The best ways to optimise your workspace for productivity

October 28, 2021

Most of our day is spent sitting at our desk, or in our workspace. At Gilbanks, we firmly believe that wellbeing at work strongly correlates with maximising productivity and performance, therefore the physical area where we work should be an important consideration. Whether it’s the choice of ergonomic furniture or the use of breakout space, there are plenty of ways to ensure our workspace is optimised so we can be at our best. 

Airflow and temperature

Make sure your office has the right combination of airflow, ventilation, temperature and humidity. The air quality within an office can have a significant impact on your health, so consider the placement of plants within your workspace too. 

Lighting

The character and quality of lighting in your workspace can help increase productivity. Poor office lighting can reduce energy, dampen your mood, produce eyestrain and headaches and ultimately impair your ability to work effectively. Many offices have ambient lighting that includes overhead lights, but it’s a mistake to think that those alone will suffice. Existing ambient lighting is not designed for functional performance in an office environment. 

We recommend avoiding working under the direct glare of overhead lights. Instead, these should be diffused to better illuminate your workspace. The goal is to illuminate the entire space without creating undue glare or contrast, while avoiding casting shadows.

Furthermore, task lighting for computer work, paperwork or other focus-intensive tasks can create a well-defined light source dedicated specifically to what you’re doing. 

Water & refreshments

Another helpful tip is to increase your water consumption throughout the day, which helps to improve your sleep quality and energy levels, as well as your clarity of mind, awareness and alertness. Ensuring the bottle is always full can be beneficial for your work. 

There’s nothing wrong with coffee or tea either, having refreshments throughout the day helps keep you focussed and also gives you a valuable break away from your desk, and also lead to those every-important chance-encounters at the coffee machine. 

Decrease distractions

The fewer distractions disturbing your work, the better quality your work will be. Putting your phone on ‘do-not-disturb’ will silence notifications that can take your focus away from what you’re doing. 

Storage

Tidy desk, tidy mind! Desk organisation might not seem like a productivity hack at first, but there’s research that supports this claim. A desk area that’s scattered with papers, files and random items has been proven to increase procrastination, hindering tasks and deterring productivity. Humans enjoy order and organisation and when we have a messy space to work in, our brains are overloaded and distracted. Attempting to focus on too many stimulants can cause stress and anxiety, slowing down performance. 

So, file away those papers and documents. A proper labelling system will help delegate where you can store and retrieve information and with a clearer desk, you’re less likely to be distracted by clutter. This also helps translate into our final tip below!

Make your space visually appealing

Take five minutes at the end of the day to organise your desk and workspace. It will make for a more positive mood the next morning and mean you can get on with your days’ tasks with no distractions from yesterday or the day before. 

Several studies have concluded that the visual aesthetic of your workspace can affect your brain in different ways. More colour introduced from desk objects can take away an inner-sense of calm, while simplified, more calm hues can improve your efficiency and focus hour-to-hour – an important challenge when meeting deadlines.