When you’re getting ready for a day of work, your focus is often on productivity. In fact, we put so much emphasis on output that we forget to consider what we really need to stay energized, positive, and yes, productive.
Did you know that creating a relaxing office space is a proven way to increase productivity? It’s not just about the tools you have at your disposal or your ability to churn out tons of work every hour. Your mental state is an incredibly important component of a successful workday.
Believe it or not, you can create feelings of relaxation by adjusting your work environment. In other words, your surroundings help to shape your emotions and stress levels.
Read on for 7 ideas that will help you to create a relaxing office space in no time.
1. Create Multiple Work Stations
Sometimes, a change of scenery is all you need to alter your state of mind. Getting stuck on a work-related issue causes a ton of tension that you may be able to relieve just by heading to a different location.
Your desk will always be home base. This is likely where you keep your files, your chargers, your calendar–everything you need on a daily basis.
Consider investing in a small table and chair, or even a comfortable armchair and lap desk, that will allow for some mobility. That way, when you’re in the thick of an assignment and all you need is a laptop, you have somewhere to go to get a break from your desk–even if you’re not taking a break.
Few things in a home office cause stress like clutter. In fact, clutter is psychologically proven to increase feelings of anxiety. Why?
Clutter sends a signal to our brain that there’s something we haven’t done that needs our attention. Stacks of files are calling to be organized. Used coffee cups and other dishes are begging to be washed.
All of that visual and tangible chaos creates mental chaos. Do yourself a favor and take a few minutes at the end of each workday to get things organized and cleaned up for the next day. (Cleaning in small increments also happens to be a lot more stressful than tackling a giant mess all at once!)
3. Focus on Sound
We tend to assume that we work best in complete and utter silence. However, many of us are actually distracted by silence whether we realize it or not.
Now, that doesn’t mean that you should turn on the TV or blast loud music. Too much noise is going to be as distracting as no noise at all.
Instead, take the time to determine what sounds make you feel relaxes and quiet your mental chatter. For some, it might be classical music playing at a low volume. For others, it might be the sound of the ocean or a summer storm.
The best part is that adding ambient sound to your office doesn’t have to cost a dime. Look to websites look YouTube and Spotify for free recordings of the sounds that soothe you.
4. Set Aside a Relaxation Station
Sometimes the best way to increase your productivity is to step back from work. Unplugging for a few minutes and allowing the mind to rest is incredibly refreshing. Build these moments of pause into your workday by creating a relaxation station in your office.
What does one need for a relaxation station? That’s totally up to you. Personally, we recommend a comfortable chair, a fantastic foot pillow, and a 10-minute guided meditation video.
5. Think About Air Quality
Most of our tips have addressed mental comfort. What about physical comfort?
Indoor air quality can make a big impact on how alert you feel. Low-quality air tends to contain irritants that can cause respiratory problems and exacerbate issues like asthma and allergies. When your respiratory system isn’t at it’s finest, you’re not at your finest.
One of the best things you can do for your indoor air quality is to increase humidity levels. Add a humidifier to your desk setup and bring in several indoor plants. Avoid overusing things like forced air conditioning and heating, which tend to dry out the air even more.
If things are really bad, ditch any rugs and curtains you may have in your office. Textiles tend to trap irritants like mold, dirt, and dust mites.
6. Take Advantage of Natural Light
Are you shutting the blinds just to turn on a fluorescent overhead light? Cut it out!
False lighting is a necessary evil that you should cut down on as much as possible. False lighting, especially fluorescent lighting, can cause headaches and disrupt your circadian rhythm.
Natural lighting, on the other hand, can boost your mood with a healthy dose of Vitamin D. If your office doesn’t get a ton of direct sunlight, do yourself a favor and replace your fluorescent lightbulbs with blue light-free light bulbs that are designed to imitate natural light.
7. Design with Inspiration in Mind
Whether you’re working from home or in an office building, ditch the traditional office look. There’s no rule that says you have to use a boring beige filing cabinet or hang nothing but your degree on the wall.
Create an office space that you want to be in. Use colors that lift your mood, artwork that makes you feel inspired, and personal touches that keep you motivated.
A Relaxing Office Space Is the Key to Productivity
Productivity is a cultural buzzword and something we place a lot of value in. However, it’s possible that we’ve been thinking about productivity all wrong! Rather than focusing on the daily grind, we should invest in a relaxing office space that keeps us feeling calm and happy throughout our workday.