Simple Software Management Solutions
15th March 2017
Why your Working environment, is essential to a successful business.
In the past 10 years, there has been a revelation in design of how we operate as individuals and team members, within a company or in business in general.
Design plays a key role into that, I'm not talking about how a beautiful chair can make you work 70% better, but here are some basic design tips and ways of thinking to make your office or work space a place that can be more effective to you.
Keep It Clear.
As we all know clutter is the down fall of any creative they say a cluttered desk is a cluttered mind.
Thats why, when working, you should look at your desk and ask yourself will I use this today?
Is the answer is no, or I'm not sure, put it away. Spending 5 minutes, every morning clearing away things you don't find inspiring or useful will enable you to focus at your tasks at hand, and every messy person in your office, will really think you have yourself together, Which is probably not the case. In fact Princeton Neurocscience Institute conducted a study in 2011 saying that clutter on your desk does reduce productivity as it is distracting having multiple stimuli in your range of view. You could also run your office with a clean desk policy which would make clutter a thing of the past.
It’s been shown that a worker, that has a standing desk or that can get up for at least an hour a day will prevent shaving years off your life, but why is this going to help me have a more successful business?. Well in a study from 2014 they identified that Standing desks showed mixed results for improving psychological well-being with little impact on work performance. Although standing desks are expensive, there are plenty of Ikea hacks to and table add ons that can help get people up and standing.
Have you got a coffee shop near by, or a bench, or even a low wall? when the weather allows, get outside, Studies have shown that people who get out of their office for at least 30 minutes a day and walk have improved enthusiasm, relaxation, and nervousness, not to mention the possibility of a chance encounter with an Americano, that doesn’t taste like it was filtered, through last weeks socks.
Work shouldn’t be seen as a prison and neither should your desk in fact if done right, it should be seen as a place for your mind to work effectively and not feel as if it went just fell out of the octagon with Conor McGregor. Breakout spaces have been used in every sector of business and are a great space for collaborative free thinking.
If there isn't already the space in your office allocated to this, a break out space is a fantastic way to come together as a team even if it means two space hoppers from the kids playroom and a desk, make the space and encourage people to use it.
Break out spaces are a hive for creativity and expression, giving you or an employee the opportunity to have a platform to speak to their peers about development and have fun while doing it, is fantastic.
Run For the Hills.
Although I already spoke about movement, theres, another aspect to moving that you need to think about.
Exercise - not everyones favourite word, however its been shown time and time again, Physical activity is associated with improved affective experience and enhanced cognitive processing. If you are a business owner, and you have some spare income, talk your local gym owner and see if you can set up a deal for your employees subsidising their gym membership or even paying for a year for them to get started, if you are tight on cash , you might think about allowing them a longer lunch break or to leave 30 minutes early from work 3 times a week to get in that good sweat. Not only will this help with productivity, but also allow your employees to see that you do care about them and their wellbeing, meaning they’ll work harder for you when they're in the office.
Providing your office with healthy snacks and drinks is a fantastic and cheap option for your office, but the important thing to remember here is brain food!
a recent study showed that fruit and veg have been shown to actually help increase your creativity, and your curiosity.
Specific foods, such as blueberries, pumpkin seeds, blackcurrants, tomatoes, broccoli nuts and green leafy vegetables are all considered super foods, that keep you preforming at your peak and prevent you from snacking on the sweets in the shop. As a business owner, you could simply set up a subscription with your local fruit supplier or if you don't have one, using an Amazon weekly subscription could be your solution.
Encourage Wacky Ideas.
Yes this is about your work environment, but who said that had to just be in the physical Allowing people in your office to feel comfortable enough to speak openly about an idea will eventually lead to some fantastic development. Simply putting up a work related ideas white board, where anyone can suggest an idea or a problem, sign it and create an open discussion about how to make this a reality. Who knows maybe break out the Space hoppers, and get really creative.
My Space, not Myspace.
Recent studies, have shown that in fact the beautiful open plan office that all designers love, may in fact be detrimental to the office, the main culprit being noise losing as much as 86 minutes a day to distraction it's also been shown that some people need the noise to encourage creativity, in fact there has been a whole website dedicated to background noise called Coffitivity playing the hustle and bustle of a coffee shop.
As people are all different allocating a desk personalisation budget might help people feel more comfortable in the open plan set up you may have encouraging things like headphones and low desk walls may not be the worst thing in the world.
Stay Away From The Light.
So, we all know that its, fairly hard to work in the dark, but did you know that artificial light is also hard to work under?
A recent study showed that natural lighting, views of nature and an abundance of plants –is shown to reduce cortisol levels related to stress. Yes this could be very expensive, but a stress free work environment is a happy one, perhaps printing landscape photos to hang around your office could be a cheap and easy way to help.
So we’ve spoke about health foods, and exercise, but something that you could do for your office that you might overlook, is buying a water cooler. For years they have been the unnoticed break out space of the office, but did you know that the water also serves its own benefit?
Drinking water helps to keep you thinking more clearly a study conducted by the Centre for Neuroimaging Sciences, Institute of Psychiatry, King's College London showed that when dehydrated your brains ability to perform executive functions such as planning and visuo-spatial processing are severely reduced? Maybe avoiding that Soda is beneficial in more ways than one.
If you can't afford a water cooler, you could buy a Brita water jug or similar. This a much smaller investment and just as beneficial is placed in the right part of the office.
The nectar of the gods, my very blatant addition. But did you know that too much coffee in the office can be a good and bad thing?
Well apparently there is a threshold for coffee overload once you have more than 400mg of caffeine (4 regular sized cups) you will start to become restless, this is just an estimate as everyone's tolerances are different. However apparently coffee is great for alertness, so finding your middle ground is going to be the key for success somewhere between 1 - 4 cups can help you focus during the day.
Although there has been numerous studies to show that coffee is beneficial and detrimental the key is finding a balance between water and coffee. Over stimulation and over drinking coffee can lead to dehydration, not to mention that it is a diuretic. Having a coffee machine is essential in your office, but maybe encourage a balanced intake with water.
So that’s it, hopefully this will help you and your office become the most productive place it can be !
Written by: Matthew Lynch
Ux Designer at Alkimii