Did you know that where you work can affect your productivity? We’re not talking about the company you may work for! Instead, we’re referring to the environment that you within. The fact is that your workspace, be it at home or in an office setting, can have a dramatic effect on your productivity levels.

We’ve put together some design tips on how to improve both your workspace and increase your productivity.

1). Room colour: colours can drastically affect our moods and how well our brains function. Colours have been shown that colours can cause a physical, as well as an emotional response. Working in a room or space that’s the right colour could possibly increase your productivity and make you feel better about your work.

For instance, blue has been shown to increase productivity, while red can make people nervous and decrease productivity (remember that big red F on your science homework in school and how it made you feel?). Yellow is energizing and helps people collaborate; however, this colour can wear you out, so it’s best to use it in small doses, such as colour accents.

2). Noise level: can have a drastic impact on productivity. Some people like to work in noisy environments, while others find too much noise to be distracting. Too much sound can also increase stress levels. If you’re feeling edgy and stressed, it’s almost impossible remain productive.

  • If you work in an office, invest in a good pair active noise cancellation headphones. These will help to block or at least lower the noise around you. You can then choose to listen to music or white noise that helps you to relax and focus.
  • When working at your home office, quiet can be too much for you. It can be just as distracting as too much noise. To get around this issue, listen to recordings that reproduce background sounds such as a coffee shop or a café. Or use those noise cancelling headphones and listen to some upbeat music that help you focus on your work.

3). Air quality: this is another issue that can disrupt your focus and productivity, as poor air quality tends to make us more tired, and we lose the ability to focus.

  • If you work in an office, ask if it’s possible to install air filters, or if there’s a way to bring in fresh air through doors and windows. You can also choose to bring in a personal air filter for your desk or office. You might also ask if it’s possible to bring a fan to help keep air moving. Air cleaning plants may also be a good idea for your workspace.
  • If you work from home, keep doors and windows open when possible, to allow fresh air into the room. You can also install an air filter in the room. And those air cleaning plants will also be a great addition and help improve the air quality of your home office space.

4). Room scents: the way a room smells, along with its air quality, can affect productivity levels, too. Just like colours, our sense of smell can affect your mood, how you think, etc.

  • If you’re working in an office, ask management if it would be possible to add scented candles to your workspace. Scents such as pine, cinnamon, lavender, peppermint or citrus can wake up your mind and your mood. Keep in mind that you may have coworkers who have allergies or a condition such as vasomotor rhinitis (non-allergic rhinitis). These people are not able to always cope with scents and perfumes, as these make their conditions worse. In fact, scents and perfumes can cause life-threatening reactions. So, it may not be possible to introduce air fresheners into your workspace. Always check in advance to see if you can bring scented items. If not, then avoid this solution, so you don’t make other sick.
  • If you’re working at home, if you and your loved ones are OK with scents and perfumes, then use candles, essential oils or incense to improve the smell of your work area. Keep in mind that adding some scented products to the air can actually lower air quality, such as sprays, etc.

5). Room temperature: can also drastically affect productivity. If you’re too hot or too cold, it’s difficult to concentrate and get work done. Optimal temperatures for most offices are from 65-68 F.

  • If you’re in an office, chances are the temperature is controlled by your employer. If you’re too cold, ask if it’s possible to bring a space heater to stay warm. You might also add additional layers with a sweater and lap blankets to stay warmer. If you’re too hot, this can be trickier. Ask if it’s possible to bring a fan to work to keep your space a little cooler. You can also use ice packs, cooled pillows, etc. to help you stay at a more comfortable temperature.
  • If you’re working at home, open windows as needed, adjust the air conditioning or the heat to keep your workspace at comfortable temperature. In winter, you can also add on extra layers or use a space heater. In summer, if the air conditioning can’t be set cold enough, you may find it useful to use a fan to help cool you down.

6). Idea storage: yes, you read that correctly! If you’ve ever been focused on your work, but are suddenly struck with a great idea, what do you do? This is usually distracting, and the tendency may be to bat it away until later; however, when later comes, the idea is gone. Instead it’s best to save ideas when they happen, so you can address them later. It can be helpful to have a place to store the idea for later consideration.

For working in an office or at home: keep these nearby:

  • Chalk wall board
  • White board
  • Notebook & pen/pencil
  • Recording device (such as your smartphone)

These are all great implements to catch an idea when you’re in the middle of something else. It only takes a few seconds to write down your idea, and maybe a couple of important keywords. Then you can refer back to them when you have more time. You don’t lose productivity and you don’t lose what could be great ideas.

7). Refreshment: your brain works pretty hard to stay focused, so you may need a little light refreshment to give your brain some much needed energy.

  • If you’re working at an office, try opting for some pre-made healthy snacks. Junk food can give you a burst of energy, but that quickly wears off, leaving you empty. The temptation is to reach for more junk food, in a never-ending cycle. Instead, opt for healthy snacks that give you energy. Make use of the coffee, tea and water that your company may provide, too.
  • If you’re working form home, again it can be helpful to keep some pre-made, healthy snacks near your desk. This way you won’t lose time or focus walking into the kitchen for something to eat. It’s also helpful to keep a bottle of water on hand near your workspace.

These are a few tips to help you stay focused and productive while you work. There are options for when you work from an office or from home—we’ve got you covered. Sometimes it may take a little experimenting to find the best combination of solutions, so don’t give up. Mix and match these tips until you find the best options to increase your productivity.