How Your Work Area Impacts Your Productivity

How Your Work Area Impacts Your Productivity

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For many people, having a cluttered desk has become a norm in the workplace. It’s easy to get caught up in forgetting to clear away papers, pens, or other items that are utilised in your day to day work. However, this can be detrimental to working proficiently, as clutter has been shown to have a profound effect on our mood and self-esteem. Having a tidy workspace is important, and if you’ve been feeling more stressed or anxious at work recently, your messy desk may be contributing to that. Here are some ways you can manage a messy workspace and enhance your work well-being.


Remove + Reorganise

The first thing you need to do in your office space is to take a look at your area. According to research published by the University of Chicago Press, evidence has shown that a messy workspace can be a self-defeating environment. This means that the less organised our surroundings, the more likely we are to produce subpar work by taking an easier route or giving up on a task altogether. The more clutter that’s around you, the harder your brain has to work to focus on one task. Eliminating this as much as possible is a key step towards success in your workflow. 

If you have a lot of papers haphazardly placed around your area, consolidate them into an orderly desktop storage organiser. Organising your important documents into a space in or on your desk where you can easily access them is critical, and will help save time when you need to pull them. Put all pens, post-it notes, and small items away and out of sight. Once you remove all unnecessary elements from your work table, you’ll be able to get into a productive workstream. 


Create a Schedule

During a work day, there are usually several duties that need to be checked on, completed, or worked through. Sometimes we can get sucked into a task that takes more time than anticipated, leading other priorities to be pushed back or unfinished come the end of the day. It’s easy to think that we’ll know and stay on top of what we need to do, but as memories tend to be triggered by physical cues, it can be harder to retain something unless it’s documented to remind us. A physical calendar or notebook planner on hand at your desk will bridge the gap between remembering things to do and having it written down.

Having a planner that you can track out what you need to do for the day or week can help create a more productive schedule. Planners help prioritise important tasks, as well as schedule out things ahead of time to give a sense of what needs to be done when. Having a calendar like this aids in taking away distractions and focus your energy on one thing at a time, instead of thinking about the magnitude of everything you need to do in a certain period. A daily planner is also good to have for recording your job duties, as well as accountability in making sure an item is completed for the day. 


Desk Plants

Implementing greenery into a home or office has been linked to many different health benefits. Biophilic design is a concept used to design a space that incorporates natural materials, natural light, vegetation, nature views and other experiences of the natural world into the modern built environment. For office spaces, bringing in plants can be extremely beneficial to employees as the implementation of nature in an office can help relax individuals and create a sense of comfort. A 2015 study from the Journal of Physiological Anthropology found significant reductions in stress among workers when plants were introduced into their workspace. Indoor plants are also natural air filters, purifying toxins from the air as well as reducing carbon dioxide levels within buildings.

According to research from the University of Exeter, adding just one plant per square meter improved memory retention and productivity by 15%. Some plants that are recommended to keep in an office area are Lemon Balm, Snake Plant, and Succulents. Especially because these are plants that don’t require a lot of care, you’ll be able to let them enhance your space without the maintenance! Another added benefit of plants in the office is that they’re natural noise retainers- meaning you won’t hear as much background noise if you have a few nearby and will be able to further focus on your work output. 

An orderly work area is important. Because this is a space where you’re supposed to be proficient in your job and doing your best, making sure your desk is optimised can lead toward more success. Productivity is one of the biggest goals of any job to keep a constant flow on, with a positive atmosphere this can help be retained. 


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