1. The old standard environment, which consisted of little more than a desk, a chair, and a phone, is just not helping people do their best work anymore.
2. In the last decade, there have been great advances in how companies use workspaces to inspire excellent work.
3. Make simple changes to improve productivity and set you up for success such as modular furniture, quiet spaces, and improved natural lighting.
There are several ways you can alter the physical environment to change the way you work. You might not be able to change the state of your building, but you can make small changes to certain workspaces or rooms that make a big difference. You don’t have to spend a ton of money to completely change or replace your existing environment—you can work with what you have to create a space more conducive to improved focus. Here are some easy ways to improve your workspace:
1) Standing or walking desks. These are great if you are working on a project that doesn’t require you to be isolated. Employees can use those for phone calls or emails. Another option is bar stools at high tables. You can just lean on them and have a conversation.
2) Change of scenery. When possible and appropriate, try to get away from the desk. Hold walking meetings to enjoy a few minutes of fresh air outside. Even moving a meeting off site to a local coffee shop can get the blood flowing in a way sitting around a desk never can.
3) Meditation rooms. Some progressive companies offer meditation rooms with comfortable chairs and background music. Employees can come in to close their eyes and take a break in a very quiet place to work on mindfulness or meditation. If no such space exists, employees can create their own by putting on headphones, positioning their chairs so they are facing away from door, or finding a place in the building—maybe in a warehouse or meeting room—where they can go to disconnect.
4) Power fuel. Make sure the vending machines in your break spaces offer some healthy options. The typical standard garbage you get in and around office buildings can literally make you sick. Think about what options you can provide so people get the nutrition they need for optimal performance. If possible, provide free healthy snacks to give employees incentives to make better food choices.
5) Natural light. Lighting also can play an important role in workspaces. Natural light is far better for people than fluorescent lighting. Simply introducing plants into an office environment improves physical and mental health.
6) Create your home office. I also encourage you to create a home office space that replicates some of these elements. With the growing opportunity for more and more people to work from home, it’s crucial to have an environment that inspires you to do amazing work. If you are a person who frequently works remotely, it can help to also have a road warrior kit you can take on the road. Equip yourself with high-quality headphones, perhaps a journal or other meditation device—anything you need to create an environment where you can focus fully on your tasks.
We need to make sure that whatever we are trying to accomplish, the environment reflects that. For example, if you must be on a phone call, then go into an office or a boardroom and close the door so you’re not disrupting everybody else around you. If you have to do some collaborative work, then get into a space where you can throw things up on the wall and be engaged with the people around you. It’s all about engineering your environment and using the power of ergonomics to make sure you can get your very best work done in the easiest possible way.
Today’s Habit: Do Not Disturb
How did last week’s “Do Not Disturb” habit go? Did you find it difficult? Maybe you got a sense of relief that you didn’t receive notifications for a brief period.
We’re going to continue with the same habit this week. During Power Work, turn off all notifications by silencing your phone, turning off desktop notifications, and closing all windows that aren’t necessary for your work.
Keep up the good work!