Everyone must work. This is the most basic fact of life. If you don’t need to work, then you must be standing on shoulders of giants. Besides, if you didn’t need to work, you wouldn’t really be reading this post. Working, whatever form it may take, leads to the sense of achievement, which leads to the sense of self-worth. However, these feelings only come when you excel in what you’re doing.
This means being productive and effective. A lot goes into being productive. You have to be motivated, you have to have a need or desire for something, and you have to have the right training. Most importantly, though, you need the right surroundings. In an earlier post, we spoke about various ways through which you can boost your productivity. While suggestions in that post will be of considerable help to you, sooner or later, you’ll have to do something about your workstation also.
Your workstation will be at the centre of all your work and efforts to work better. This is why making your workstation conducive to productivity should be one of your priorities. Here are a few of our workstation tips to help you along.
Workstation Tips #1: Choose Between the Military and the Hippies
Have you ever seen a corporate professional and a painter arguing? It’s a strange pair and you can imagine how their personalities will clash. Like their personalities, though, their work styles will also clash. This is why you see so many arguments in offices between managerial professionals and technical or artistic professionals. Their way of working is different. Even studies conducted on productivity or what makes someone productive are divided into these two distinct groups.
In order to make your workstation productive, you’ll have to choose between two methodologies. We’re calling them the military and the hippy. The military type of work will involve detail-oriented work while the hippy type of work will require creativity. Research shows that detail-oriented work efficiency is boosted with organisation while creative work benefits from chaos.
In simple terms, if your work involves creativity you can probably benefit from a slightly unorganised workstation but if your work is detail oriented, then you’ll need your workstation to be meticulous and organised.
Workstation Tips #2: Do Something about the Lighting
Once you’ve decided whether you want your workstation to be creative or organised, you can go about making it conducive to high levels of productivity. Lighting should be one of the first things you should look at.
You can either have the workstation well-lit or dark. A well-lit workstation is beneficial in reducing stress levels and preventing fatigue. A low-lit workstation, however, is good for creative work and individuals.
Ideally, though, you should try to have both options available to you with emphasis on natural lighting. Ensuring that your workstation is naturally well-lit is the best option in the mornings because brightness helps shake off the cobwebs of sleep.
Natural light is preferable because studies reveal that it is beneficial for sleep, physical fitness, and overall quality of life. If your work involves a lot of creativity, though, you would do well to either have shutters or curtains to help block the light after it has woken you up enough.
Workstation Tips #3: Introduce either Blue or Red
Colours in and around your workstation will also play a role in how productive you are. This is another subject that has been studied by researchers in various settings. One of the studies conducted tried to figure out whether the colour blue or the colour red was most beneficial to cognitive task performances. The study found that, and you’ll find the running theme here, both are effective.
According to this study, the colour blue encourages creativity in the individual by providing subtle motivation while the colour red encourages efficiency in a detail-oriented task by way of avoidance i.e. keeping the individual from getting distracted.
Workstation Tips #4: Control the Temperature
Productivity is a derivation of physical and mental comfort. It will always be valid that a happy and comfortable worker is a productive worker. The temperature of the workstation comes into play here. There are temperatures at which human beings are most comfortable and these temperatures, thus, promote productivity. This factor is independent of the type of work you’re doing.
Whether you’re doing detail-oriented work or creative work, the right temperature will remain constant. Human beings operate best at 25 degrees Celsius. The correlation between this temperature and an individual’s productivity has also been found by researchers at the Cornell University. In practice, this simply means that you should try to keep the temperature around your workstation around 25 degrees Celsius.
Workstation Tips #5: Change Something Every Day
Stagnation is the direct enemy of excellence and excellence is the direct progeny of productivity. Unfortunately, none of us change-up our workstations much. We have set ways and orientation which we adhere to on an everyday basis. What’s more, we take these set ways of ours from one job to another. Our desks, invariably, always look the same, regardless of where we’re working.
Productivity, however, follows dynamism. This means that we need to change something every day with respect to our work environments and workstations. Even the smallest of changes can have an impact over an extended period of time. The trick is to keep something new happening around you.
Workstation Tips #6: Stock up on Peppermint Gum
You’re most likely to neglect this last suggestion in this list of workstation tips because it sounds so simple and pedestrian. However, this simplicity also makes this easily the most effective of all our workstation tips. It is also cheap and easy to implement. There are two facets to this little hack.
The first is peppermint and the other is chewing gum. For example, you might be tempted to ask why peppermint and why chew gum? This little suggestion has been collated from two different studies. The first is about peppermint scent. The linked research found that peppermint scent not only enhances memory areas but also makes an individual more alert.
Why chewing gum is beneficial for productivity was found in another study conducted by British Psychological Society. This study found that chewing gum helps the individual stay focused, especially when doing a task that required “continuous monitoring”. The same study even referenced an earlier research that found chewing gum to improve concentration.