How to make your workplace ideal

Coded by CoMiGo •

Your desk is the very place where most of the work on your projects and daily tasks is done. Correct workplace arrangement can increase your productivity and reduce fatigue. Today, we will bring order to our workplace, taking "instant" actions and developing a strategy for further improvement.

At the end of the article you will find TODO-sheets for sharing and rapid improvement of the workplace!

Regular wet cleaning
Clean, spacious table
Elimination of distractors
Adding Natural Attractors
Adequate lighting
Correct arrangement of furniture
To sum up

Regular wet cleaning

There is nothing uglier than a dusty screen of the monitor shining in the morning light. Clean workplace is a pledge not only of healthy, but also of working mood. Particular attention should be paid to keyboards and computer mice, since they are the main collectors of dirt on the computer desk.

But sometimes we are too… lazy. That's why I keep a small cloth made of microfiber, 12x12 cm in size, on my desk. With it it costs nothing to wipe the screen, but after doing so, by inertia, I find myself cleaning the entire room, wiping furniture, doors, window sills and other surfaces.

Instant action: lift your ass and dust!

Long-term solution: buy a piece of microfiber cloth and store it directly on the desktop to regularly wipe the dust and not complain about laziness.

Clean, spacious table

When I talk about "spacious and clean" table I mean that there should not be any objects that interfere with the work within the work area. If you often work at a computer desk, then nothing should interfere with your hands while working with the keyboard, and the monitor can not be obstructed by anything. In all situations, it is better if your hands can move freely in the work area and reach frequently used objects easily.

Many advisors from other blogs urge to completely clean the desktop, leaving only objects for work, throwing everything else out. The presence of random junk and stuff, in my opinion, does not reduce productivity - but as long as this junk does not stop you from working and while it is not a distractor. Something may get in the way of movement, block something more important or distract you from work. Such items need to be removed, but a toy gun and an open book about space exploration may not bother you from work.

Everything else is determined by feeling of beauty and aesthetics. I do not like neat book mountains and office sets. Creative people tend to have a mess on the desktop with lots of random stuff, because their creativity works by combining previously unrelated things, and there is always something to combine in such a mess.

Disorder is normal, as long as it doesn't hurt you.

Instant action: Take away bright, colored things that distract you from your work. Anything that interferes with free movement of hands should be either eliminated or moved away.

Long-term solution: Putting something on the table, ask yourself, is not it better to put it somewhere else?

Elimination of distractors

A distractor is something that prevents focusing on work. Each person has his own distractors – someone can not concentrate in a cafe or a noisy office, while others, on the contrary, reproduce records of such environments at home and hate silence.

Distractors are:

  • people;
  • shiny surfaces;
  • TV sets, radio, music centers;
  • lamps beaming at your eyes;
  • too bright (shining in the eyes) windows and sun reflections;
  • windows that go to noisy streets;
  • fountains, aquariums and animals in the zone of visibility (too sticky);
  • phones (and especially smart phones that always buzz and ring);
  • any unnecessary stuff.

Regarding the lighting, everything is in your hands. 😃 Basically it is enough to curtain the windows if they are behind the screen, or, on the contrary, drop their light behind your back on a glossy screen. The recommended lighting level can be read below.

Sounds depend on your preferences – you can listen to music, or relaxing sounds, or just silence. In any case, comfortable noise-canceling headphones will be an excellent purchase. If you work in a team, it is a good idea to ask whether work in headphones will be considered as normal. Also, if the team is a distractor, explain what distracts you and what you all can do to make it easier for all of you to work.

Instant action: adjust the volume of devices, remove trash and cover shiny surfaces.

Long-term solution: determine the environment you are comfortable to work (including noises, surroundings), and bring it to your workplace. Being in team, try to come to reduction of distractions.

A flower pot with small rare yellow flowers as an example of a natural attractor is located on a table next to a delicious muffin.

Adding Natural Attractors

Norwegian and American studies show that presence of plants on the desktop improves the ability to Work.

By being distracted by flowers or nature views, we relax our brains for a short time from the need to concentrate on a certain activity. Because flowers themselves are passive creatures 😃 we switch to them without any external reasons and therefore without losing focus. Therefore, the overall effect of plants is positive and allows you to stay focused for a long time.

Again, the flower should not be too bright. A small pot with a green non-flowering plant without a pronounced odor will be a good deal.

In addition to plants, window with a view of nature helps relieve the stress. The same applies to images and videos with natural landscapes.

Instant action: put a small flower pot on the table.

Almost instant action: download my foggy wallpaper collection from unsplash (42 images, 153 Mb), which is used on all my monitors and which I find especially relaxing.

Adequate lighting

Insufficient or poor-quality lighting leads to a decrease in productivity, rapid fatigue and unhappy mood. Flickering lamp and lack of lighting whle working with small or non-contrasting subjects lead to headaches and vision fatigue (source).

You can do the following to increase the overall illumination of the working area during day:

  • hang a mirror;
  • change the curtains to less dense or lighter;
  • change / paint furniture, change wallpapers to a light, but not glossy color;
  • add artificial lighting.

The table should be well lit. In bright, cloudless weather, additional lighting is usually not required (if you have windows on the sunny side), but in the evening you need a good table LED lamp with a diffuser. If you work in large areas and do not sit at the table most of the time, it makes sense to add or enhance the ceiling lighting.

I work only at the table, and therefore I do not have ceiling lighting at all :D

Recommended lighting standards for laboratories, educational and office premises are 300-500 lux. Look for any Lux Meter app for your smartphone and check it at the table level.

The color of light is important too. It is recommended to use lamps with a temperature of about 4000 K (neutral white). In the evening, I recommend lowering the level of lighting and switching from cold lighting to warmer and fainter one to prevent injuring your sleep.

Instant action: adjust the curtains / blinds, the lamp. Direct the lamp so that its light does not shine directly into the eyes.

Long-term solution: buy a good LED lamp with a diffuser. If necessary, make a rearrangement of furniture, so that scattered daylight falls more on the working space.

Correct arrangement of furniture

Allan Pease and his wife Barbara write in a book "The Definitive Book of Body Language" how the arrangement of furniture affects the emotional state of a person, and therefore, the productivity. And although Allan uses examples to elevate bosses over subordinates in his book, we still can learn something to improve our workplace:

  • the door should not be behind your back, because it increases the level of anxiety due to invisibility of what happens there;
  • windows with tulle also increase the sense of security and privacy;
  • but if you work in a friendly team, it makes sense to remove visual obstacles and to direct workplaces a little to each other (or better at a 90 deg angle). At the same time, you should not reveal visual cover too much.

Instant action: unfortunately, nothing can be done instantly with furniture 😃.

Long-term solution: at home, if it is not already done, move the workplace so that you do not sit with your back facing to the exit. Do not forget about other features of the ideal workplace!

To sum up

That's all! I tried to collect non-obvious problems with their effective solutions in this article, providing both instantant and long-term actions. All this is my personal experience, reinforced by creativity and scientific research ✨ Do not forget about other things - about the right chair, the height of the table, about good tools for work. You will find it all in Google 😃

My room, which is also my workplace, is considered by familiars as a calm and bright place, relieving tension. Working at the table is pleasant and convenient, and there is symphonic metal melodically barking in the air 😂

How to make your workspace ideal — instant version

How to make your workspace ideal — long-term version

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