Optimise Your Workspace for Productivity

We all have our preferences when it comes to where we work best. Some of us might prefer the buzz of a coffee shop or open plan office, while many of us might need to be in a quiet spot with lots of natural light to be inspired. When it comes to setting up our desks, what should we be looking at? Is a blank wall best for focusing, with a view too distracting? We look at some of the factors to consider when designing your workspace: 1. Creating More Intentional Spaces There has been a big move towards more collaborative workspaces, where innovation and ideas are encouraged through the deliberate design of office spaces. With a more holistic insight into health and wellbeing becoming more and more common too, this is also becoming more of a consideration when creating workspaces. People like Kelly Robinson, who has designed office spaces for companies like Soundcloud and Airbnb, believes that spaces need to intentional, and that many factors contribute to the way that employees work and feel in a given space. As a yoga teacher, Robinson sees that ways that everything fits together, and that there needs to be distinct areas for certain activities to avoid confusion. 2. Current Trends in Office Design With a move towards more collaborative spaces, everything from the furniture to the arrangement of desks and even staircases in an office becomes important. In a workspace where innovation is key, many offices have now created more flexible and mobile desk options, so that groups of people can spontaneously work together and people can move around without being...

5 Signs of A Truly Collaborative Team

Collaboration is a term that is often used in discussions about productivity and work environments, and can be an umbrella term for a number of ways of working in a team. In general, collaboration implies an innovative way of achieving results or reaching goals, but how do you know if your team is truly collaborating? 1. Your Team Has Strong Leadership In order to have a collaborative team, you need to have people within that team who can direct all members’ and motivate them to perform at their best. As discussed in an article on Forbes, leaders are accountable for getting people together, understanding their differences and connecting these for optimum results. Leaders also play an important role in fostering commitment from team members, and are the people with the courage and drive to pursue opportunities. 2. Your Team Values Relationships Even with the incredible digital technology available to facilitate various kinds of interaction, collaborative teams value face-to-face time and building a personal relationship with people. We all know that we can’t do it alone, but with all the tools available in our highly connected world, it can be tempting to believe that it might be possible. A truly collaborative team knows how to use these tools to complement the relationship building that will best support innovation and growth. 3. Your Team Has Their Finger on the Pulse A truly collaborative team knows their industry, and keeps up to date with everything that affects their business and the way they conduct it. With so many skills available, a collaborative team also makes the best of a variety of skills...

Stand-Up Desks: Forever or Fad?

Our modern lifestyles seem to have us constantly sitting down. From driving in a car, taking public transport, or the hours spent working at a desk, it feels like we spend so much time seated. Our lives have just adapted to being stationary and our environments have responded in the same way. But what if there was an alternative, and we could still work behind a desk, even without a chair? We’ve all heard about stand-up desks, but how many people actually use them, and how do they actually work? 1. Why Stand-Up Desks are Here to Stay According to various sources, sitting has been dubbed “the new smoking”, and working while seated behind a desk all day has even been linked to an increased incidence of disease, weight grain and high cholesterol. According to a study by a group of Canadian researchers for the Journal of Preventative Medicine, working while standing up has both physiological and psychological benefits, including weight loss, improvement in mood, work performance and cognitive functioning. With all this evidence available, the conclusion is that sitting behind a desk all day is bad for your health, although we all know how uncomfortable it feels to get up after a productive stint in a less than comfortable chair. Avid users of stand-up desks, like Mike Smith from Boxhead Media in the United Kingdom, have converted to working while standing up “…because it helps keep procrastination at bay.” Smith also adds, “[When] I’m standing… my body is upright and alert, I’m not going to fall asleep as I used to in my big comfy office chair and...

The Science of Sleep and Productivity

Sleep gives our physical body a chance to repair itself and regenerates the mind, but how much sleep is actually necessary? We all know how important a good night’s rest is, and how staying up until the early hours of the morning to finish some work can be detrimental to your productivity levels the next day, and even the day afterwards. However, while some people can function perfectly well on only four hours of sleep a night, others struggle to get out of bed in the mornings after a full eight hours and make it to work on time. While most of us have the same desire to be productive and work hard, what is the ideal amount of sleep that differentiates between a good or bad day? In an effort to find out about some of the current research into sleep and how it affects productivity, here are three ways that the science of sleep has been applied in corporate environments: 1. Sleeping on the Job? If you’ve ever felt your head lolling on the verge of sleep in the afternoons at work, you’ve more than likely considered how wonderful it would be to take a nap in the office. Well, the  Metronaps website is definitely on your side; their research suggests that taking a nap can improve cognitive functioning and alertness, and that lack of sleep actually affects a country’s economy due to decreased productivity. If you work at Google, this concept is a reality. Google employees can rest their eyes in specially designed sleep pods. Other benefits of taking a nap on the job include enhanced self-confidence, performance and memory processing. Other companies such...

Desk Organisation: Clear or Cluttered?

Albert Einstein is famously quoted as saying: “If a cluttered desk is a sign of a cluttered mind, of what, then, is an empty desk a sign?” While this quote has been used many times to illustrate the way in which some kind of chaos fuels creativity, what is the truth behind desk organisation? For those with more obsessive tendencies, a neat desk may be paramount to being able to achieve anything during the day, with all stationery located in the correct place and accessible at any given time. Some more creative and rebellious minds might thrive on the chaos of seemingly random notes; too busy fleshing out a creative concept that has just struck them unexpectedly to pay much attention to strict organization. While these previous stereotypes might only represent a small minority of people and the way in which they manage their work environment, what is the truth behind a messy or perfectly clear desk? 1. A Messy Desk is a Sign of Creativity According to a study conducted by the University of Minnesota, participants behaved differently when requested to do tasks in both messy and clean work environments. In clean, more organised environments, participants showed more conformity, whereas greater creativity was shown during tasks conducted in a messier environment. This is attributed to the fact that in a clean, organised environment, we are encouraged to behave in a more conventional manner. However, in the opposite kind of environment we are shown to exhibit more divergent thinking, which can lead to greater creativity. This study has also led to an investigation into the influence of our environment...

Having a Bad Day at Work? Get Out of the Office

We all know what if feels like to have a bad day at work. It usually starts off in the morning even before you even get there. You don’t hear your alarm and oversleep. You’re late and just miss the next train by a minute. You get stuck in traffic, and know that you are going to be late for that important meeting with that key client that you’ve been trying to confirm that deal with for weeks. While it’s always easy to lay blame on someone or something else, having a bad day is often the result of feeling like we haven’t done something well enough, or even worse, that we forgot to do something really important. It’s easy to get overwhelmed by feelings of dread and denial, but the truth is that it happens to everyone, and it’s all part of life and the result of the fact that although we might be convinced of the opposite, we really don’t have control over everything in our lives. While it’s easy to give advice, and know what to do in hindsight, at the time getting through a bad day can seem almost impossible. However, in order to take a more pragmatic approach, here are just five reasons why taking time out and getting out of the office on a bad day can help you to get on top of things again: 1. Getting Out of the Office Can Give You Perspective It’s easy to become completely overwhelmed with what is going wrong when we are sitting behind our desks, with the noise of everyone working around you, and...