How to Set Up an Office to Promote Productivity

by Brooklin Nash

How do I stay productive at my job? The question is almost timeless – it’s at least as old as the oldest job in the world. Of course, the question is made more complicated in the age where working at an office desk is the norm.

Sitting at a desk all day long can get tiring. However, if you set up your space just right, it doesn’t have to be. In fact, a few small changes can make major differences in maximizing performance and productivity.”

~ Rose Leadem, writing for Entrepreneur magazine

Whether you are anticipating your first day in the corporate office or figuring out how remain productive while working remotely, the key is to prepare ahead of time. As the saying goes, failing to plan is the same thing as planning to fail.

The good news is there are plenty of great ideas floating around the interwebs about how to set up an office to promote productivity. We’ve distilled them into a handful of actionable tips that you can take this week. Even if you put just one or two into place, you are sure to see the difference in your productivity.

Tip #1: Set Up Your Environment How You Like It

Lighting, room color, temperature and noise level will all affect your productivity for better or for worse. If you can, introduce extra light to your workspace and change temperature how you like it. Adjust as much as you have control over. Get a throw blanket if you need to!

At the same time, you can try out a few desk hacks and see how they work for you. Using noise cancelling headphones, chewing gum, or using anti-stress toys are all great options.

Tip #2: Don’t Forget About Your Digital Tools

Setting up your office space to stay productive isn’t just about the physical space. There are dozens of productivity apps that will help you stay on top of your projects and keep your attention focused.

Collaboration tools can help communication with teammates. Notification and website blocking apps will keep your attention where it needs to be, especially when you’re in deadline mode. Time trackers can help you review how you spend your time. Finally, task management apps will work as a visual reminder of what you have each day or week.

Tip #3: Move Around Whenever Possible

If you have the option, work from a different space every so often. Even taking 30 minutes to hash out that pesky email in the breakroom could give you a much needed break from your cubicle or typical workspace.

It’s not like you need an open office plan to make this work. Make do with what you have! Even if you can’t work in another spot, make sure you get up and walk around every couple of hours to keep the blood flowing.

Whatever you do, make sure you introduce a rhythm to your motion. Keeping a schedule that includes movement is a great way to promote productivity. For example, you can organize your work into 90-minute sprints, taking scheduled breaks each time you complete a time block. Limiting yourself to these windows will help you stay in a flow state.

Brooklin Nash writes about the latest tools and small business trends for TrustRadius. When he’s not writing, you can find him reading YA dystopian fiction (with guilty pleasure) and cooking.