The Physical Space of Our Offices Affect Productivity

Squeezed into a corner?

Maximize whatever space you have.
Winston Churchill once said, “We shape our buildings; thereafter, they shape us.” How true, not just for hotels but for our offices as well.

Studies have found that the physical space in which we work affects satisfaction, productivity, and even learning. Yet few of us take time to strategize and organize our workplaces or our homes.

Imagine an office where you show up every day and feel excited each day to get started because your desk is inviting you to sit down. Your chair is ergonomically correct, you have all the latest technology, and you have comfortable seats for your guests. When your office is right, you will feel comfortable and energized. When you check into your office each morning, you will have the right keys for being organized.

Here are a few keys and a few simple steps, ranging from the right workspace system to ergonomic-friendly products that can help businesses boost employee productivity and ease.

Be ergonomically correct

  • Keep a massage ball handy to free your hands from stress. People performing repetitive activities on a keyboard or an adding machine can injure their hands. A stress ball will help you exercise your hands in new ways, rather than just typing.
  • Position your computer monitor twenty-four to thirty-seven inches away from you with the screen at or below eye level to reduce strain on your neck and shoulders.
  • If you are on the phone a lot, use a headset or a quality speakerphone so that you can listen and write notes at the same time.
Create an at-home workspace

  • Designate a spot in your home to do your business and money activities such as Internet research, writing thank-you notes, managing your schedule, and paying bills. 
  • Always do work activities in that space and only that space.  Then you’ll always know where everything is.
Arrange your main office

  • Arrange your office furniture for maximum use of the space.
  • Create a specific location for specific things, such as client files, supplies, books, calendar, briefcase, and appointment book.
  • Place your most frequently accessed files nearest your work desk.
  • Place peripherals and hardware where you can reach them without crossing the room.
  • Secure cables off the floor. Label them, so you always know what they are and to which equipment they connect.
Work anywhere

  • Wherever you are, keep your works flowing.  
Create a portable officeHave an “on the go” system ready to roll whenever and wherever you go. Even at a moment’s notice, you can always have your schedule, work plan, and appointments list handy—in the car or however you travel.
Get set up for mobility

  • Keep your critical information at hand by using a PDA (personal digital assistant). These devices have the functionality of a computer but are compact enough to throw in a briefcase, handbag, or pocket (e.g., iPhone, Galaxy). This mobility can also be done with a laptop or tablet, which can be set up so you can work offline on your email, and once you hook up to the Internet it will synch, send, and reconcile your email.
  • Through Microsoft Outlook, you can synchronize your task list, calendar, and address book to your home computer using Microsoft Exchange.   However, assess your true needs before you purchase. Keep it simple.
Use the same organizing methods
Unclutter your brain. Let organizing do the work for you…so you do not have to try to remember what you were doing or where you put something.  

An inefficient workspace is seldom life threatening, but it still hurts us on the job. Studies show that each year 1.8 million workers develop injuries related to ergonomic factors.

That translates into an annual productivity cost of more than $60 billion. The personal cost is even greater. A messy office hampers our job performance, robs us of our confidence, and prevents us from spending valuable time with our family and friends.

In 1982, there was a criminology theory called “broken windows theory.” The theory was about the effects of urban disorder and vandalism on crime and anti-social behaviour. You know—park a car in a nice neighbourhood and chances are no one will hurt it. Throw a brick through the windshield, however, and the car is likely to be vandalized. That’s the broken window theory. And that’s also the power of image and respect.

What about your workplace? What message are you sending out about your office? That you’re competent and efficient? Or that you’re disorganized and out of control?

Credit and Source:  This blog post is an excerpt from Anne McGurty’s book, Lost In Your Own Office, available on amazon.com.

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