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6 Ways to Work Smart in a Productive Office

Do your back and neck ache by lunchtime? Is your laptop buried under piles of clutter? Do you feel confined or uninspired at your desk? If so, it's time for an office space makeover.

Whether you work from home or from the office, designing your office with physical and mental health and comfort in mind will also bring a notable boost in productivity. Work smart - and ease your aches and pains - with these simple office space updates.

1. Pick the right desk.

The best desk for your office depends on your work style and available space. L- and U-shaped desks work great for larger offices and when you need a lot of surface space. If you work from a corner of a small apartment, you may want to consider a smaller workstation or a corner desk.

To combat the health risks of sitting too long, many professionals choose standing desks or adjustable height desks. “It is well reported that going from seated to standing throughout the day provides health benefits,” says John Milk, District Manager of Copenhagen’s San Antonio and Austin locations. “The ability to work seated or standing lowers stress and back pain, improves mood and circulation, and decreases fatigue. Many adjustable-height desks have a few settings, so you can customize the height with a push of a button.”

2. Use a back-friendly chair.

Your chair is one of the most important office furniture mainstays. A good chair properly supports your back, leg, and arms, and has adjustable seat height, seat depth, arm height, and lumbar support.

When shopping for a chair, make sure the chair’s back supports yours. While seated, you’ll want about three inches of space between the backs of your knees and the seat. Make sure you can adjust the chair so your feet plant flat on the floor, your arms are parallel when you work, and you don’t have to hunch.

Many people like mesh chairs for comfort and coolness. Regardless, pick the chair that fits you the best.

3. Light right.

Natural light boosts mood and improves focus. Additionally, natural light and views reduce anxiety. If your office has a window, take advantage of that natural light. If not, add a desk lamp that simulates natural light. Position lighting so you don’t have to squint and don’t have monitor glare.

In lieu of a sunlight-simulating lamp, Milk suggests an adjustable lamp with soft (but not dim) lighting. “Natural, cool, and warm are good choices for bulbs,” he says. “Wattage is also a factor. I recommend desk lamps with a dimmer option, which allows you to adjust lighting to your mood or task.”

4. Find a new hue.

Choose office colors for the mood they set as well as according to personal preference. Productivity favorites include blue, which stimulates concentration, and green, which is balancing. Depending on the rest of your décor, enhance your space with stimulating colors such as red, orange, and yellow. Artwork or wall sculptures that incorporate key colors is a great place to start.

5. Add accessories sparingly.

A few personal touches can lift your spirits when you’re hard at work on a big project. However, that doesn’t mean you should fill your office with your entire turtle figurine collection. A cluttered office will distract you from your work.

“I personally like a few photos from great vacations,” says Milk. “When I look at them they take me away to a nice time, which can feel like a quick break. You spend a lot of time in your office. It should make you smile when you enter.”

A plant may also prevent fatigue and boost productivity. Just remember to water it!

6. Creative productive common areas.

Your office’s community gathering space should also emphasize comfort and productivity. You want the space to feel inviting so employees can go there to brainstorm with colleagues, to have informal meetings, or for a change of scenery.

Consider comfortable lounge chairspub tables, and stools or sectional sofas. Like productive office spaces, community lounges should have a few plants, natural light (if possible), and warm colors. Also, consider technical tools such as audio-visual equipment for virtual meetings and a range of connectors and ports so guests can easily plug in.

Start designing your organized office today, and watch your productivity soar.