In what is possibly the world’s largest shift in how we work, many of us are now based at home and will be for the next few months.
Faced with this challenge, here are some tips you can put into play to help you improve your productivity while at home.
- Physical environment
While some of us may be lucky enough to have a study in which to work, many will not. In this case, it is critical that space is set aside for ‘work’. Ideally this would be a quiet room, not often used.
If you haven’t already done so, equip your new office space with all the essentials: a desk, comfy chair, access to all your documents and any technology needed. Although this may sound obvious, recent research has shown that a convenient layout and organisation of work space can have a tremendous effect on time management, job stress and job satisfaction.
If possible introduce natural elements to the space. This could be as simple as turning your desk to face the window, opening blinds so you can enjoy the natural light, or working on a wooden surface. To whatever extent you take this, there are great rewards to be won from a 6% increase in productivity, to a 15% boost in mental/physical well-being.
- Colours & lighting
As mentioned, natural lighting is key. But, living in the UK, we understand the weather may not always allow for this! Instead, be mindful of the colours you surround yourself with when working.
For those looking to make fast decisions, you should look towards warm colour tones. This could be as simple as changing the lighting in your office or, if you’re willing to go more extreme, the room colour.
For those looking for an awareness on a more basic level, it’s important to recognise that different colours stimulate different emotions; from yellows being associated with happiness to reds with sadness.
Music plays a huge part in most of our lives and, working from home, many will choose to tune into the radio or blast their favourite playlist.
However, we should all be conscious of the effect of different music (more specifically the tempo, volume and rhythm) on our work. For example, have you ever noticed that in fast food restaurants fast paced music will often be playing? Ever noticed that this makes you chew faster and subsequently leave faster? This isn’t a coincidence.
Although often ignored, room temperature greatly effects our body both consciously and subconsciously.
Hot and stuffy environments are likely to make you lethargic and slow at tasks. Whereas at the other end of the scale, very cold environments will have an effect on your concentration, often meaning you won’t want to stay there for an extended period of time.
So why not double check your thermostat is set to a temperature that feels comfortable for you?
It’s quite easy to dress purely for comfort and ease when working from home (we can probably all agree). But, over time, this will have an effect on your mental well-being.
Research has shown that when individuals do not get clear signals from a given task, they can begin feeling anxious, stressed and uncertain. To phrase it differently, if you normally work in a suit and suddenly you’re trying to work in your PJs, your brain becomes confused as what it expects from the situation does not match the reality.
We’re not saying you should get dressed in a suit every day, but be mindful of how what you wear affects how you feel.
Parish, Janet T., Leonard L. Berry and Shun Yin Lam (2008). ‘The Effect of the Servicescape on Service Workers’, Journal of Service Research, 10(3), 220-238.
Wirtz, Jochen and Christopher Lovelock (2018). Essentials of Services Marketing, 3rd Ed, Pearson, Chapter 10.
Singh, S. 2006. Impact of colour on marketing. Management Decision 44(6).
Harris, Lloyd and Chris Ezeh (2008). ‘Servicescape and Loyalty Intentions: An Empirical Investigation’, European Journal of Marketing, 42 (3/4), 390-422.