With the coronavirus running rampant, many businesses and people are forced to make some drastic life changes. Some people are out of a job while some have to work from home. Worse, some people are in bed sick with the coronavirus itself.
And while these are difficult times for all of us, I know that not many people are used to this dramatic change. For those of us in good health and are still able to work, we might miss our familiar office space.
Or maybe your work space is bland and you’re looking for a way to improve your work space. Whatever the case is, our work space is incredibly valuable. It is where all the work is done of course, but it also influences how much work we can do as well.
Research has shown time and again how noises, room temperature, and lighting impacts our own productivity. But this can also stretch to the various items that we have as well.
A desk fan can keep us cool, but the noise can break our concentration if we’re not used to the droning sound of fans.
Colder rooms cause us to use more energy and keep ourselves awake, but maybe not all that productive due to our shivering.
There are many items that we can pick from that will have varying effects on our mindset and productivity. But I’ll be focusing on particular items that not only are budget-friendly but don’t have as harsh side-effects on productivity.
Posters, canvases are simple ways of sprucing up any work space. There are plenty of stores around that provide all kinds of artwork for you to be hanging up.
Some other perks to hanging your own artwork is that it’s a change and adds some excitement to your space. After all, many houses and office spaces in general favour a strict one colour.
When there are other colours involved, we can find energy or draw emotions from a particular artwork.
The only problem is that when it comes to office or work space, I find many people stick to a generic piece of work.
What I mean is the various posters with “Positive Vibes Only” or “Rise and Grind” written on them. They’re not bad posters, but I think it’s important to find something that speaks more to you.
Again, you want the artwork to energize you and make you feel something. For me, I don’t feel anything when reading those words let alone having to see them every day.
Of course, if that’s your thing then all the power to you.
But if you’re like me, I’ve got another option you can consider. I had a company called Photo Wall reach out to me recently. Photo Wall is a wall art company based out of Sweden. They provide posters and canvases with hundreds of thousands of options to choose from. They also have wall murals, and wallpaper options if you want to go bigger. There is also a custom feature allowing you to submit a picture and have it converted to one of those options as well.
As someone who is looking for more options to pick from beyond a franchise store, this is a good option. Even with the coronavirus going around, they can ship these pieces to various countries.
Unfortunately, at the time of writing this, I can’t show off my order to you all. Shipping directly to Canada wasn’t an option and the border between Canada and the US is closed due to the virus.
Still, if you fortunate enough to live in one of the many countries they can ship to, I’d go for it. Best of all, if you input the code ericscott2020, you can get 25% off your order from now until the end of April 2020.
Probably the most expensive item on this list, ergonomic chairs are essential. If you are working at a desk, you need a comfy chair. What also helps is a chair that will improve your posture too.
There is a lot of research coming out with how ergonomic furniture overall will reduce work injuries. This research paper summarizes that and expands on ergonomic furniture helping.
But the catch with this is that an ergonomic chair isn’t cheap. The chair I work in is worth almost $300 and it’s money well spent. However, I know not many people have the option to buy an expensive chair. So here are some cheaper options that you can consider.
As a writer who sits at a desk a lot of the time, I’ve come to learn how important posture is. Not only does poor posture impact your health, but the pain can hinder productivity later down the road.
One thing I want to work in my apartment is plants. Plants can provide all kinds of benefits depending on what sort of plant you have.
And there are plants that will boost productivity too.
What’s nice about many common plants you find in stores is they are also easy to raise. There are many that are low-maintenance and provide tonnes of benefits to you. And if you can’t be bothered about it, you can always go with rubber trees or flora.
A Vision Board
I’ve spoken about vision boards before and stand by that these are helpful tools when you use them properly. Consider them an improvised poster of sorts and as a reminder for what you are working towards.
I think it’s important that we have our goals in sight whether written or on display. So having this around in whatever form you wish is good and cheap.
Work Space Ritual
A work space ritual can be many things. For some people, it can be an activity while others can make it an item. With this in mind, I’m counting this as an option because it is so flexible and meaningful.
We all have rituals for when we get up in the morning. But have you considered the ritual of what you do to get to work? For many, it’s an automatic thing that we don’t think about, but I would challenge you to pay more attention to it.
Better yet, aim to change it a little.
Whatever our ritual is, for many people, they come to work unhappy and not as energized as they could be. The reasons can range, but it’s those reasons that drag us down all day.
I’d encourage people to improve their rituals in whatever ways you can. Whether that’s drinking from your favourite mug, or pumping yourself up while walking to your desk. Have something to energize you and get you excited.
After all, mindset is everything.
Another alternative to plants is air fresheners. If you’re not someone who loves the smell of plants, this is good because today there are all kinds of air fresheners out there.
You’ve got the product line from Febreeze, but you can also consider scented candles.
I also recall one of my classmates from college who made her house smell like coffee. All she did was put some coffee beans in several small cups of cooking oil and placed them around the house. I can imagine that logic can work with other herbs and spices that have strong scents.
The idea here is that you can make your space smell however you like. So pick out your favourite smell.
A glass of water or a handy canteen filled with nothing but water is another cheap item to consider. Everyone at least has a mug or a glass laying around and many of us have the luxury of clean water.
But availability isn’t the only reason to consider having this nearby. Often when we get wrapped up in work, we forget to drink water. I’m guilty of this as there are many occasions where I’m dehydrated without realizing it.
This can lead to headaches and other things that can hinder productivity too.
My argument for a water bottle is to ensure that we’re still getting our necessary dose of water. If you can train yourself to occasionally take sips from your water bottle, you won’t find it as much of a chore to do.
But when you inevitably have to go to the washroom, you can easily fill up your water bottle again.
While mugs or canteens are nice, I would encourage you to have an app on your phone to help remind you to drink water.
If you don’t want to do that, a pricier option is to get a HydrateSpark bottle. These are bottles that have an app that automatically keeps track of your water intake. Not only that, but it also lights up during the day if you’re behind on your water.
Yes, many of us are at desks and can conveniently type things in a word document, but I’d still argue to have these around. Not only can you find mad stacks of these at Dollar store, but they provide many benefits than you’d think.
For me personally, I use them to jot down my to-do lists. These to-do lists are essentially how I run my entire business. If I don’t use them, I become quickly unproductive (such is the case with what’s been happening due to recent events).
But outside of keeping you productive, these can serve as good reminders or important bits of information. I say this because while we are adept users of technology, it’s actually programmed us to place more precedence on things that we write down.
Think about it.
You’re more likely to remember to do something if you’ve written down and it’s staring at you the whole time. Compare this to a reminder on your phone which you can quickly press a button and it’ll vanish into the ether.
Writing out tasks or other details sticks out in our minds and we’re more likely to remember that. Not only that but we’re also sharpening our penmanship, a skill that’s dying due to many of us opting to use technology.
Other Items That Bring Colour
All of these items I’ve mentioned work wonders in many ways. But one overarching theme is that they all provide some level of colour to your space. Whether it’s art, your mug, post it notes, or your furniture, keeping consistent colours within that space can help.
What’s nice is that pretty much any item you want works within this space so long as it matches the theme.
Angela Wright, a colour psychologist, found that specific colours instill certain emotions within working spaces. She found that:
- Blue stimulates clear thought
- Yellow boosts creativity and lifts spirits
- Red physiologically affects the body and elevates one’s pulse
- Green creates a sense of calming balance
- Saturated, bright colours stimulate
- And softer, muted colours relax and soothe
Keep this in mind and bring in items that provide themes for your space but also the proper colour too.
Improve Your Work Space
Work space is your environment and everything that you put into it will have an impact on you and what you produce from it. With this in mind, you want to make sure you are putting in the things that excite you and energize you.
Apply this principle wherever you go work-wise. Ensure that the space you are in is a place where you can work and you want to work. By doing so, you’ll feel excited, productive, and be able to thrive no matter the circumstances.
To your growth!
Eric S Burdon