How does your workspace — both online and offline — make you feel? Do you feel inspired when you reach your desk for the day, or does the thought of sitting down in front of a screen for hours make you cringe? Although our careers play a part in dictating our workplace experiences, we’re often able to make changes to both our built environments and digital spaces that optimize both creativity and productivity.
Whether it’s online or in the real world, designing positive spaces can help us maximize our potential and take on innovative or challenging projects. For some, designing a workspace which harnesses productivity and creativity can be as simple as placing a fresh cup o’ joe on their desk or collecting images for a massive digital mood board in Adobe Illustrator.
With the average Canadian spending around 40 hours a week at work, knowing how to make that time as productive and creatively engaging as possible can keep your motivation on high. Here are four tips to help you create a space that gets you inspired every day.
1. Use colour to your advantage
Colour application and placement in the workplace has been proven to have a surprising impact on productivity and creativity. Depending on the daily activities taking place in your office space, these colours may help you problem solve, relax, or complete challenging projects with ease:
Blue: Having hues of blue in a workplace may help you feel more focused and concentrated on tough or tedious tasks. If your office space can be a high-stress environment, adding touches of blue can provide a sense of calm.
Red: Looking to add some energy into your workspace? Red is the perfect choice for a work environment that requires plenty of physical activity, as it has the ability to increase your heart rate.
Green: Lighter or pale green can soothe anxiety and cultivate a feeling of belonging, as this colour is often tied to nature. If you can’t — or don’t want to — paint your walls, adding some sturdy indoor plants might yield the same benefits.
Yellow: Interested in cultivating a creative workspace? Yellow should be a go-to colour choice. Whether it’s a desktop background of sunflowers or a statement wall, yellow has been known to stir up fresh ideas and feelings of elation.
2. Minimize clutter
Practicing aspects of minimalism has been tied to lowered stress levels, more frequent feelings of happiness and even increased self-esteem. More than just a lifestyle trend, concepts of minimalism can be implemented in your workspace, too.
Start by organizing your workspace in a way that works for you. If you’re a tactile person, get rid of the sticky notes invading your desktop space and keep a simple pad and paper for easy note taking. If you’re in the habit of making piles all over your desk, invest in a drawer system that makes putting things in the right place effortless.
3. Invest in a standing desk for your body and mind
Standing desks are becoming a normal part of many home and corporate offices, and for good reason. The Washington Post shared a study completed by Texas A&M University demonstrating that standing desks can significantly increase both productivity and health in regular users.
For many, being bound to a desk for the majority of the workday is a necessity. However, many people find that sitting for long periods of time can be detrimental to their physical and mental well-being. Whether you’re looking to reduce back pain or improve your mood, investing in a standing desk can help you conquer typical side effects of sitting for prolonged periods.
4. Think about space in your design choices
In this example, space not only defines the environment around you, but explains how distance can kickstart a creative streak. Architect Donald M. Rattner explains that “the human mind is very impressionistic. That is, we tend to respond to things as much for what they imply as for what they literally are.”
He prescribes artwork and seemingly distant or vast views to help people find meaning and feel more creative in their spaces. Try displaying photos and prints of your favourite far-away places (literally and figuratively) and position your desk in a way that allows you to look up from your screen every once in a while to take a look at what’s happening outside.
Although there is no “one size fits all” solution to feeling uninspired some days at work, there are actionable changes you can make to cultivate creativity and productivity to get things done. By carefully curating the look and feel of your workspace, you may find even the smallest changes can have the greatest impact on your well-being, both in and out of your office.