How Your Workspace and Activities Can Affect Your Work Productivity

Clear head equals clear thinking leading to great work results. Keeping your work space free of clutter helps productivity. This does not mean that a work space should be limited strictly to the bare essentials. Having things around you that inspire or relax you do not only keep stress at bay but this also boosts creative thinking and thereby making you more productive. Here are some tips and tricks to organizing your work space to help you do your job happily and efficiently.


The nature of light in any work place is a major consideration when designing an area for work. Your decision of the kind of light source you put in your work area will directly affect the quality not only of your work but also the quality of your health. Andrew Jensen, a business growth, efficiency & marketing consultant, cited in an article how multiple studies show that lighting is a very effective way of increasing productivity in the work place. Any normal Joe out there could say ‘Hmm, I’d like a relaxing work area. So I guess I’ll use dimmed lights.’ Dim lighting, asides from causing sleepiness, also forces the eyes to work harder. The sleepiness that ensues causes lowered productivity and the eyes, trying to work so hard, eventually succumb to eye strain. However, if we go the other way and say that we use fluorescent lighting instead. This kind of area lighting, which is much more common in the workplace tends to start up migraines and further prevents the eyes from focusing properly. These conditions coming from artificial lighting are big negatives when it comes to work productivity. 

So what might you ask is the best source of lighting for the workplace? The answer is so simple that it’s almost a no-brainer. Light from the sun is your best bet for increasing your productivity. Daylight not only helps you work better by helping you see things in the best light possible, it also protects your eyes against too much strain. This helps prevent eye strain and further protects those who already have eye conditions. Further benefits of natural lighting extends to better mood, higher satisfaction, better behavior and even better hormonal balance. Work places who have renovated for natural light further benefit from a smaller power bill. Now isn’t that illuminating!


Although we might not think too much of the color of the walls of our work area, research done by the Pantone Color Institute begs to differ. Their research shows that color has a direct bearing on the behavior and productivity of workers. One such example for the effects of color on employees can be given; employees in a work area that was colored blue complained to management that the work area was too cold. Management consulted expert and were advised to repaint the work place in a red hue. The results were very surprising! Workers started taking sweaters off. Oh! Did I mention that the management did not even change the temperature of the work area by one degree? Surprising indeed.

According to the said research, the manner of work done must first be considered then the appropriate color scheme can be applied but in a broad stroke, warmer colors tend to increase energy and creativity and give workers a feeling of urgency. Colder hues give a feeling of relaxation and heightened concentration. Work places that are painted all-white are very interesting though. Workers moving from either a warmed hued or colder hued work place tend to make more errors while working in an all-white work area. However, these errors only occur in the short-term and usually work themselves out in the long-term picture. Considering which colors fits your work area is indeed one of those big decisions out there. This is really your call since there is no specific guideline that says which color best fits which job. Do a bit of research into the nature of work you do and which direction you want to move then decide which color motivates you the most in the direction you’ve decided to move in.


Can you imagine doing manual labor in a work area that’s too warm? I’m sure that you’ll be sweating buckets after a minute or two and mega uncomfortable to boot. What about if you were give a desk job inside one of those refrigerated warehouses. You’ll be a Popsicle in five minutes and I’m betting that you’ll loathe to do all that paperwork because of fear your fingers might fall off. It’s not hard to see that the ideal temperature would greatly increase productivity in any work area and considerations should be made if there is a deficit or surplus of warmth in the work area. Although not many governments have specific regulations for temperatures in the work place, research does show that productivity is increased if the employees in a given area are comfortable with how cold or how hot their environment is. Employers should then consider thermal comfort, thermal discomfort or thermal stress. 

Thermal comfort simply means that workers can generally say that it is neither too hot or too cold to work in a work area. Thermal stress is when workers can say that it is too hot or too cold and it’s affecting their health. Thermal discomfort is the temperature that’s right in the middle of the two workplace conditions. Knowing these conditions can help you decide what’s the best temperature for your workplace.


It is a very strange fact but non-the-less, your nose could be the culprit for your lowered productivity. In an article by Neuromarketing, research was revealed that there was indeed a direct connection between fragrance and stress levels.

One workplace that we could cite was an experimental one. This workplace incorporated aerosol machines that would give a burst of fragrance at given intervals. The results were astounding after considering that it was a simple burst of fragrance. Employees involved in the research showed a 15% increase in productivity. If interval bursts of fragrance was the only thing used to get a 15% increase in productivity, could you imagine if someone made a system that would continually incorporate productivity boosting fragrance into the air? Imagine the benefits! Well, someone in fact has thought of this and has actually turned it into a brilliant company that uses oxygen powered fragrance dispensers that do actually boost employee productivity. I’m not telling you that you should go and spend bazillion dollars on a fancy oxygen powered fragrance dispenser. The main point is that if you keep your work area fragrant, it will not only boost your morale but it will be good for your general health as well. Just a note but try to stay away from lit incense or scented candles since these could be distracting and could further pose as a hazard in the work area. You could try sticking to fragrant flowers or even a can of sweet-smelling potpourri. 

The best six scents that have shown great potential in the work area are Lemon for its effect on concentration, Lavender for its calming effect, Jasmine for elevating mood, Rosemary for improving memory retention, Cinnamon for fighting fatigue and finally, Peppermint for its invigorating effect on the mind.


Being well rested is another prime factor for raising productivity. In an article on, napping was featured as a great way of employees to recoup and recover from fatigue. Being well rested, this meant that these employees were more able to tackle whatever challenge came along their way. Multiple companies in multiple countries are now equipping their facilities with nap areas to allow employees to catch some Zzz’s. From Google to Procter and Gamble, these multimillion dollar companies are now letting their employees ‘sleep on the job’ and you know what? The same companies see the best increase in productivity and creativity. Now sleep on that thought.


You might not know it but you could exercise yourself to that promotion. NBC news featured a research done by Jim Mckenna which showed that workers coped better with stress while feeling more satisfied with themselves and with their work. Workers involved in this experiment were allowed to exercise during the work day. The effect was positive attitude towards themselves and their work. This ultimately led to a 15% increase in productivity.

Sound and Music

We all know that a noisy environment can make us less productive at work because it causes high levels of stress, anxiety and distraction. People respond and feel comfortable listening to different kinds of sound that is why sound producing websites like Rainy Mood, Coffitivity, Soundrown and Faux Fire are made. From the sound of waves at the beach to the sound of burning wood from the fireplace, these websites takes us to places we want to be and helps us set the right atmosphere in order for us to focus on our tasks.

If you are not fond of listening to regular sounds, you can always listen to your favorite songs. For as long as we can remember, music has been an essential part of our lifestyle, culture and collective memory. Although music is our universal language, the productivity level still depends on the person, the type of music they listen to, what they are doing and the volume. 

According to Get Smarter’s article by Emma Richards, there are kinds of genres that contribute to enhanced productivity. New age music relaxes the mind and reduces stress, Rock music releases tension and heightens your productivity, Jazz music puts you in the mood and brings out your creative side, and lastly, Classical music helps boost your mind and increases your concentration. Music does tend to have positive results on your mood and abilities, just make sure to listen to the right kind while working.

In the grand scheme of productivity in any work area, we can see these simple factors having a major role in the success or downfall of any worker simply because every worker is dependent on the surrounding environment. This basically means that the better the environment, the better the work. You could also say that the opposite is true. Every worker wanting success must then learn that keeping his or her work place well-lit, appropriately colored, well heated and well ventilated/well scented, will most likely, lead to higher productivity. Paying attention to these small things might eventually lead to a higher paycheck. Hmm… you never know.

Images from Integra Electric Solutions, Mom Know It All, Recorder, Amy Ormond, Industry Tap, Furniture Design Gallery, Elite Daily and The Clutter Shop.


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