in their designated places each time once you’ve finished using them. If you’re using a laptop, close the screen once you’re done for the day.
If you’re used to operating in this way, this may sound unnecessary or unwieldy now, but once you’ve tried it out for a few days, you’ll begin to see the benefits.
Remember – out of sight, out of mind – which in this case, can be very useful.
The whole office is your playground
One of the most important books in office design is Innovations in Office Design, a must-read for architects, designers and just about anyone interested in office design. In it, the author suggests that by thinking about your entire office area as a possible workspace, you can significantly increase your productivity and output, in much the same way that an improved performance comes after a change of place. For example, rather than always making calls or taking lunch from the comfort of your chair, consider doing so near the window or elsewhere, as long as you’re not causing disruption to someone else. You can apply the same principle in reverse; so if you’re used to taking your lunch within the break room, consider doing so somewhere else. The reasoning behind this is that any change, no matter how little, creates new connections in your brain and activates thinking akin to pushing a reset or refresh button; which in turn can help you think smarter and bring about an increase in productivity.