Productivity at work is by design, not happenstance. One of the best ways to be more productive at work by falling in love with your workspace is to make it sensory-friendly. Design at work is often forgotten. We are here to tell you that the workspace by design is important and often overlooked. Besides, if you want to have a productive desk space, it needs to be a healthy workspace. And the key to health is to address your sensory-experience at work.
Most people do not realize that they have ignored their senses when setting up their office. There is no perfect desk set up that is a one-size-fits-all. Nevertheless, if you pay attention to all of your eight (yes, 8) senses you will improve your workspace, expand your love for it, and increase your productivity at work.
First, you have eight senses. To learn how to set up an office, address each of your eight senses. When I complete a sensory-friendly transformation with a client of their office to effect productive workspace design, I address each one of the senses. I have a sensory-friendly checklist that is over 70 points long! In this blog post, you will learn highlights for each sense.
Let’s start with what you likely thing is the most obscure sense! But do you have access to food and drink in your workspace? Do you keep a bottle of water at your desk to stay well-hydrated? Did you know that snacking, especially on crunchy food can help keep you more productive?
What is the air quality like in your workspace? Clean, fresh air is important. Is your office scent-free? Productivity at work can be negatively impacted by distracting scents and smells.
A big part of productive workspace design is being comfortable at your workstation. First, start simple, is the chair you sit on comfortable? Are its armrests comfortable? Your body touches your desk furniture throughout the day. It needs to be comfortable.
A minimalist desk set up helps many people at work. Ask yourself these questions of every item on your desk, “have I used this today?” or, “will I use this item today?” If not, remove it from your desk. Because clutter in our line of vision can be a distraction. Love your workstation (and yourself) by only keeping the things you use handy. What to do with keepsakes and mementos? Put them together in a basket. Better yet, keep them, but on rotation. One at a time on your desk. Pick a souvenir of the week to leave out.
Noise at work can be the greatest distraction. Especially in a shared workspace. What makes a good workspace is one where noise levels are safe and noises are not distracting. Use a noise-canceling headset for your phone. And if you like to listen to music in a shared office, use noise-canceling headphones! Moreover, your co-workers’ will thank-you.
A productive desk layout is key to a healthy desk. Adopting awkward postures at your desk causes a great deal of strain on your body. And with poor office ergonomics, it is so easy to strain and evoke pain! This, “Adjusting and adapting your computer workstation” checklist has been around forever. But it is the best out that that covers everything! Even if the graphics look a little dated.
You might not think your sense of balance comes into play at your desk, but it does! Moving around in both safe and comfortable postures is healthy. Change your position, maintain good posture. So stand and walk every opportunity you get. Think about your office workspace design. Put the printer at the other end of the room so that you have to get up and walk to get what you printed. That is much healthier than an awkward reach over behind your back, with you half falling out of your seat.
You can learn more about your eighth sense, interoception. It tells you when you are hungry, thirsty, tired, or need to use the bathroom. It is an internal body sense. So drink lots of water and then get up to go to the bathroom! Being well-hydrated is a huge bonus to your health and work. And the walk breaks to go to the bathroom make you move!
You will love your workspace and make it productive again by paying attention to your eight senses. Make your workspace sensory-friendly. Ready to learn more? Sign up for our Sensory Friendly Work newsletter.
Christel Seeberger worked as an occupational therapist for more than 25 years helping people with sensory sensitivity who experience sensory overload. Christel has sensory sensitivity herself; she has hearing loss and wears hearing aids. She founded Sensory Friendly Solutions in 2016. Sensory Friendly Solutions brings together people around the world looking for sensory friendly living and businesses and organizations who offer sensory friendly experiences.