Top-Shelf Tip No. 73:

"Good design is obvious. Great design is transparent."

Joe Sparano

Four Fresh Ways To Optimize Your Workspace

The average person will spend about 90,000 hours at work over their lifetime. This amounts to about 10 years, not counting the amount of time spent in a home office, taking care of personal tasks. Use this fact to motivate you to improve your workspace. Research shows that unfavorable office environments with dull colors, hot indoor temperatures and cramped layouts can negatively impact productivity. On the flip side, a favorable working environment can make productivity levels climb by five to 15 percent.

Writer Ellie Batchiyska says we should apply the same philosophy to our workspace as we do to our homes. If you know you're going to live in a certain residence for 10 years, you'll do your best to make it as enjoyable and comfortable as possible. We share Batchiyska's tips for optimizing your workspace to improve your mood and boost your productivity in this issue of Promotional Consultant Today.

1. Bring in the outdoors. Humans need to feel connected to nature and the outdoors. You don't need to work from a backyard treehouse to enjoy nature. Just incorporate some potted plants in your workspace and allow plenty of natural light to flow in. Plants provide fresh oxygen and improve your office's overall air quality, which could result in fewer illnesses and allergies. Natural light helps you feel more awake and alert.

2. Embrace the benefits of feng shui. Batchiyska asserts that how you position your surroundings can improve your general well-being. Don't sit with your back to your office door as this can cause a sense of discomfort and uncertainty. It's best to face your visitors directly, but also not too directly. Chairs that are across from each other should not face each other directly as this suggests confrontation. Chairs across from each other should be placed at an angle to suggest open and inviting discussion.

3. Declutter to unwind. You've probably felt a sense of unease when your surroundings are a mess. Neuroscientists at Princeton University have discovered that physical clutter hinders productivity. Clutter in your surroundings signals a competition for your attention, meaning you often feel overwhelmed and don't know where to start. Organized surroundings decrease your stress, and therefore increase your performance. Batchiyska suggests if you don't use something daily, stow it in a drawer.

4. Don't work where you rest. If you take a nap in your office, expect a restless sleep. And if you work in your bed, expect a general sense of weariness. It's best to designate different spots for different thoughts. Separate spaces by the actions and mindsets taken in those spaces.

5. Freshen up your color scheme. More than style and aesthetic, the colors you use in your workspace evoke certain feelings. For example, blue inspires calmness and clarity while red signals warmth and energy. Consider the state of mind you hope to achieve and use different hues to evoke those emotions.

No matter how you spruce up your office, always do it with purpose. Give your workspace personal touches and incorporate small décor items that bring you happiness. Your mood and productivity will soar when you feel comfortable in your environment.

Compiled by Audrey Sellers

Source: Ellie Batchiyska is a writer for Every USB, helping small businesses and entrepreneurs improve office efficiency and branding.

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