Productivity is a common struggle for office workers. You need to identify what’s causing wasted days and regular distraction to improve your performance. Is it lack of sleep, disinterest or bad habits? It could be — but it’s also likely that your workplace environment is hindering your efficiency.
With new technology and impressive time management software, you should harness your potential to be more productive than ever. But many factors in your office setting can get in your way. Here are four ways that your environment can be the source of your inefficiency.
Open-Office Floor Plans Hurt Workplace Interaction
Open-office floor plans seem like they should offer coworkers more camaraderie and freedom, but a Harvard study says otherwise. In-person communication dropped 70 percent in the observed workspaces, as employees turned to email and other digital methods to collaborate. Other toxic results of open offices include noise pollution, no alone time, increased distractions and exposure to diseases.
Rather than opening up a workplace, establish appropriate barriers and a balanced layout to increase efficiency. The quality of work and the level of effective collaboration can sky-rocket. An alternative to open-office floor plans is feng shui, an ancient Chinese practice. It can reduce stress through practical principles and provide a level of security that an open office doesn’t.
Certain Colors Hurt Your Focus
Colorless settings can sap the creativity and energy of employees. A University of Texas study found that interior office colors can affect workers differently based on their personal characteristics, but red in particular has an adverse and distracting effect on workers. Selecting the right color can help people be more productive and calm while establishing focus.
The key to an office color scheme is reducing saturation because the brightest colors attract attention and take the focus away from work. Blue, green and other low-wavelength colors may produce more attentiveness and efficiency. Consider repainting the office or placing cool colors around your workstation to change your level of productivity.
Clutter Can Tire Your Cognitive Functions
While a cluttered desk doesn’t necessarily mean your mind will be cluttered — take untidy geniuses like Albert Einstein, Steve Jobs and Mark Twain as examples — studies show that a surrounding mess can disrupt attention. While your brain can single out what you’re trying to focus on, a disorganized area filled with multiple items eventually becomes difficult to tune out. Your mind gets tired of blocking out the mess.
Cognitive abilities can slow when distracting objects are in sight, so clean up your desk for a better chance of a productive day. If you’re having trouble concentrating, look around for anything in view that could give you sensory overload. Besides being visually impactful, messy desks can cost you more wasted time and stress as you search for files and other possessions.
Lack of a Screen Background Can Decrease Productivity
A computer screen background isn’t the direct answer to your productivity problems, but it can help boost your efficiency. The psychology behind a helpful image is visualization, which can help you mentally prepare or refocus when you’re on the job. Pictures and visual cues can remind you of a goal and create a comforting or confidence-boosting environment.
Screen backgrounds can be a visual cue for you while you’re at work, and you can feature your source of inspiration on your desktop to remind yourself to stay on task. You might place a picture of your travels or an affirming quote as a background that can push you to be more self-controlled and efficient.
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Alter Your Environment and Increase Your Productivity
The setting you live and work in can impact you in unexpected ways, from your desktop background to a messy desk. These features might be the source of a lousy workday — and with a few changes, you can increase your likelihood for productive work. Create the best setting to improve your efficiency today.