Whether you're a cubicle dweller, have a car-office, or work from a corner in your home, refreshing your office space to create an organized, healthy and comfortable environment will allow you to be more productive, less stressed and generally more vibrant and full of energy. Here are a few easy ways to accomplish this.
1. Clean off your desk and keep things in their place.
Get to-do lists, spreadsheets and notes online in the cloud so they're available on all your devices when you need them. Check out the many available apps for list-making and reminders, thereby reducing paper consumption and post-it note clutter on your desk. Purge papers and keep only what's absolutely necessary, then file it away. Keep one in-box for things you need to get to at a designated time, and schedule time in your calendar to get to them.
2. Keep things on your desk that are both functional and beautiful.
Use vintage wooden boxes, ceramic plant pots, or pretty bowls to hold business cards, pens, paper clips and the like. Keeping things coralled neat and in their own place will cut down on visual clutter and anxiety.
3. Add plants.
They not only add natural beauty, they also clean pollutants out of the air and add in oxygen and humidity, making it more comfortable to breathe and spawn brilliant ideas. Research has proven that plants significantly lower stress and increase productivity in a workspace. In fact, a study from Washington State University showed that participants with indoor plants at their workstation were 12% less stressed than those without.
4. Display a couple of personal things, but not too many.
One or two photos, a notecard from a friend, or a meaningful piece of art are good. You don't want to go overboard and be constantly pulled between work and home. Instead, use a dedicated bulletin board or a magnetized wall to pin up inspirational quotes, designs or clippings of things that will keep you focused on your essentials.
5. Drink lots of water and do it from a refillable glass bottle.
Keeping a really nice water bottle on your desk will encourage you to use it often and take it with you to meetings. I like ello. Also keep a ceramic or glass refillable mug for tea or coffee to cut down on paper and plastic consumption (and a stack of ugly, dirty cups on your desk).
6. Give aromatherapy a try.
Scents can have a powerful therapeutic effect, so introduce essential oils through a reed diffuser, or perhaps hang a sachet of lavender from your desk. Lavender can be especially soothing and calming: studies show scenting your office with lavender essential oil can reduce computer errors by 25%!
7. Make sure your chair is comfortable.
An ergonomic chair will ensure your feet are flat on the floor and your arms at a 90 degree angle when typing. Use a comfy pillow if needed. It'll make a world of difference to your back and shoulders. Better yet, move to a standing desk!
8. Use sound to your advantage, and also embrace silence.
Noise from co-workers can be disturbing, so muffle it with a small fan on your desk as white noise. Or use noise-canceling headphones and play gentle music or sounds that soothe. Inquire as to if you co-workers might collaborate on a 'quiet hour' where you all turn off phones and sound notifications, and curb any chatter for one hour while you work in silence.
A calm workspace will help you work better and feel better. Good luck!