Calculate the number of hours in any given day when you’re at work. That number might be anywhere from 4 – 12 perhaps depending on whether you work full or part-time. To that number, add the number of hours you spend in your home, both before and after work. So what number did you arrive at?
These are the two places you are most likely putting in the bulk of your day. It only makes sense then that to the degree you are able, you create an atmosphere around you that you will find pleasing. Whatever your tastes, if you can be in settings which are to your liking, there is a greater chance the environment around you will have a positive influence on you.
If you work in a place where everyone has their own desk, you might find some folks have pictures of their family under their blotter, or maybe a small plant on their desk, a favourite mug or perhaps some meaningful quote by the phone. If that desk is in a cubicle or office, that personalization extends to the walls, the floor space and maybe the exterior of an overhead storage area. Wall hangings, coat racks, lighting, personalized calendars, floor plants, furniture – examples of what could be personalized.
In a factory setting where almost all the space is shared and there are restrictions for safety reasons on what could be personally modified, you’ll still see individuals personalizing their locker space, their personal protective equipment like their hard hats and maybe even the tools they use.
If you spend your days out in the car and on the road, you might have personal things hanging from the rear view mirror, your favourite music and pre-set radio stations etc. Even the colour of the car in your driveway might be your choice instead of just whatever the dealer gave you.
At home, whether it is in an apartment, townhouse, duplex, condo or free-standing, you’ll have it decorated to your liking to the extent you are able.
So what’s the point? The point is that you should pay attention to your surroundings and ensure that your living space wherever you find yourself spending the bulk of your time, is conducive to either working productively or relaxing comfortably.
Look, it’s been known for a long time now that colours for example can have a profound influence on our moods. Take someone who is agitated into a bright fire-engine red room or a pale green room and have them wait for 3-4 minutes until someone comes to see them. You might find more often than not that the person in the bright red room remains energized and agitated, while the individual in the pale green room has calmed down a little all on their own. Colours influence our moods.
I’ve noticed the working areas of some staff where I work with great interest. Some are minimalistic; their desks are clear of anything personal, all their papers put away and few items in the room are theirs personally. If they retired today, they’d have a single box to carry out as they left and be packed up in 5 minutes.
On the other hand, there are some workers who would have to make their exit with 6 trips out to their car and their desks routinely look like organized chaos. In both cases, the person is able to be productive but if the two shared a space, they might have to work out some kind of boundary issues.
Are there certain people in your working environment who you would really struggle with if you shared the same workspace in some kind of office realignment? While everyone might be pleasant to talk to in shared work areas, when they return to their own space, one persons clutter might adversely affect another persons ability to concentrate on being productive.
Home of course means different things to different people. You might look at home as your oasis; your bastion of relaxation and calm. Or your private domain at home might be the room in the basement or garage where you rock out on your guitar, bang away on your drums or it’s out to the workshop in the yard where the smell of wood stimulates your senses and you exercise your woodworking skills.
We are influenced by our surroundings. Ever had the itch to move the furniture around? Even in a small space, you might say, “What if I moved my desk against that wall or no, turned it to face the door?” You might do it to be more productive or safe in the case of visitors to your office, but you might do it too just to stimulate something inside you and gain a new perspective.
Supposing you worked in a setting where there was no new money in the budget for renovations or decorations. Would your employer go for you coming in on the weekend to paint your own office as long as they approved of your colour scheme? Would they agree if you became more productive? What would happen to office morale if you had a lounge with a television, a pool table, a solarium for readers, a small garden area for staff to retreat to?
Make your living space work for you and those around you. Be it at work or home, it has an influence on your mood and your productivity.