You know what they say, “Choose a job you love and you’ll never have to work a day in your life.” But, let’s be honest, the daily office grind can make even your dream career feel like a chore—not very conducive to happiness or productivity. Luckily there are a few easy tweaks to alleviate the workplace slump and upgrade your days spent behind the computer. It’s literally as easy as making a playlist or buying a plant.
7 Office Hacks to Help You Crush It at Work
Let's get productive
1. Streamline Your Work Station
Let’s start with the most obvious, yet so easily overlooked hack: Organizing your desk! Declutter your work station by filing away that growing stack of papers, straightening out supplies and creating a designated space for everything you use on a daily basis. As for knick-knacks, framed photos and other bits of personal decor? Take ‘em home. According to professional organizer Amy Trager, “our eyes pull every single thing in front of us and our brain processes it, even if we don’t realize it.” Embracing a clean, minimalist desk prevents unwitting distraction.
2. Buy a Plant
If there is one thing on your desk, however, make sure it’s green and leafy. A study conducted by the University of Exeter found that office plants not only increased productivity by 15 percent, they also increased workplace satisfaction, self-reported levels of concentration and perceived air quality. The hard part, of course, is keeping it alive but there are quite a few office-friendly varieties, such as spider plants, snake plants, aloe and cacti require less sunlight and can go a weekend without water.
3. Let the Light In
The real reason that corner office is so coveted? All the extra windows! When you’re working indoors all day, exposure to natural light is so important. The benefits range from increased alertness and mental activity to decreased headaches and eye strain. If you don’t have access to a window in your workplace, here’s a bright idea: Buy a blue light simulator. LED light bulbs and therapy lamps (typically used for Seasonal Affective Disorder, a.k.a. The Winter Blues) emit the same high-temperature light as the sun, without any harmful UV rays.
4. Create the Perfect Playlist
Chances are you already tune out with some tunes during the workday, but you’re probably not strategizing your sounds. Science says that different types of music have different effects on performance and that certain music is better suited to certain tasks. Pop music, for example, can boost productivity when it comes to repetitive tasks like data entry, while classical or instrumental music can aid with focus and comprehension. Some studies also suggest that listening to music you’re more familiar with can help you concentrate. What better excuse to make a playlist of all your favorite songs?
5. Move Around
It’s 2019. We all know the dangers of a sedentary lifestyle and likely have a few colleagues dedicated to their standing desks. Good for them. The truth is, you don’t have to swear off chairs - you just need to sneak in some extra movement throughout the day. In addition to the calorie-burning benefits, things like taking the stairs, walking to the printer, or using a bathroom on a different floor, can ease stress and, again, improve productivity. There are even a ton of low-key workouts you can do in your office without needing a lot of space.
6. Set the Temperature
OK, this one might be out of your control, but it wouldn’t hurt writing this on a note and passing it to your boss. In-office environmental factors have a pretty major effect on your workflow. Big surprise: Being too hot or too cold tanks productivity. But, according to researchers at the Helsinki University of Technology, there is a perfect temperature. According to their studies, worker performance increases between 69 and 72 degrees Fahrenheit and is at its highest at exactly 71.6 degrees. No more playing Goldilocks with the office thermostat—this is just right.
7. Take Frequent Breaks
The big myth? That employees who eat lunch at their desk and are seemingly always busy at their computer are the most productive. Turns out taking a few brief, scheduled breaks throughout the day can actually improve focus and performance for the prolonged periods when you are actually getting your work done. Combine that with the benefits of moving around more, and you have all the reasons you need to walk to the kitchen for another cup of coffee.