With the rise of remote employment came a new working environment – the home office. People found themselves setting up their workspace in spare rooms, kitchen tables, and corners of the house. Creating a space that encourages productivity and comfort became a widespread goal for remote workers everywhere. After working from home for so long, those returning to the office may miss being able to control their working environment. However, even on-site workers can make small changes to revamp their office desk or cubicle.
An academic article by Procedia Engineering states, “Numerous studies have consistently demonstrated that characteristics of the physical office environment can have a significant effect on behavior, perceptions, and productivity of employees.”1 Factors that affect working environment include lighting, temperature, and noise levels. While everyone has different needs and preferences, there are numerous studies about how certain working environments can affect focus, productivity, energy, and quality of work.
According to Procedia Engineering’s article “An Overview of the Influence of Physical Office Environments Towards Employees,” workers should take comfort into account when considering their work environment. Employees often perform better when they are generally comfortable. For those who are struggling to stay alert while working at home, changing the temperature, lighting, or noise levels can be useful. Natural light and cooler temperatures have been shown to decrease tiredness and loss of focus.
Employees working on-site may find this a little more challenging. Luckily, there are small ways to make your desk more comfortable, even if you cannot change your whole office space:
- Place small fans and heaters on your desk to change the temperature
- Use small light lamps to add brightness and simulate natural sunlight
- Change the brightness of your computer screen
In general, it is wise to switch up your environment whenever possible. If you are working from home, you can move to a different room or area of the room. If you work on site, you can move to a different area of your desk (if possible) or change the order of objects on your desk. Working partially remote and partially on site is a great way to change your working environment. The Atlantic’s article “How Environment Can Boost Creativity” states that those who opt for more unique settings, such as coffee shops, can experience more creativity while performing certain tasks.2 Being in a new environment wakes up your brain and provides it with different kinds of stimuli. In contrast, working in the same place every day can put your brain into a lull, decreasing focus and creativity. Not everyone can work in unique locations, but we can all change aspects of our surroundings while at work.
Comfortable and productive working environments are not just for remote workers. Everyone can create a good working environment, from remote employees to office workers. Keep in mind how factors such as lighting, temperature, and noise may be affecting you. Varying your work environment is a great way to wake up your brain and unleash creative thinking. Even the smallest changes can help you stay focused and continuing to produce quality work.
1N. Kamarulzaman, A.A. Saleh, S.Z. Hashim, H. Hashim, A.A. Abdul-Ghani. "An Overview of the Influence of Physical Office Environments Towards Employees." Science Direct. 12/19/11. Accessed 3/8/23. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1877705811029730
2Delistraty, Cody. "How Environment Can Boost Creativity." The Atlantic. 9/19/14. Accessed 3/8/23. https://www.theatlantic.com/health/archive/2014/09/how-environment-can-boost-creativity/379486/