I’m an admitted messy person. Well – maybe messy isn’t the right word. It’s more like organized chaos – and it’s in very specific areas of my home – my office being the main one. I know where things are (usually) but it sure doesn’t look very pretty. For 2015, one of my goals is to stay really focused and execute on some big projects. In order for that to happen, I need better office organization. It looks like a disaster area.
This week I am so thrilled to feature Sarah Landrum as a guest blogger. She is sharing some tips I will put into use right away to make my office space less stressful and more peaceful. Even though I’m a stress expert, I’m not gifted at creating spaces that are low stress! This article is a lifesaver! Enjoy!
Stress Less with these Office Design Tricks
By Sarah Landrum – Guest Blogger
Whether you have a full-sized office, a cubicle, or a corner desk at home, the way you treat your workspace affects your stress level, health, and productivity. If you’re feeling stressed, your design could be to blame. Luckily, that’s easy to fix.
Here are a five ways to redesign your office to promote a healthy workday:
- Bring a Plant to Work
Adding some greenery to your office can work wonders for your mental health. Research reveals that having plants in the office can decrease stress and enhance productivity by 12 percent. Plants do a lot more than improve your mental health, though – they also improve the overall working environment. Plants help remove airborne molds from your office, create a comfortable humidity level, and reduce noise. On top of that, their aesthetic appeal is shown to make the office appear more welcoming and relaxed. You can’t beat the power of a plant!
- Organize Your Office
You might know exactly where last month’s expense report is in that monstrosity, but working in a messy office can really increase your stress levels. The initial steps of organizing can be time-consuming – let’s face it, it’s hard to find a place for that huge stack of papers – but taking the time to organize will save you time and headaches down the road. For an easy cleanup, try the following steps:
- De-clutter. Stop moving things around from pile to pile and throw away the things that you don’t need.
- Place objects that you use frequently close to you to save time and trump the laziness that’s stopping you from getting up to file a paper in the cabinet behind you. Set up your own “work triangle” to get around easily and create the perfect workflow.
- Raid the supply closet. Dig up that labeler to customize your file cabinets and organize your files. While you’re at it, grab one of those desktop organizers you had no idea you had.
- Set a reminder. Set your phone or computer up so that you get a reminder once a week to file papers and de-clutter your office. After a few weeks, it’ll become a natural habit.
When I moved into my first office, I thought the wall decor was just part of the package. I got the desk, chair, and my boss’s idea of nice decor. The good news is, you can create your own package. If your office is plagued with drab colors or meaningless wall art, change it up!
Odds are you’ll end up getting neutral tones from the boss, but that doesn’t mean that you can’t hang some brightly colored paintings, add some personal touches, and fix the lighting. The hum of the florescent lights aren’t doing you any favors. Just bring in a desk lamp and, if needed, a floor lamp and leave the florescent lights turned off.
- Find the Perfect Chair
Concern over how long office workers sit has become a hot topic in the health and business world. By now, you’ve probably heard that the damage caused to your body while sitting for long lengths of time is comparable to smoking. True or not, for all the hours that you spend hunched over your desk, your body is resting on a chair. It’s important to take the time to find the perfect chair for your body to prevent joint and back pain from an ill-fit.
- Reduce Noise
Consider yourself lucky if you have an office with a door – because you’re blessed with the gift of quiet time. Don’t get me wrong, open office plans have their perks, but they may also be to blame for your stress. Office floorplans have a significant impact on the wellness and productivity of employees and the chatter from coworkers or the droning of the copy machine is perhaps the biggest offender. Rather than coping with the distractions, just try noise-canceling headphones or a white noise machine to reduce stress-inducing interruptions to your workflow.
Your office design is critical to your well-being, but with the right tools it doesn’t have to be a contributor to your stress. (Let’s face it, you’ve got enough stress triggers without your office design being one of them…) Following these steps will set you on a path to a less stressed and happier you. So, go redesign your office, sit back in your new office chair, and get to work – stress free.
TALK TO ME! What do you do in your office to keep it organized and low stress?
About the Author: Sarah Landrum is the founder of Punched Clocks, a site for those looking to grow their careers. Passionate about helping others find happiness and success, she shares advice on everything from career development and leadership, to health and fitness, and more! Follow her for more great tips @SarahLandrum