7 Design Tips for a More Productive Office BY TAYLOR CASTI

The right workspace can greatly increase employee peace of mind and productivity. But before you panic and install a Google-style indoor go-cart track in your accounting firm’s headquarters, relax. All you really need to do to boost your employees productivity is make a few small design tweaks.

It may seem trivial, but a few simple design fixes in your office environment can make you and your employees happier, healthier and much more productive.

SEE ALSO: 5 Excellent Productivity Tools for Remote Workers

Whether it’s as big as painting the walls or as small as adjusting your desk chair, here’s how you can tailor your office’s design for maximum effectiveness:

1. Ergonomics
We don’t even need to cite science on this one (but we will), because it just makes sense. You’re not going to be productive if your back is killing you from an improperly adjusted computer screen or desk chair.

Take five minutes and adjust, adjust, adjust. Specifically, focus on the heights of your desk chair, desk and computer monitor so that your thighs are parallel to the floor and your upper arms are perpendicular to the floor. Your wrists should be almost straight. You want to ensure that everything is within easy reach without straining any of your muscles.

Trust us. Your body will thank you later.

2. Lose the Clutter
Another no-brainer, but keeping a clutter-free desk will greatly increase productivity and organization. As a manager, it can be difficult to enforce a “clean desk” policy, but you can encourage employees to scan documents for a more paperless desk.

As an employee, do your best to keep things neat and tidy in your personal space, including your computer folders. You’ll save more time by developing a system and sticking to it than by scrolling through endless documents trying to find the one you want.

A clutter free desk will make you more productive.

Some easy tips to get you started: Stick to a pattern for naming file names, labeling with the relevant project or event; develop an organized file system; and occasionally take the time to delete documents you no longer need, or nest them within one “Old Projects” folder.

Pro tip: If you are going to go paperless, please, for the love of tech, back up your files.

3. Color Me Productive
Color has long been proven to affect people’s productivity at work. The Color Affects System, developed by world-renown color psychologist Angela Wright, determines that while individuals might have certain preferences for color, the effects of color influence people universally.

According to Wright’s theory, blue stimulates the mind, yellow inspires creativity, red affects your body and green creates a calming balance. But just choosing a color isn’t enough. Even more important than the actual color is the saturation and intensity of the color choice. Highly saturated, bright colors will stimulate while softer, muted colors will soothe.

If you can’t change the color of your whole office, opt for accents so that different teams are surrounded by the colors that will best suit their type of work.

4. Get One With Nature
If you can’t change the color scheme of your office or have no control over the lighting design, adding a small potted plant to your desk decor is one of the quickest and easiest ways you can maximize your productivity at work.

Two studies, one from 2011 and one from 2013, found that having a plant on your desk increases productivity and cognitive attention, as well as filter the air to remove mold and bacteria, keeping your employees happy, productive and healthy.

A desk plant can keep you more productive at work.

5. Light It Up
Letting in a lot of natural light increases productivity, energy and creativity, according to this study, which showed natural light improved test results and let to customers spending more time in stores.

It’s unrealistic to assume every office can knock out a few more spots for windows and skylights, but you can work with the light you already have by making sure that as many desks are within view of a window as possible. It also helps to ensure all the windows and skylights are cleaned regularly for maximum light intake.

If natural light just isn’t a possibility for you, it’s better to opt for indirect light — that is, light that bounces off the ceiling or wall — as it’s more soothing and calming than light that shines directly on employees.

6. Ditch the Open Plan
OK, so yes, this goes against everything that you’ve heard about open plans being great for collaborative work and productivity. But according to a recent study by Jungsoo Kim and Richard de Dear of the University of Sydney Faculty of Architecture, workers who were lumped together in an open floor plan often are less satisfied with their working environment, citing the lack of privacy — specifically “sound privacy” — as the reason.

If you need proof, just walk through every open plan office and count the pairs of headphones. Hardly anyone collaborates, because it’s intimidating to talk to someone else when the whole office can hear your conversation.

An open office plan actually isn’t that helpful.

If you must have an open floor plan, make sure there are plenty of private nooks or conference rooms available for people who want to have small meetings or to make a phone call, but don’t want everyone in the office to hear them.

7. Up and At ‘Em
Even the most well-designed office will make employees unproductive if they feel chained to their desks. Make sure that employees have the space to get up and take a walk occasionally, or maybe a lounge area where they can get a little work done without sitting in the same place all day.

An office environment goes beyond good design; it comes down to culture, in addition to whether or not your employees feel comfortable taking a 20 minute break to walk around for a mid-afternoon recharge.

Originally posted on: http://mashable.com/2017/05/15/mit-liquid-3d-printing-westworld/

10 Simple Productivity Tips for Organizing Your Work Life By: DAVID LAVENDA

Productivity is all about efficiency — doing more, faster and with less. And with increasing demands from today’s anytime, anywhere workplace, it is has never been more important. To get the most out of your day, you need to focus on these three segments of your life:

Time
Humans are notoriously poor multitaskers, so managing your time is critical to improving productivity. The biggest time suck is unexpected (and usually unimportant) tasks. We all know that urge to read the email that just came in or to peek at the latest notification to pop up — an inclination psychologist Daniel Levitan, author of The Organized Mind, calls the novelty bias. This unintentional task-switching eats up more time than you might think. University of California information scientist Gloria Mark found that it takes an average of 26 minutes to recover from trivial interruptions. To avoid this, plan out your day and compartmentalize unexpected interruptions:

1. Start the day with structured ‘me time’: Go through email and social media updates that have piled up overnight and triage the backlog. Knock out quick responses and referrals, so other people can start working on tasks. Schedule the bigger tasks. And delete the stuff that is informational or not important.

2. Use commute time to complete coordination tasks: It’s crazy not to use commute time to winnow out time-intensive tasks. During my morning commute, I do a roundup of my external consultants — getting an update on open projects and finding out if they need assistance. By the time I arrive at the office, I have an accurate picture of my projects’ status.

3. Reduce all meeting times by 25 percent: You will get the same amount of work done, because so much time is wasted dealing with conference call setup and useless banter. (See this humorous video for a demonstration.) If you cut one five-person meeting per day from one hour down to 45 minutes, you will gain back 25 hours a month of work time. That’s roughly 300 hours a year — almost two months of work!

4. Schedule regular breaks during the day: Running from back-to-back meetings is not productive, because you get tired and lose focus. Block off time in your calendar and take breaks. Making these breaks a routine increases predictability, creating a regular schedule to keep your mind organized. If you can afford it, take a 10- to 20-minute power nap after lunch, too.

Space
“Space” refers to your environment — your office locale as well as to your virtual space. Workspace may not be the final frontier, but it is an important element for increasing work productivity. Here are a few space-related tips:

5. Work ‘offsite’ when it makes sense: When you need to write a document or research a topic, the absence of office interruptions will improve concentration. Some companies are finding that letting employees work from home has other advantages including reduced commute time, shorter lunch times and fewer sick days. See how you can apply documented strategies from Chinese travel site Ctrip, the AIIM and WordPress to your own work environment.

6. Consolidate the number of places you need to go for information: There are too many apps to navigate — email, microblogging tools like Yammer, chat tools like Lync, social media utilities like Twitter and LinkedIn and operational systems like SAP, Oracle and Salesforce. Make notifications from each application appear in one place.

7. Switch off popup notifications on mobile devices and on desktop: Don’t let applications interrupt your concentration with annoying popup messages. Shut them off. Now. And limit checking your email to set times during the day. You won’t regret it.

Mindset
Put yourself in a position where you can focus on doing the right task for the moment:

8. Converse, don’t email: Pick up the phone or walk down the hall and talk directly to colleagues. For geographically remote folks, use chat. You can give precise direction and clear up misunderstandings quickly. The amount of time wasted perpetuating endless email threads is mindboggling — and the pointless mistakes generated.

9. Chop up big problems into smaller chunks: This will reduce the feeling of overload and the procrastination associated with taking on big jobs. One practical way to do this is to adopt Agile techniques for managing your work tasks. Born in the software development world, Agile’s big contribution to task management is breaking big jobs down into short sprints. Having a solution in hand throughout the process reduces the anxiety of tackling big jobs.

10. Use checklists for repetitive tasks to reduce errors: Particularly when you are overworked or are operating under time constraints, checklists keep you on track. For an excellent guide for using checklists, take a look at Atul Gawande’s The Checklist Manifesto.

Article found at: https://www.entrepreneur.com/article/242359

10 Simple Productivity Tips for Organizing Your Work Life By: DAVID LAVENDA

Productivity is all about efficiency — doing more, faster and with less. And with increasing demands from today’s anytime, anywhere workplace, it is has never been more important. To get the most out of your day, you need to focus on these three segments of your life:

Time
Humans are notoriously poor multitaskers, so managing your time is critical to improving productivity. The biggest time suck is unexpected (and usually unimportant) tasks. We all know that urge to read the email that just came in or to peek at the latest notification to pop up — an inclination psychologist Daniel Levitan, author of The Organized Mind, calls the novelty bias. This unintentional task-switching eats up more time than you might think. University of California information scientist Gloria Mark found that it takes an average of 26 minutes to recover from trivial interruptions. To avoid this, plan out your day and compartmentalize unexpected interruptions:

1. Start the day with structured ‘me time’: Go through email and social media updates that have piled up overnight and triage the backlog. Knock out quick responses and referrals, so other people can start working on tasks. Schedule the bigger tasks. And delete the stuff that is informational or not important.

2. Use commute time to complete coordination tasks: It’s crazy not to use commute time to winnow out time-intensive tasks. During my morning commute, I do a roundup of my external consultants — getting an update on open projects and finding out if they need assistance. By the time I arrive at the office, I have an accurate picture of my projects’ status.

3. Reduce all meeting times by 25 percent: You will get the same amount of work done, because so much time is wasted dealing with conference call setup and useless banter. (See this humorous video for a demonstration.) If you cut one five-person meeting per day from one hour down to 45 minutes, you will gain back 25 hours a month of work time. That’s roughly 300 hours a year — almost two months of work!

4. Schedule regular breaks during the day: Running from back-to-back meetings is not productive, because you get tired and lose focus. Block off time in your calendar and take breaks. Making these breaks a routine increases predictability, creating a regular schedule to keep your mind organized. If you can afford it, take a 10- to 20-minute power nap after lunch, too.

Space
“Space” refers to your environment — your office locale as well as to your virtual space. Workspace may not be the final frontier, but it is an important element for increasing work productivity. Here are a few space-related tips:

5. Work ‘offsite’ when it makes sense: When you need to write a document or research a topic, the absence of office interruptions will improve concentration. Some companies are finding that letting employees work from home has other advantages including reduced commute time, shorter lunch times and fewer sick days. See how you can apply documented strategies from Chinese travel site Ctrip, the AIIM and WordPress to your own work environment.

6. Consolidate the number of places you need to go for information: There are too many apps to navigate — email, microblogging tools like Yammer, chat tools like Lync, social media utilities like Twitter and LinkedIn and operational systems like SAP, Oracle and Salesforce. Make notifications from each application appear in one place.

7. Switch off popup notifications on mobile devices and on desktop: Don’t let applications interrupt your concentration with annoying popup messages. Shut them off. Now. And limit checking your email to set times during the day. You won’t regret it.

Mindset
Put yourself in a position where you can focus on doing the right task for the moment:

8. Converse, don’t email: Pick up the phone or walk down the hall and talk directly to colleagues. For geographically remote folks, use chat. You can give precise direction and clear up misunderstandings quickly. The amount of time wasted perpetuating endless email threads is mindboggling — and the pointless mistakes generated.

9. Chop up big problems into smaller chunks: This will reduce the feeling of overload and the procrastination associated with taking on big jobs. One practical way to do this is to adopt Agile techniques for managing your work tasks. Born in the software development world, Agile’s big contribution to task management is breaking big jobs down into short sprints. Having a solution in hand throughout the process reduces the anxiety of tackling big jobs.

10. Use checklists for repetitive tasks to reduce errors: Particularly when you are overworked or are operating under time constraints, checklists keep you on track. For an excellent guide for using checklists, take a look at Atul Gawande’s The Checklist Manifesto.

Article found at: https://www.entrepreneur.com/article/242359