Have you ever stopped to think about the physical nature of your workplace? In fact, your work environment can have a great deal of impact on how your overall day goes.
Factors to Consider to Build a Better Work Environment
Following are a few factors to consider when you determine what sort of work environment is best for you.
Do you need absolute quiet? Some people work better and concentrate more when the workplace is quiet. This can be especially true for someone who is concentrating on accounting figures, writing memos or reading complex technical reports. But it can even be true for someone who is doing a lot of phone work. Whether you’re participating in a call with clients, or making new business calls, having distractions in the background can make it much harder to concentrate on your work. Knowing how you work within an environment that has ambient noise can help you set up your workplace for maximum efficiency. If the hubbub doesn’t bother you, you might work best in an open office environment. Some people’s creativity is spurred by the presence of others around them, while others are constantly distracted. Of course, sometimes you don’t have control over your work environment and the noise level, but you can take steps to make it more conducive to your preferences. If you are starting a task where you’ll need quiet to concentrate, see if you can work from a closed conference room or unused office for a while. Or, check into doing some of your work at home — that is if you can keep your home environment relatively free from distractions! Another possibility is to use headphones or earbuds. Sometimes listening to classical music or “white noise” can be just as good as having silence, since it can drown out chatter or other workplace noises that might make it difficult for you to concentrate.
What effect does the lighting have on your work? Constantly working in an environment with poor lighting can put unnecessary strain on your eyes, leading to headaches in the near term and then other, long-term eye issues in the future. Make sure that the lighting at your workspace is appropriate; particularly if you do a lot of reading or computer work. If you need to add a lamp or other light to augment overhead ceiling light, make sure that you do.
Have you considered aromatherapy? Research shows that certain scents can make us feel calmer, boost our energy, reduce our stress or enhance our focus. While you can’t invoke scents that are bothersome to others around you, see if there’s a way to add a burst of scent to your own work environment through a spray or a neck pillow enhanced with the scent. At home, consider utilizing aromatherapy candles when you can.
Is the culture a good fit for you? Each workplace has its own culture. At some, they encourage collaboration through frequent meetings or brainstorming sessions, and encourage social interaction with casual or planned events. If you are an extrovert, you might find that you crave this type of environment and will feel dissatisfied at a workplace that doesn’t encourage frequent interaction. But some more introverted workers might find this interaction to be a drain on their productivity, a waste of time and an effort that causes them to lose focus.
And culture goes far beyond the social aspects. Some workplaces thrive on confrontation — people are encouraged to really speak up and critique others’ ideas in meetings. For many professionals, that type of environment keeps them involved and motivated. They love the give-and-take that comes from fellow colleagues feeling free to share their opinions on any given subject. For others that can feel like an attack and is an environment where they will not only NOT thrive, but might feel unwelcome or hesitant. Other factors contributing to workplace culture are whether it’s casual — you can come and go as you please as long as your work gets done; or more formal where people are at their desks from 9 to 5. Of course that applies to dress code, too. There are many professionals who appreciate knowing exactly what’s expected of them and work better when parameters are clearly spelled out, and others who chafe at too many regulations.
Sometimes you won’t know the culture of a workplace until you are there, but it’s important to ask leading questions during your interview, and even make observations as you walk around, that can help you learn more about the culture and whether it’s a good fit with your personality and the factors you need to work most successfully.
While most people don’t have ultimate control over their work environment, there are always changes you can make to enhance the external forces that help you work best. Identifying what those are, and making simple changes to make your environment more appealing to your particular style can help you work more efficiently and effectively.
Articles on the work environment:
- What Makes a Good Place to Work? 5 Ways to Know It When You See It
- Can I Work Here? How to Identify the Culture and Environment of a Workplace, if You Are Going to Fit in, and Be Content
- How to Use Aromatherapy for Productivity in the Office
- Proper Lighting Can Impact Your Productivity
- How To Create A Productive Work Environment
- Random Positive Comments
- The Intelligent Workspace: Achieving Peace and Productivity at Work
- Workplace Productivity: Does Your Desk Tell A Sad Story?