Did you know that office comfort directly impacts workplace productivity? Well, it does. According to Jacqueline Vischer, a professor in the Department of Environmental Design at the University of Montreal, addressing physical comfort needs, including quality of light, air, and sound, has an immediate and direct impact on worker output.
For instance, a 2014 IPSOS and Steelcase survey found that workers lose 86 minutes a day due to distractions. Distractions typically come from two sources. First, workers who aren’t comfortable are often distracted because they find it difficult to concentrate on the task at hand. Secondly, discomfort often causes workers to indulge in time-wasting behaviors to run down the lock.
Unfortunately, the number of distractions is even higher in home office environments. Whether it’s the subconscious need to watch the kids or increased temptation to take “that” nap, your brain is constantly bombarded with distractive thoughts.
So, how can you overcome these temptations? How can you make your home office more comfortable and conducive for maximum productivity? We’ve got a few practical ideas to consider.
1. Organize the space to minimize distractions
This might seem obvious, but it’s very important as clutter regularly distracts the mind. Moreover, you may occasionally organize the space during office time, thus lowering productivity. So, thoroughly clean the area, remove everything you don’t need, and invest in organizers, such as desk organizers and extra cabinets to keep the place open and “breathable.”
2. Get the right chair
Once you have an organized office, get the right chair. The chair accounts for 50% of your comfort in the office because you spend more than 70% of the time sitting. So, you want to find the best chair possible. Otherwise, you should prepare for endless headaches, back pain, fatigue, and neck stiffness, all of which negatively impact productivity. We recommend prioritizing the adjustability, lumbar support, and cushioning.
3. Invest in the right lighting
Constant exposure to harsh or inadequate lighting takes a big toll on employee mood. It can also impact employee health by subjecting them to constant headaches. Above all, poor lighting often causes employees to strain their eyes. Straining slows down workers. So, invest in proper lighting that allows you to work comfortably. Natural light is the best, so make sure to sit near a big window. Additionally, invest in overhead lighting and lamps for the days (or periods) when sunlight is unavailable.
4. Keep the air conditions comfortable
Overly hot or cold conditions are bad for office comfort. For instance, some studies show that productivity drops by 4% per degree when office temperatures rise above 27°C (80°F). For this reason, we recommend keeping the temperatures to optimal body comfort levels, i.e., between 69.8°F and 77°F. You can achieve this by investing in space heaters, an air conditioner, and fans. Also, keep a humidifier/dehumidifier close to ensure the room isn’t too dry or too moist.
5. Personalize the space
Humans feel most comfortable in spaces customized for their unique tastes and needs. For instance, you’re likely to be more productive in a room painted in your favorite colors. Similarly, your out will go through the roof if the room is decorated with your favorite accessories. A cozy and beautiful rug on the floor and your favorite artwork on the wall will also make your home office more comfortable.
6. Make it smell good
Scent has a powerful influence on humans. It is handled by the olfactory bulb, the structure in the front of the brain that transmits information to the brain for further processing. Additionally, smells directly route to the amygdala and hippocampus, two regions related to emotion and memory. Therefore, working in an environment with pleasant smells puts you in a good mood and makes it easier to recall.
7. Hang some plants for greater comfort
Okay, you don’t have to hang them; you can even place plant pots at the corner or have smaller ones on your desk. The point is that plants can greatly benefit your productivity in the office. First off, plants oxygenate the air, meaning you’ll breathe easier. Secondly, plants are decorative. They make the space more beautiful. Finally, indoor plants such as cacti clean the air by removing toxins. Overall, office plants improve productivity by 15%.
8. Create a flexible workstation
The culture of workplace flexibility is spreading like wildfire. In fact, it’s the main reason many organizations and employees are moving to work-from-home arrangements in the first place. One of the steps to adopting a flexible workplace culture is to make your workstation flexible. For instance, consider standing desks to take the pressure off your lower back. Or invest in an adjustable desk that allows you to go from sitting to standing and vice versa.
Working from home is the perfect way to boost productivity while avoiding commute costs and enjoying a greater work-life balance. However, it’s all pointless if you’re working from a dingy, cramped-out, and right-out uncomfortable environment. Fortunately, it’s not too difficult to make your home office more comfortable.