We all know people who seem to be able to work from anywhere. Kids tee-ball game? An excuse to catch up on email. Exercise bike? Perfect time for some reading. However, quite a few of us don't operate that way. Those who seem to excel at these random remote working locations however can still benefit by thinking more about improving their physical work spaces.
In your life -- almost inevitably -- you will work a significant number of hours. According to a study by the Network for Comfort and Energy Use in Buildings, workspace layout has an impact on satisfaction, perceived health and productivity. If you work in a place that's inspiring instead of distracting -- you may be more efficient, creative and even happier while working.
Whether you like quiet cafes in your neighborhood, a dedicated study nook in your home, or some kind of customized office space -- it's crucial that you create a work environment that suits your needs.
Here are a few tricks to enhancing your physical workspace -- and a few reasons why you should pay more attention to it.
Try de-cluttering, and cut out distractions when you can.
As a personal rule -- I never do serious work around friends or too much noise. Whenever I hear a conversation -- I get distracted and tend to listen in -- whether consciously or not. The random details I know about strangers' lives would shock you.
Clutter and physical objects can also impede your ability to focus on work. When you overwhelm your visual cortex with irrelevant objects -- it can be hard for your brain to properly allocate attention. If you are constantly distracted by a dirty plate sitting next to your computer -- this is time lost instead of getting your work done.
Keeping a clutter-free workspace and being in environments where outer noise will not distract you lets you devote more attention to the work at hand. An even greater benefit is that it boosts your productivity.
You can use your space to maximize memory and association.
When you work or learn something in a specific place -- your brain may associate that location with working and focus. It's the reason why usually when I arrive at my office my brain is prepared to start working. Each time I enter my bedroom -- I tend to feel more relaxed or even get drowsy.
If you have a big presentation coming up, for example, it can be helpful to practice in spaces similar to the one you'll present in. Sit in the seat you'll be sitting in -- and walk up to the podium. You'll be amazed how those simple actions settle your system for the day you speak.
Additionally, setting up a consistent workspace that you are comfortable in will prime your brain to work each time you get there.
This reduces the amount of time it takes you to focus in on the tasks at hand once you get started. It'll help you stay focused all day long.
Scenery can increase well being.
A study by Nature.com found that inhabitants of more scenic environments report better health. Given that you spend so much time working -- it can be beneficial to add scenery to your environment.
Whether you bring plants to the office, work near a park, or find a space with a nice view -- it's good for you. Try bringing nature into your work environment and feel the boost in happiness and health.
You can stimulate creativity by changing up your location.
While finding a singular workspace boosts focus and primes your brain for focus work -- having spaces designated for collaboration and creativity is also helpful.
Collaboration not only boosts team morale, but also sparks innovative problem solving by getting different perspectives. If you're stuck in a mental fog, and looking for ideas, try working around people. This will actually help you those days.
Additionally, try a new location and you'll be more aware of your surroundings -- from objects to lighting. I remember coming up with a creative solution to a problem at work while at a new coffee shop. I think the different people and colorful murals on the walls inspired me.
Find what works best for you.
Each person needs a slightly different space to be productive and creative. A developer colleague of mine can work with lots of other people in the room. He says the "peer pressure" forces him not to slack.
Certain things like organization, plants, and quiet are helpful in any workspace. You'll want to experiment and discover the perfect combination of inspirational atmospheres that work best for you. You may even surprise yourself with greater levels of positivity and productivity.