Pandemic or not, big or small, most businesses face the same key issues. How do I increase productivity? How do I decrease downtime?

We spend more time per day with work colleagues than we do with our loved ones back at home. It then follows that our offices and workspaces need to offer an environment that promotes health and welfare if we are to achieve long term productivity. Shortcuts will only work in the short run.

For this article, we’re going to be looking at the elements that help workspaces provide a productive environment. We’re imagining a space with a desk and a laptop, be it a living room, bedroom or a designated study area. Despite this, many of our tips can be applied to any area where you perform work, be it in the kitchen or in a garage.

For Malta and elsewhere, Covid-19 changed the way we work dramatically, but remember: Whether at home or at work, we still spend a majority of our day working.

Work can mean many things: It can be preparing a meal, recording content, filing a form, paying bills, reviewing accounts to managing communications and workflow in a big company.

  1. Stimulate your sense of smell

Aromatherapy probably isn’t the first step you imagined, but we argue it should be.

Of our senses, smell is best able to influence brain activity. Our olfactory bulbs, responsible for recognising and processing smells, directly influence our limbic system, responsible for emotion and memory. This is why some smells can bring vivid, old memories back to the surface.

It’s not just about cognition, essential oils also have anti-viral, anti-bacterial and anti-fungal properties.

The key challenge you’ll face in following these four steps is not budget, but balance. Do too much of one thing, and it can become distracting, do too little, and you may notice any difference. Finding when too much is too much is going to be up to you, but keep in mind that one pleasant scent is better than three great scents if they do not mix well together.

You can introduce a pleasant scent through candles or incense sticks, herbs or flowers.

Here are six scents that Hawkins recommends for boosting your productivity, mood and more at work:

  • Lemon
  • Lavender
  • Jasmine
  • Rosemary
  • Cinnamon
  • Peppermint

  1. Add plants and flowers

Scientists have named us ‘Homosapiens’ meaning ‘wise men’ for a reason! Moreso than any other living creature, we can perform complex work and activities.

But, when it comes to understanding what makes our natural clock tick faster, you need to first take a step back to your roots. We’re animals who can do really complex work, but we still share a lot of characteristics with our fellow living beings. Above all? A deep, instinctive attraction to the natural world.

A body of evidence promotes the presence of plants as well as natural views in workspaces.In an analysis of 10 UK studies, every paper found greenery had a positive effect on mood. It also found being around nature gave a marked lift to self-esteem, productivity and consistency.

Meanwhile, up to 10% of employee sick days could be explained by a lack of nature and natural light in the office. You can check the first two steps at one go by choosing flowers and herbs that carry a nice aroma.

Here’s five plants that research from Queensland University has found to be great promoters:

  • The Spider Plant
  • Philodendron
  • The Peace Lily
  • Golden Pothos
  • Lemon Balm

  1. Make an ergonomic chair and footrest cushion your biggest investments

Research has found that over 31% of absenteeism is due to workstation related injury.

Let’s first explain the cushion:

First, footstools can be flipped over to obtain a rocking motion that keeps your blood circulation going. Perfect for restless legs, long trips in the car or an extended session at your desk. Otherwise, you can kick off the shoes and enjoy a therapeutic feet rest massage while you work. The footrest pillow cover is hygienic and washable

Secondly, if you spend all day sitting down working at a computer then you need to invest in ergonomic chairs.

It’s not just about avoiding back problems, it has been proven that sitting in an ergonomic chair improves workplace performance. This is a result of increased blood and oxygen flow which helps keep you more alert and awake, which allows for better concentration.

  1. Include a whiteboard

A whiteboard is a fantastic and classic way to activate great communication in your team. It’s not just about setting tasks and reminders, whiteboards are a great way to brainstorm ideas and illustrate points.

The humble whiteboard remains the favourite tools for CEO’s of all ages.

Not only is it a reusable space, it is also a persistent space.

Even if you are working alone, a whiteboard still is a great idea. For one, it gives you a much bigger space to brainstorm visually than your average notebook or laptop screen, and b) notes on a whiteboard won’t be hidden by an app or a Netflix episode anytime soon.

Want to find out more about making your office space a more productive environment?

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