How to create the perfect work space

Photo credit: DwaFotografy, Shutterstock
Photo credit: DwaFotografy, Shutterstock

When we talk about the things that make a job enjoyable, we often focus on our relationships with our coworkers and managers, and the nature of the work we have to do. Rarely, do we explore another powerful component in our work happiness: our work spaces.

Think about it: if you have a job where you are working on a computer most of the day or just doing a lot of work at a desk, you’re spending an awful lot of time in one area. Would it hurt to make that space a little more personal and productive?

On 99u, psychologist Dr. Christian Jarren explores new research about work to offer tips on creating the perfect work space. While some of the advice isn’t easy to implement on your own if you work in an office (like changing the color of the walls), others are small tweaks that might make a huge difference in your productivity and happiness.

Make use of plants and windows

If you only do one thing to optimize your workspace, invest in a green plant or two. Research has repeatedly shown that the presence of office plants has a range of benefits including helping workers recover from demanding activities and lowering stress levels. As a bonus, there’s also evidence that plants can reduce office pollution levels.

Another feature of an optimized office is a window with a view, preferably of a natural landscape. This is because a glance at the hills or a lake recharges your mind. Obviously a view of nature isn’t possible for many people who work in cities, but even in an urban situation, a view of trees or intricate architecture have both been linked with restorative benefits. If you can’t negotiate a desk with a view, another plan is to choose an office in your building that’s the shortest stroll from an urban park. A visit here will revitalize your mind and compensate for your lack of a view.

The benefits of a messy desk

There’s a lot of pressure these days to be organized. How are you supposed to get your work done if you can’t even find a clear space on your desk to roll a mouse or place a plant? But new research suggests Einstein may have been onto something when he opined: “If a cluttered desk is a sign of a cluttered mind, of what, then, is an empty desk a sign?”

Read the rest of the advice on 99u.

How do you make the most of your workspace?

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Former Editor and Creator of Idealist Careers, a publication of Idealist.org. Follow me on Twitter @ajlovesya.


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Comments

    • Franci
    • August 12, 2013

    I once worked in an office with no windows. I hung two posters of beautiful landscapes – one on either side of my sightline – and my office environment instantly improved. Not a substitute for the real thing, but better than nothing as well.

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