Whether you work from home or at an office, your work space influences your productivity / creativity considerably. I’ve come across quite a number of Tech. geeks who think they don’t really have to worry about occupational hazards and their work space but experience tells me otherwise. This our niche called Tech. comes with its fair share of perils. Let’s face it, a good number of us are guilty of at least one of the following:
- Sitting on a spot for hours at a stretch and repeating this cycle over weeks, months or years
- Not exercising regularly
- Not eating right or promptly (junk doesn’t count as food you know)
- Working around loud noise (like generators), in a tight or hot space
- Not getting adequate rest or sleep
- Interacting with one gadget or the other for most of the day ( this is so me 🙂 )
- Unhealthy habits like drinking, smoking, using drugs, not having regular showers etc
- Exposing our eyes to phone or computer monitors for a long period of time
If you’re guilty of any then don’t feel bad, you’re actually in good company and we can help each other out.
Whether you’re looking to work from home, for someone at an office or setup your private office, your work space is really crucial to the well being of you and your staff. You don’t necessarily have to blow your budget but just need to make some right choices. Here are 5 tips for setting up an ideal work space.
1. Let there be light….but not too much!
As a Tech. geek, you should not take your eyes for granted. We cause untold strain to our eyes by constantly gazing at screens. The problem isn’t too much light alone but dim lights too because working or reading in dim light is equally injurious to your eyes. For your work-place monitors, ensure the screens are neither too bright nor too dim.
When planning for the lighting of your work space, ensure to fit enough electric-powered lights so the room is well lit; after all, its a work space not a Photographer’s Darkroom. You should also plan for working with natural light in case of a power outage, this is where your window blinds and furniture arrangement come in. Your arrangement should allow maximum natural light filter in.
2. Indoor plants are your friend…really!
In my previous post on the benefits of indoor plants to Tech. geeks, I emphasized why an indoor plant is a must-have. Apart from the aesthetic benefits, plants help purify the air. If you think the air you breathe is safe because you’re always indoors or use an air conditioner then I’m happy to inform you (for your own benefit) that you’re wrong. The air indoors is polluted with fumes from furniture, paint, plastics, electronics, chemicals etc but indoor plants can help absorb these toxic components.
When selecting an indoor plant, its important you consider placing them where natural light can easily reach them and go for rugged plants i.e those that can flourish with minimal care. I recommend Dracaena Species here. While indoor Palm palm plants look exotic and breathe life aesthetically, they aren’t so easy to maintain..at least not for me. I had a Golden Palm plant that I was so proud of
Unfortunately, children and pets seem to find palm frond plucking amusing and injury leaves such plants prone to pest attack (white scale protected mealy bugs). That and the palm plant required a lot of attention e.g sufficient water, light, pruning off dead fronds etc. Summary is that I lost the palm plant despite giving it the most attention while my two Dracaena Species are flourishing with minimal care.
3. Give yourself some space…say NO to clutter!
Working in a cluttered space not only inhibits air circulation but could have an overwhelming feeling which could negatively impact your workflow. A cluttered space ultimately translates to an untidy look. When discussing the need for lots of space in office designs or interior decor, its easy to assume that you’re being asked to get a bigger work space but this isn’t always the case. I’ll use an analogy i’m pretty sure you can relate to.
When packing your clothes into your travelling bag, are you able to fit more clothes in when you just stuff them in or when you fold them neatly. Of course you optimize space better when you fold neatly. Nature has used this several times (even at the molecular level) so why shouldn’t you?
The idea here isn’t for you to get a larger work space; rather, its to optimize your arrangement so you can carve out more free space. Tweak your arrangement so it occupies less space and please, get rid of clutter. The strange thing is that some people say they work better in a cluttered work space than in a neatly arranged one but they are really few in number.
4. If you must sit for hours, at least sit right
If you pay close attention to yourself, chances are that you have some form of back ache from time to time as a result of sitting for several hours. While you might not have much control over how long you have to work (and therefore have to sit), you can influence your work chair and table.
It would surprise you to know that one of the reasons you easily get tired / stressed out at work is due to a bad sitting posture or not taking some time off to stretch. You as a person might have a good (upright) sitting posture but will end up with a bad sitting posture in the wrong chair / table.
Its important that the table is of a comfortable height so you don’t have to arch your back or type at shoulder level (and cut blood flow to your arms in the process) during use. Its also important that the chair is able to support and keep your back near upright when you rest it. It should give just a slight slant backwards, not tend towards 45 degrees….unless you have a massive pot belly 🙂 .
5. Find yourself a distraction…they aren’t always bad
Your work space doesn’t have to look all worky. I strongly recommend taking short breaks from work to stretch or relax your mind because it not only helps you stay sharp but could help you find motivation when those creative juices are just not flowing.
Your distraction could be art works, a muted TV, a nice view…in fact, any sight that can make you feel good or get your mind off work for a little while. Distractions could also come in form of a beautifully designed office / work space. It is important that this distraction doesn’t impede your work, rather, it be an escape when you really need one.