An easy way to create a good vibe and reduce your stress levels is to make sure you are comfortable and healthy in your work space – whether it be in an office, outdoors, driving or at your home-office.
In most cases we don’t have a huge amount of control over our work space. If we work in an office we’re generally assigned a space with a desk and we don’t have much say over where that is or the conditions that surround us. Similarly, even in a home-office you may be limited to a certain room or part of your house, and if you work outdoors it can be even more difficult to control external factors. But there are always small adjustments you can make that will help you feel more comfortable and reduce environmental distractions, thus helping you increase your productivity and reduce your stress levels.
Here are some simple tips for changes you could consider in your workplace:
Is it adequate or too much? Getting more natural light is ideal, so first investigate moving closer to a window, opening or removing blinds, cutting back shady trees, then look at installing more overhead lighting. Inexpensive desk lamps correctly positioned will help if other options aren’t possible. Remember that if there is too much light, reflective glare can cause you to squint and result in headaches so get an anti-glare screen for your monitor or investigate filters or different tubes for fluorescent lights.
Many of us work in open-plan offices today so controlling noise may not be easy. One solution to noise problems could be using headphones – listening to music (especially classical or ambient music) can help eliminate distractions and improve your concentration. You could also listen to audio tracks of waterfalls, birds chirping, or white noise to help block out background noise.
Plants are an important addition to any work space. Firstly they reduce air pollution and add oxygen to the atmosphere but as a secondary function they also help reduce background noise. Some plants, like peace lilies or weeping figs, are more effective for dampening noise than others. Place plants around the edges or corners of a space for the best sound dampening effect. You’ll get a better effect by using several smaller arrangements in a space rather than one big cluster of plants.
Mess is an automatic stressor for most people.
Make a point of cleaning up your work area – either start your day 10 minutes early (not that anyone likes doing this but it will help make your day more pleasant) or make a point of cleaning your work area before you finish work for the day. The latter is my personal preference – that way I can start each day knowing I don’t have to face a messy work space.
Get your paperwork in order. Go through all the papers, books, stationery etc that you have in your work space and think about what you really need. If it’s all essential then tidy and organise it well. Try using colour to assist with your filing. This can brighten up any area and help keep you a little more organised.