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When you spend hours at your desk every day, even the smallest aspects of your workplace—like your desk position or chair height—can greatly affect your productivity and even your health. Here’s what science says about the best way to prepare your office for ergonomics and productivity.
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A workplace shouldn’t make you tired every day, but uncomfortable chairs, uncomfortable desks, and poor lighting do—even though you may not notice these things every day. However, with a few tweaks, you can improve your work environment and make your office stand out.
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The description below provides an overview of some of the most important elements of a healthy and productive office. Continue reading below for more details, research, and tips. And feel free to share this drawing with others, on your site or on your social networks. Download or view full size image.
Never underestimate how your environment can affect your productivity. A study by Herman Miller found that workplace design has a “small but consistent, real effect” on employee performance – increasing productivity by 16% and job satisfaction by 9%. Try setting up your desk with the five features below to get more done during the day with less effort.
The lighting quality in your office can affect your mood and well-being. Poor lighting—either dim light or bright light from overhead fluorescent lights—can cause eyestrain, strain, and fatigue. On the contrary, the best type of light in your office is natural light (it’s also good for stability).
As early as 1979, researchers agreed that natural light and landscapes reduce stress, improve mood and mood, reduce anxiety, and help with focus. In a 2014 study, researchers at Northwestern Medicine and the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign found that workers exposed to more light through windows in the office slept better and longer at night. They also prefer to work physically than employees without windows in their offices.
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Why is regular exposure to daylight so important? Sunlight helps our bodies maintain our internal “clocks,” or circadian rhythms—which affect our sleep and energy—as well as causing our brains to release serotonin, a hormone that helps us stay focused and calm.
If you can control where your office is, choose a room with a window to get a boost of sunlight. If you have no control over the lighting in your workplace and are not lucky enough to have your desk near a window (let alone a corner desk surrounded by windows), try to get more outside for breaks so that you see if you can get a lamp stand that simulates daylight.
Another thing to consider when it comes to lighting: the location of the light sources. You want enough uniform lighting that you can work in without squinting, but also make sure the light doesn’t cause glare on your screen. For this reason, do not sit with your back to a window unless you can shade it and do not sit facing the window because it will make it difficult to read the screen. Also, if you use a task light at your desk, position it so that the bottom of the lamp is about the height of your chin when it’s on, recommends this Old House.
Finally, did you know which Edison bulbs are all the rage these days? Looking at a lamp like this (or other types of lamps) can be good for your creativity.
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Can plants help you do your job? It may sound silly, but, yes, a plant or two in your office can improve your productivity and happiness. Scientists have found that indoor plants prevent fatigue during work that requires attention. Even looking out a window of living greenery can be refreshing and keep us focused. If you can’t see a plant from your desk, you could be missing out on a 15 percent productivity boost, according to scientists at the University of Exeter.
So nature is good for you, but what if you’re not so good at taking care of plants? don’t worry; I was in the same boat and somehow managed to keep the plant alive. Secret: buy peace lily. This perennial plant needs lots of sunlight to survive and needs to be watered only when the soil is dry. But the best thing about this plant is that it shames you to water it when you need to by saying it’s sad – and then after you drink water, the plant will recover. Resting your plant every week can give you a small but noticeable sense of success.
Like many other plants, peace lilies are also great for air purification, according to NASA, so you can work in a fresh environment and get a productivity boost at the same time. Cacti and aloe vera plants are other low maintenance items to consider. If you have a green thumb, any plant will do to enhance your work space.
In some offices, workers often fight with each other over temperature control. If this describes your work environment, here are some studies to help you end conflicts for good—at least, if you always have cold feet. Cornell University researchers found that by increasing the desk temperature from 68 to 77 degrees Fahrenheit (20 degrees to 25 degrees Celsius), workers’ typing errors were reduced by 44 percent, and they were able to type 150 percent less. more often.
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This is probably a factor in why many people feel less productive in the summer. Could it be air conditioning?
Although the temperature survey does not take into account personal preferences, try the temperature of your office if you can see what happens. If you can’t control the temperature in your office, there is always the option to “put on a jacket” or get a small fan if your workplace is too hot.
There are good things to listen to while you work, and then there is the noise. More often we see with the latter. In the office—especially in open-plan offices—communication with other people and even keyboards can often be distracting. Working from home, you may have to deal with the noise of your neighbor’s dog, noisy walkers and construction workers, and maybe even the noise of regular traffic outside your front door. Then there are the notifications you can get from your cell phone that stop what you’re doing.
It’s hard to soak it all in when you’re trying to work. Good noise canceling headphones can help. Along with soothing background music from Jazz and Rain, your favorite YouTube video game playlist, or cafe-like background chat from Coffitivity. The latter benefits from research showing that ambient noise can boost creativity.
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Color psychology is an amazing field of study. McDonald’s uses red and yellow because they are high-energy colors that increase our appetite (read: make us eat more chicken nuggets). Starbucks uses the color green to promote a sense of relaxation (read: coaxing you to cool off at the coffee shop). Your desk colors can also have some effect on your workday.
Keep these color meanings in mind when choosing paint for your home office and even when shopping for desk accessories. Office supplies in coordinating colors can help you stay focused instead of distracting you from your desk.
When it comes to ergonomics, one size does not fit all, as many tables like the one above suggest
In addition to these office design decisions, another important consideration is the ergonomics of your workplace – how efficient and safe it is to work at your desk and computer. It’s about preparing your environment to maintain your health and avoid problems like repetitive strain injury (RSI), back pain, or even fatigue.
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Corporate offices often hire ergonomic consultants to organize workplaces for workers to reduce the risk of worker injury and keep workers active. But what if your company doesn’t care about the work environment or you work remotely (like we all do)? You will need to think comfortably for yourself. Here is what you should know.
Your posture should allow you to type on the keyboard with your arms and hands parallel to the floor, your feet flat on the floor, and your feet comfortably under the desk when sitting (you should be able to lift the your feet are comfortably below the surface). such as:
Head over to the Ergotron Workspace diagram (shown
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