For most of us, we wonder how our work hours fly by, and still it seems that our jobs require us to get more done with each and every day just to keep pace with business competition.
And some people seem to be much more productive than others. Yet, they have the same number of hours per day to get things done.
So what do those highly effective people do differently?
What is their secret?
While there are many influencing factors that separate top performers from poorly productive workers, from workspace design to environment to strength exercises, I've compiled a list of 31 work productivity hacks to increase your efficiency and effectiveness at work.
Uncover the 31 office productivity hacks that have the potential to increase your work output or hinder it.
1. Do Higher Noise Levels Equal Higher Stress?
In a study published by Cornell University, researchers found higher levels of adrenaline in workers who were exposed to even a mild level of noise, when compared to workers exposed with zero noise. This seems to indicate that those exposed to mild or moderate levels of noise were under higher levels of stress. So stay calm and be silent; you and others will reap the benefits.
2. Does Music Increase or Decrease Productivity?
Studies have shown that music can decrease productivity when a worker is conducting a unique task that requires concentration. However, when it’s a routine task, music can actually increase concentration.
This makes logical sense if you think about it, but who knew?
Click "READ MORE" to find out what the other 29 work productivity hacks are...
3. Is Dim or Bright Lighting Best for Work Productivity?
According to a study, a darker office environment fosters superior creativity and raw idea generation. While, brighter lights seem to be more conducive to analytical and evaluative thinking.
4. Does Sitting Posture or Comfort Matter?
Research has found that when a worker is comfortable and safe, they are more productive. You might think that a relaxed posture in your chair feels more comfortable. But...
When employees sit up straight and type, they think more clearly and have a higher work output than an employee who sits slumped over his or her keyboard.
5. Do Office Colors Make a Difference?
The color of an office’s walls, floors, and furniture can influence how workers perform.
Studies have shown that:
- Exposure to the blue and green colors can enhance performance on tasks that require generating new ideas.
- The color red has been linked with superior performance on tasks involving attention to detail.
Desk & Computer Posture Are Vital to Work Productivity
Proper ergonomic support is not only important for your physical health, but it will also enhance your productivity. Here are some guidelines to ensure correct posture.
They say that "sitting is the new smoking".
6. Top of Computer Monitor Is Level with Eyes
For laptop users, this one is regularly violated, and even many desk computers need a stand to raise the monitor high enough to be level with your eyes. One option is to use a Varidesk to customize the height of your keyboard, mouse and monitor.
7. Head and Neck Aligned With Body
This aligns (pun intended) with the aforementioned guideline to sit up straight, rather than slouch in a chair.
8. Elbows Supported and Close to Body
9. Lower Back Needs Support
Having a chair with lumbar support and all around ergonomic design is crucial. Be willing to pay a bit more for a higher quality chair. Your body will thank you as you get older.
10. Wrists and Hands In-line With Forearms
Most people get this one right...
11. Feet Flat on Floor
I find this one hard, since I like to vary my foot position as I get bored easily. The main thing is to make sure they are flat more often than not.
12. Keep Office Warm
Cornell’s Human Factors and Ergonomics Laboratory found that typing errors decreased 44% and typing output improved by 150% when an office temperature was increased from 22 to 25 degrees Celsius (72-77 degrees Fahrenheit).
They recommended an ideal office temperature to be between 17 and 22 degrees Celsius (63-77 degrees Fahrenheit). This would be a bit chilly for me during the summer or winter, and I live in the north part of the US (Green Bay, Wisconsin).
13. Remove Clutter to Increase Work Productivity
Maintaining a clutter-free desk can significantly increase productivity and organization. With a system in place to deal with incoming mail, documents and files should help you to work more efficiently and eliminate time wasting.
14. Potted Plants Increase Productivity
Studies have shown that having a potted plant on your desk increases productivity and cognitive attention. That same plant will filter the air to remove mold and bacteria, keeping you and your coworkers healthier.
This one surprised me!
15. Use Natural Lighting
Use natural lighting whenever possible. It is easier on the eyes and research has shown it
increases productivity and employee satisfaction. If you have no option but to be in an office space with fluorescent lighting, then ensure you take frequent breaks outdoors.
We all need the sunshine from which our body produces vital Vitamin D; just make sure you don't get too much exposure. If you do, make sure to use some sunscreen.
This is my advice as the son of a Dermatologist.
Desk Exercises Build Core Strength, Flexibility, & Work Productivity
Considering that we spend about 33% of our day at work and many office jobs are stationary, it helps to do any bit of exercise you can to keep your body and mind active.
Here are five easy exercises that you can do at your desk:
16. Straight Leg Lift
Sit in your chair, extend one leg out straight in front of you and hold for ten seconds. Then raise it up slightly higher, and hold it again for two seconds. Repeat six times with both legs. Tip: To make the exercise harder, lift both legs at the same time.
17. Invisible Chair Sit
Stand in front of your chair with your feet at shoulder's width apart. Place your hands on your hips and lower your fanny until it's just above the seat. Then sit down as slowly as possible. Do 20 repetitions. Tip: This exercise works best if you lower your seat as far as it will go or using no seat at all, only an imaginary one.
18. Bicep Curl
Sit tall with abs pulled in. Hold water bottle in right hand and curl it up towards your shoulder. Repeat 15 times and change arms. Tip: A full water bottle can make an excellent substitute for a dumbbell at work.
19. Shoulder Spin
Sit tall in your chair and reach your left hand behind your back, between your shoulder blades, palm out. Then reach your right hand up toward the ceiling, bend it down, and try to touch your left hand. Hold for 10 seconds. Switch arms and repeat. Tip: If you can’t touch your left hand then grab onto your shirt and keep practicing.
20. Tricep Dips
Put your arms behind your back, resting at the edge of your chair and form a squat position. Gently, lower and raise your torso. Tip: Do 10 reps in a set and complete three sets a day for optimum results.
Workspace Trends of the Future
21. Goodbye to Cubicles, Hello to Transparency
I don't think anyone is sad to see cubicles go the way of the dinosaur...
22. Informality is The New Formality
Formality in the workplace is in demise and instead the focus is on creating more transparent and barrier-free work environments.
23. Collaboration is King
Creating an office space that promotes employee collaboration and interaction from the bottom of the company to the top gives workers and companies what they desire.
24. Shared Spaces Abound
Glass walls and doors are becoming more commonplace.
25. More Flexibility
A Norwegian telecom company called Telenor provides the perfect example of a more flexible workspace, one we are likely to see a lot more of in the near future.
26. No Assigned Seating
This encourages people to keep moving and collaborate with different teams. According to management, this allows for greater exploration, which ultimately results in faster decision making.
27. Open Floor Plan But With Some Privacy
Countless studies have shown that completely open plan offices are not effective for employee productivity, hence the familiar site of people wearing headphones in these types of spaces.
28. Office Pods
These are designed to promote privacy, yet are still translucent enough to be inviting or encourage communication when needed.
29. Less Seating
The evolution of the mobile workforce means that there is not necessarily the need for a seat for everyone in the office. For example, a feature of the BBC's new Broadcasting House headquarters in central London was the reduction of workstations to 3,500 for the 5,600 staff.
30. Positive Crowding
Mobility can allow for workspace sharing with workers sitting around the campus and create "positive crowding" where ideas can more naturally ignite.
31. Growth in Working Remotely
I personally am a remote worker; I live in Green Bay, Wisconsin (USA) and work for a company headquartered in Austin, Texas (USA). As long as the team I lead is productive, efficient, and effective at achieving results, my company is happy to have me work from anywhere in the US or the world.
This working arrangement will become more commonplace in the future.
What the Experts Say About Increasing Work Productivity
"The idea that the desk is a unit of productivity is changing very, very rapidly. Your productivity is not measured by the amount of time you sit behind a thing called a desk. It is what you do. It is about your output" Architect, Philip Tidd (Gensler) speaking to the Guardian http://www.theguardian.com/
“Our offices should encourage casual, cafe-style interactions, but allow people to disappear into personalized, private spaces when they want to be alone.” Writer and Lecturer, Susan Cain for The New York Times http://www.nytimes.com/
“It’s vital that you choose an office space that you feel happy and comfortable in. If your freedom is restricted, shape the space as much as you can to make it your own. Get your surroundings in order and the rest is sure to follow.” Psychologist and Writer, Dr. Christian Jarrett for 99U http://99u.com/
“Even the most well-designed office will make employees unproductive if they feel chained to their desks. Make sure that employees have the space to get up and take a walk occasionally, or maybe a lounge area where they can get a little work done without sitting in the same place all day.” Writer (Mashable), Taylor Casti http://mashable.com/
I truly hope you've gleaned new insight from this post; please share your ideas to add to this list in the comments section below. Here's to increased work productivity!
For more insight on how to better prioritizing your work, check out this guide.
Many thanks to my friend David Keane at Davitt Corporate Partners for providing this insightful infographic!
You can see the entire infographic below. Please let me know your insight on the topic of increasing work productivity in the comments section.