Productivity can be influenced by many factors and in this technologically advanced age, there are even more factors that have helped improve how people are productive at work over the years. One of the major things that contribute to improving productivity is the work setup. The influence of physical office environments on how productive a person can be at work cannot be overemphasized.
Most employees spend the bulk of their time in the office building, most times sitting behind a desk as they work on their computers, which makes it only proper that how the office and its environs are built can be a major influence on productivity. There are several studies to guide this, one of which is a study published in the Elsevier journal. The study is focused on how several environmental factors directly or indirectly affect employees’ work performance. Some of these factors include the effects of workplace design, indoor temperature, color, noise, and also interior plants on employees’ well-being and performance.
Having a professional desk setup can go a long way for you in your career, whether you work from home or in a corporate environment. For most people, the most important in a workplace environment is a productivity desk setup, as using a productive desk would mean you have all the necessary things in place to aid your workflow and help improve your concentration as you work towards a great end result.
If you could invest in one thing in your office, it should be a desk. This isn’t your multipurpose desk that works as the kitchen table or where everyone in the family sits to have a meeting but rather one set apart for work. This will make a difference in productivity
However, beyond having a desk, you also need to set it up properly to inspire and motivate you from time to time to get the work done. Whether you sit or you stand all day, what matters the most for your desk setup is to give it the proper arrangement that will contribute to your seamless workflow
The most productive desk setup has certain things in place, some of which are highlighted in this article.
Your Choice of Desk
Before you get started on setting up your desk for work, you want to make sure you have the right desk in place. You can start by choosing between a sitting desk or a standing desk. Preferably, go for an adjustable desk, to help you switch between sitting and standing when necessary, which will also be beneficial for your health. It could help reduce the risks associated with a sedentary lifestyle and also make you more physically active, which could influence your decision-making process as you work.
In a study of the use of sit-stand workstations, it was established that the idea of switching between sitting and standing was generally perceived as acceptable and feasible. Another study also found that about 65% of workers reported increased productivity and better concentration ability after one year of using height-adjustable desks. So, you may want to consider getting both sitting and standing desks or preferably, an adjustable desk that fits both.
Get the Perfect Chair
Your work chair is as important as your desk, as most workers tend to spend lots of hours sitting to work on their computers. If using a chair is non-negotiable, then it is important to invest in a high-quality comfortable chair. An ergonomic chair is the best choice if you want to stay productive during the long hours you spend on your desk. It helps with posture support, reduces back musculoskeletal pain, improves blood circulation, and most importantly improves productivity.
What to Look Out For in a Good Ergonomic Chair
1. Adjustable Height
Every ergonomic chair is made for a random person who buys it and not specifically for you, which is why it is important that it allows some form of flexibility, so you can adjust it to suit you. Your legs might be longer or shorter than the average office chair but with an adjustable height, you can have the perfect office chair for your legs.
To get the best height, ensure your hips and knees are at a 90-100 degree angle, with your feet flat on the floor. Also, ensure your chair does not collide with the tabletop and it’d be great if you also use an adjustable desk, so you can adjust both.
2. Seat Width and Depth
Check for the width and depth of the seat and ensure it is wide enough for you to sit comfortably. You should have about 2-4 inches between the edge of your seat and the back of your knee crease. Also, ensure that you can perfectly adjust the forward or backward tilt of the seat to make you as comfortable as possible.
3. Lumbar Support
To reduce the risk of lower back pain, you will need a chair that has good lumbar support. Lack of adequate support for your lumbar spine while seated could lead to a slouched spine, which would keep you in an uncomfortable position and could also pose risks to your health. Look for a chair with adjustable lumbar support; this includes the height and the amount of support it gives your lower back. You should be able to increase or decrease the lumbar support to match the arch of your spine and help you sit comfortably without slouching.
An ideal ergonomic chair should have a backrest at a 90-100 degree angle to the seat and is about 12 to 19 inches wide. You should also be able to adjust this to support the natural curve of your spine. How you adjust this depends on whether it is a detachable headrest or a fixed headrest that can only be adjusted in forward and backward angles.
Ensure the chair has adjustable armrests, so you can place your arms in comfortable positions as you work, to reduce the risk of muscle strains. Your elbows and lower arms should rest lightly on the armrests, with your forearm away from it while typing. If you can get a chair without the armrests, that works too, as you don’t have to worry about the wrong posture or setting them at the wrong angles. However, if you must use a chair with armrests, ensure they are adjustable.
6. Seat Material
Get a chair with enough seat padding and breathable material to ease your gluteal muscles as you sit for long hours. The seat should be thick and soft enough to support sitting for prolonged periods of time. The breathable material is most beneficial in hot weather conditions.
Let there be Light
There are many downsides of poor lighting in the workspace, ranging from eye-strain to fatigue, headaches, and stress. All these can impair your productivity at work, which is why the importance of good and adequate lighting in the workspace is often emphasized.
One of the best ways to go about this is to set up your desk near a window, to allow the natural light in. This has been proven over time to encourage alertness, decrease stress, improve your mood, which would result in improved productivity in the workplace. If the sight from your window is appealing to the eyes, that could be an advantage to your level of productivity, as you can easily shift your focus from your screen to the sight from your window. It could also help with your creative process as you work and serve as a form of inspiration.
If you do not have enough natural lights or access to a window at all, artificial lights could come in handy. Bright up your space with clean quality artificial lights. There are artificial lights that mimic natural lights and would make a great addition to your space, especially if you have access to little or no natural light. You can get overhead lighting or floor lamps and position them in a way that they reflect properly on your desk and you don’t have to strain your eyes while working.
Keep it Simple
Simplicity is an important aspect of a workspace and it is not necessarily about being a minimalist. Keep the items on your desk as simple as possible and narrow them down to the most important things you need. A recent study by global brand strategy and experience firm, Siegel+Gale was focused on the World’s Simplest Brands from 2018-2019. The study showed how simple workspaces led to more engaged employees and better business results. It also established that fifty-four percent of employees find it easier to innovate in simpler organizations.
Simplicity boosts trust, as most employees are likely to trust the leadership of their organization based on the level of simplicity that is maintained at the workspace. All these only shows how being simple can contribute to your productivity, even if you work from home.
Keeping your desk as simple as possible is also a way to get rid of clutters. An international survey shows how information workers lose up to two hours a week fruitlessly searching for lost digital documents. Clutter affects the brain and could have a huge impact on your general mental health. If keeping your desk simple and free of clutters means getting a larger desk to accommodate all your essentials, then go for that.
Make your Desk Habit-friendly
Customize your desk to suit your personality, style, and habit. How you build and design your environment will have a huge impact on your behavior, which would eventually impact your workflow and productivity. Decorate your desk to suit your taste. You can make use of illustrations, arts, customized pen holders and coffee mugs, and more. You can also put picture frames of yourself or loved ones or any quote that can serve as a form of inspiration or motivation as you work.
Keep Plants Nearby
This is somewhat similar to the previous point on making your desk habit-friendly. If you love the idea of having plants in your workplace, this will be a great option to maximize. Apart from adding to the decoration of your workspace, the green plants help purify the air and reduce your risk of falling ill. A 2011 research also found out that they help improve attention capacity, which results in improved performance at work compared to those who had no plant in their workspace.
Give Yourself a Break
While you might have created the perfect desk set up to yield productivity, you also need to give room for rest. Take scheduled breaks in-between work to stretch your muscles, drink a cup of coffee or tea, or just to breathe. Leaving your desk frequently can be beneficial to your health and well-being and also improve how much information you are able to consume and execute on per time. Get up from your desk after every hour to stretch or just walk around before you get back to work.
In addition, make drinking water a habit, as it helps keep your body and soul healthy. Don’t keep working while dehydrated to avoid certain health risks. Although this might get you to go to the restroom more often, it will be another great excuse to get up from your desk.
Spending long hours at stretch behind your desk doesn’t always mean you are productive. Rather, make the best of your most productive hours and try to take breaks in-between to reboot and feel a bit more relaxed before returning to work.
It is one thing to have a work desk or workstation and another to have one that improves your productivity. Every worker’s goal is to get much work done at a lesser period of time and having a desk that has been prepared to aid productivity is a good start. Remember, you get to spend a bulk of your time in this space each day, which is enough reason to create the best desk set up for productivity. Everyone deserves to have a great desk set up and with the ideas shared in this post, you can get started on creating your ideal desk set up.