10 Steps to Creating a Relaxed Workspace
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Workers can become more productive and healthy through relaxed workspaces.
Many workers have to confess that they feel uptight when they sit in their offices. While their co-workers and the job requirements may put stress on them, many individuals feel stressed because their office environments are not conducive to getting a job done in a productive manner. In fact, poor workspace design may cause a great amount of the stress that people feel. Applying Zen principles to the workspace can lower stress and improve productivity. Follow these steps to create a relaxed, productive workspace.
The first step that people may want to take is to clean out the clutter. The key is to create an organizational system so that everything in the office has a space of its own. Creating functional zones in the office often increases productivity. Individuals may want to think about the different things that they do each day, like computer work, paperwork, bookkeeping, reading, and order processing. Then, workers may want to decide what equipment they need in each zone to accomplish the task assigned to it and assign a physical location for each area. Remember that furniture that once fit the needs of a workspace may need to be replaced with pieces that better meet one's current needs.
People should gather one box for each of their work zones plus one for trash. They should sort everything into boxes while putting trash in the extra receptacle. Each item should have a dedicated home. As workers put things away, they may discover that different or new furniture makes the space more workable. They should decide where wastebaskets belong so that they are always within easy reach.
Now that workers have organized their offices and removed the clutter, it may be time for them to bring in some plants. Incorporating nature into their environments helps workers relax. Plants also clean the air as they help reduce dust and raise relative humidity. Spider plants that may help clean the air of allergens may be perfect for high shelves and hanging baskets. Workers may find air plants one of the easiest to raise as they do not even need soil. These plants only need to be dunked under water for about 150 minutes every 10 days. Succulents may be great for a sunny window in an office because they like dry air and only need to be watered about once a week. Bamboo plants grow upright, so they may be great for tight space, and they add feng shui to an office space. Another great way to bring nature into one’s workspace is with natural light bulbs. A Himalayan salt rock tea light holder is a great product for imbuing one’s surroundings with a warm, natural glow.
It may be time for workers to think about making the air smell great once they have a clean, healthy workspace. A good way to do this may be to use essential oils in a diffuser. Individuals who need better clarity in their thinking may want to try sage in the diffuser alone. Some people may want to create their own favorite blends from a variety of different essential oils, helping set a certain mood in the office. Putting a few drops of bergamot, frankincense, and lavender in the diffuser may help everyone feel more positive. Alternatively, some workers may want to put a few drops of lavender, ylang-ylang, and bergamot in the diffuser to help keep them calm. Brewing a cup of fragrant tea is another way to reap the benefits of aromatherapy while enjoying a delicious, calming beverage.
Many people find that they complete some tasks better while listening to relaxing music. Workers need to respect corporate rules and wear headphones if they are working near others. Some studies suggest that listening to songs that include sounds from nature is particularly helpful in raising cognitive functioning and improving concentration. Other studies suggest that individuals can increase their productivity when doing mundane tasks by listening to music that they enjoy. Research suggests that the best music for work does not contain lyrics as the words become distracting. Some studies show that listening to music with about 60 beats per minute can reduce stress while raising productivity.
The average office worker spends about 10 hours a day sitting down, so it may follow that if his or her chair is not comfortable, he or she will feel more stress. Ideally, chairs should be picked out that fit each worker by having each person sit in and test them first. Unfortunately, that may not be practical, so a person should look for a chair that has good lumbar support and is highly customizable. Workers may want to look for chairs that distribute their weight evenly across the entire chair. Chairs with seat and back height adjustments may help workers’ upper torsos experience less stress. Chairs with tilting mechanisms may help reduce stress on people’s legs.
Many workers find that adding a tabletop water fountain to their offices helps them feel less stress. Some studies suggest that the sound of a water fountain can block out other sounds in the workplace that may prove stressful. Putting a drop or two of stress-reducing essential oils, like sage, lavender, rose, or chamomile, in the fountain can help spread the aroma throughout the room. Workers should be careful, however, do not use too much, or they may damage the fountain's motor. Some studies even suggest that a fountain with a light helps add moisture to the office space, helping relieve the stress of dry air on the skin.
Many people sleep with a fan on because of the white noise that it creates. Some scientists suggest that white noise may help workers be more productive in the office as well. The noise of the fan may help block out other noises in the environment that may be distracting to workers. Furthermore, some areas of the office may be warmer than others are, so using a fan can help keep warmer regions cooler. Some people report that air circulation helps them think better since the air circulates instead of becoming stuffy.
Workers often find that it helps to place personal mementos in their workplace, according to many studies. For example, adding pictures of family members often helps people remember why they are putting in their best efforts at work. Hanging a favorite piece of art can help create a focal point to look at when someone needs to do some deep thinking. Some individuals may find that surrounding themselves with a favorite color boosts their moods. Using mirrors in small areas may make them seem bigger and more welcoming. Adding an item that once belonged to a mentor in the office may encourage workers to exhibit those same qualities.
Eking out time when workers are not disturbed can be difficult in the workplace. Yet, it may be essential for jobs that require deep concentration. Some people find it useful to set a time everyday to block all visitors. Others may find that putting a sign on the door saying when they will be available again is helpful. Some workers may find it less stressful to perform jobs that usually cause them stress when they know that they will not be interrupted.
Following these steps may allow workers to create a cozy workspace that is relaxed instead of filled with stress. Many studies suggest that anxiety in the workplace greatly decreases productivity. Therefore, creating a Zen atmosphere in an office allows workers to give their best performances.