Whether you’re working at home or in an office, your desk is where you’re likely to spend the majority of your time during the workday. And if that’s the case for you, it can make a huge difference to not only your productivity levels but your general wellness to have a comfortable and well-equipped workstation.
There’s a common saying in many offices, “tidy desk, tidy mind” – and while people are all individuals (I know plenty of people who’re very productive but have an untidy desk), there’s one distinct correlation to a messy desk space… and that’s stress. Even people who’re productive with a messy desk are almost always more stressed. Finding specific documents or finding somewhere to just put your coffee can all become far more tiresome then they need to be; gradually contributing to stress levels.
Like your office space as a whole, your desk space is also a visual representation of your business, affecting impressions given to clients or visitors. An attractive and tidy workstation is just one way to present yourself personally to coworkers, clients and customers.
Setting up the perfect desk space
Whether your desk is at the office, in a ‘makeshift’ area at home or more permanent home office, there’s certain arrangements or items worth investing in that can transform your desk space for productivity and reduced stress. See our recommendations below for what we’ve found to be extremely useful:
Filing – having a specific area for key documents is essential for any workstation. A spread of documents across a desk can lead to increased stress levels when you can’t locate a particular document or your pen! Even if you just designate an area on top of the desk it can help keep papers in hand. Specific filing cabinets are a great investment for businesses which require a lot of paper documents. However, if your business can migrate to digital copies this can be a great alternative – as well as being far eco-friendlier. If you don’t have any space for a designated cabinet, try to use draw space effectively or use a simple filing tray system on your desk to keep things nice and tidy. Specific piles for documents which require actioning or shredding can all be great ways to improve your desk space as well.
Keyboards – Getting the right keyboard set up is a must! The right keyboard can speed up performance and help prevent various strain injuries that can occur in the office or at home. Here are a few thoughts on keyboard options:
If you’re a MacBook user you’ll likely be familiar with the ‘new’ butterfly keyboards. They’ve had a huge number of issues over the years and consumers have often complained about the typing experience in general. And this goes for lots of other slim, modern laptops and keyboards which have come out in recent years. However, there are other alternatives. The best of which are mechanical keyboards. They can be a bit on the pricey side, however, they’re a great investment – especially if you’re a typist. Although these keyboards have become somewhat synonymous with gamers and developers, they’re the best keyboards to type on in many cases. Some examples of these are from Keychron, Happy Hacking, Razer and KPrepublic (where you can even build your own custom keyboard).
Monitor – a well-positioned good monitor or second screen is a game-changer, and also important in preventing eye, neck or back strains. Nothing quite beats the efficiency of having one screen for notes or key info and the other for the main event. The same goes for keeping communications applications like Teams/Slack or Outlook open – ensuring you don’t miss any key messages. Independent monitors can also help with ergonomics and keeping your posture right, as you can customize the position of you monitor much more than a laptop screen.
Laptop Stand –This helps to keep your laptop at the same height as your monitor (if you are using one) and raises the screen to a better position for reducing eye strain and creating a more comfortable working environment. You can find many options for this, all with different levels of features. Laptop stands also have the added benefit of increasing airflow and in some cases providing an effective heat sync, reducing the temperate of your laptop (which in theory can also increase performance). If you don’t want to invest in a specific laptop stand, a stack of books or old boxes also works well! These might just not provide the same level of airflow or be as aesthetically pleasing. My laptop is currently stacked on a David Walliams children’s book, one of Jamie Oliver’s cookbooks and Rand Fiskins biography!
Plants – a bit of greenery on your desk can go a long way. Bringing nature into your office space not only looks great but also helps to support the environment. Succulents are a great option as they require very little maintenance. A Peace Lily is another good option to consider, these are hardy plants – so making sure your plant doesn’t die isn’t yet another thing to worry about during the day.
Quality Stationery – making sure you have pens, notebooks, post-it notes and more at hand all help to create a workstation that is practical to use, and even that you are proud to use. Having these ready can save time when they’re needed, and, Items like post-it notes are extremely functional whilst also adding a splash of colour to your desk.
Sound – a good sound system and microphone can be a revelation to any desk space. Depending on where you’re working, either quality speakers or a good set of headphones can make a big difference for video meetings or conferences. Smart assistants like Alexa or Google Home speakers can be used to great effect. In communal/open planned office space you can use these types of speakers for shared Spotify playlists which can be played and added to for everyone’s enjoyment. And when working from home when you don’t need to worry about other’s music choices, you’ll be able to easily play all the cheesy 80s pop you want!
Quality Chair – Good posture and a comfortable seating position are essential for a great workstation. When sitting at your desk for hours on end you can really notice the difference. In fact, the real sign that you’re using a comfortable chair is when you don’t think about your chair at all. A chair should be just that, a chair. Or, if it works for you, sitting on an exercise ball can have benefits! Chairs come in all shapes, sizes and price points. But you and/or your staff will be thankful for a quality investment. Some well-known brands to look into are: IKEA (obviously), SecretLab, Herman Miller, Humanscale, Steelcase and Knoll.
Cockpit Concept – if you imagine your desk like a cockpit you need to have everything essential within arm’s reach and anything that’s not essential either hidden away or beyond arms reach. This concept helps you to streamline and declutter your desk for maximum efficiency. In practice, this means keeping things like your notebook, keyboard, calculator, pens all close by. But things like plants, speakers, nick-knacks and other general items all out of arms reach.
Personal touch – While it’s important not to clutter your desk with too many items and to always prioritise essentials, adding a personal touch can help you to feel comfortable and stay motivated. This could be a photo of loved ones, a small nick-knack or gift, or, you could put out a photo of the next holiday location that you are working towards!
Making sure you have all the essentials – Essentials like charging cables and appropriately loaded power points are often set up for you in an office environment, but when working from home these are the first things you need to set-up. More details in the next section!
Setting up for Remote working – Remote workforce survey
As many businesses and workers shift towards remote work, ensuring you and your staff have an appropriate workstation is key to this transition. To check your staff have the right setup at home you can send out a quick survey. Below is an example of a few questions you could use to check your employees have the right equipment:
- Do you have the correct chargers for your laptop and any other equipment you need to work with?
- Are your plug sockets being overloaded?
- Do you have a suitable desk and chair at your workstation?
- Are you able to maintain a comfortable posture whilst working?
- Are you taking regular breaks, including standing and stretching and focusing your eyes on objects at a distance to allow them to rest?
- Do you need any equipment to allow you to do your job efficiently and safely?
Actioning any concerns or issues your staff might have from this survey will allow your staff to set up effective workstations; reducing stress and improve productivity for your organisation.
Setting up the perfect desk environment
Whilst you can control much of what’s on ‘your’ desk and how you organize ‘your’ belongings. You’ll likely have less control over your general office environment. However, no matter the size or location of your office there are ways to make it more ‘you’ and more productive. And if you still think it’s time for a change, look no further than Tanshire Park. Tanshire Park provides Grade-A modern office space in the heart of Surrey. To learn more or request a viewing talk to one of our Tanshire Park management team today.