It’s a fact that you may be aware of or not, but where you work can have a huge impact on if you’re able to stay focused and productive at your job. In fact, the design of your office can have a large influence on productivity and the ability to focus.

Studies have shown that an employee’s physical environment can determine their ability to focus or not. In spite of studies, many workplaces maintain the status quo, expecting their employees to focus no matter what the office environment is like.

However, if you’re interested, we’ve put together some tips on how you can increase productivity and focus when you’re working, whether you work in a traditional office, or at home. Let’s get started.

1). Lighting

Lighting has a major impact on whether or not people are able to stay focused and productive at their work. However, it’s also often overlooked and the last thing to be considered when making office improvements.

Consider this: poor lighting can lease to people becoming tired and sleepy. It can also cause eyestrain, headaches and even make people irritable and unhappy.

Possible Solution:

  • If you work in traditional office: consider bringing your own lighting solution. You may want to consider natural light bulbs or even a light therapy device to help improve the lighting where you work.
  • If you work from home: be sure to open the curtains and blinds, open the windows and doors to let natural light flood into the room. If the light is too bright, just configure the curtains/blinds in such a way that enough natural light comes into the room to make you feel energetic. On cloudy days, consider using lamps and room lights to dispel the dark.

2). Chair & Table

Have you ever worked at a desk that just wasn’t comfortable or a good fit? This is another common problem when it comes to staying focused and productive at work. How can you be productive when you’re distracted by the need to constantly make adjustments to your workstation?

To help with this problem, consider checking your desk and chair against these ergonomic guides:

  • Eyes: should be 24-36 inches from the computer screen, with the top of the monitor placed below or at eye-level.
  • Feet:  should be on a footrest or placed on the floor.
  • Chair: should be slightly reclined to help reduce pressure on the spine and lower the chances of developing back pain.

Possible Solution:

  • If you work at a traditional office, then request an adjustable chair. You can also bring pillows to cushion your seat or provide support for your lower back. Your company may also be able to provide a riser for your computer screen, and more if you ask.
  • If you work from home: then it’s time to invest in a good office chair or invest in some pillows to make your current chair comfortable and a better fit. Here, too, you might want to invest in a riser for your computer screen and placing a footrest under your feet to be more comfortable and reduce back and other strain issues.

3). Clutter

Is your desk or workspace a mess and cluttered? This could have a huge impact on staying focused and productive. When you work in a mess, your mind is distracted, especially when you have to find that crucial lost folder that has business data your boss needs right now!

Possible Solution:

  • If you work in a traditional office: even if your office environment is a mess and there’s not much you can do about that, you do have control over your own workspace. Keep your desk and work area clean and free of clutter. In fact, make this a habit. Every morning and evening, make sure to put everything away where it belongs. Put folders in the file cabinet, and throw away anything that’s not needed. Then you won’t have the distraction of working in a messy environment.
  • If you work from home: here, again, your environment may not be entirely in your control if you live with a partner, kids, and pets. If you have a place where you work, then keep this area cleaned and organised. When you have time, help to keep the rest of the house clean and in order. Just a few minutes spent every day will make sure your workspace and the house are kept clean and will stay more organised.

4). Room Colour

Research has shown that colours can have a drastic effect on how we think and feel. Not only that, but colours also cause certain physical and emotional reactions. We may not even aware of how the colours in our workspace affect us.The colour blue, for example, has been said to make people more productive.

Possible Solution:

  • If you work in a traditional office: you might bring things to work that are in colours that make you feel more energetic, happy and focused. This can include anything such as postcards from favourite trips, small knick knacks in your favourite colours, etc.
  • If you work from a home office: here, if the colours in your work area seem to bring you down, consider painting the walls, adding pops of colour to your desk, or adding artwork and pictures with colours that make you feel good.

5). Noise Levels

Noise levels can cause distractions when you’re working. If someone’s having an argument, or perhaps the kids are playing loudly in another room, you may find it too difficult to stay focused on work. Some people require a quiet space to work, so they can focus and stay calm. It’s a fact that noise can and does increase stress levels. Remember that loud argument at work?

Possible Solution:

  • If you work in a traditional office: it may be helpful to wear active noise cancelling headphones when you work. You might also consider using services such as Spotify to choose music and sounds that help you stay more focused. Or you may see if it’s possible to work in a more quiet environment at your company. It doesn’t hurt to ask.
  • If you work from home: here, again, you may need to invest in a good pair of active noise cancelling headphones and use a music service to help reduce distracting noises. Some people even find it helpful to use sound services that mimic the background noise of a coffee shop. Find what works for you when it comes to reducing and controlling sounds at home.

The goal is to find what works best for you. Use those methods and tools that make you more comfortable and help you focus and stay productive when you work.