Sacred Space: How Your Work Environment Impacts Productivity
When I left my job this past Thanksgiving I started working from home. I spent a lot of time sitting on the sofa hunched over a laptop with Netflix running for background noise as I read and wrote articles, and browsed job boards. Occasionally I’d walk up the street to my local coffee shop to work, but even that wasn’t the right environment for me to really be productive, as the tables were small and cramped, and the place was always packed.
Whether you work in a corner office, on-site, or remotely, it is critical to cultivate an environment that caters to your productivity. And, as the structure of “the office” continues to change – with a number of companies no longer having dedicated spaces to house all their employees – you are going to need to figure out what works best for you.
Cultivate Your Sacred Space
If you work remotely and don’t have an office to go to or run a small business from home but find that being at home is too distracting, you might want to look into a coworking space.
There are great options in many cities (Chicago, New York, Seattle, and D.C. to name a few) where you can rent space for a single day, have a punch card for a certain number of visits a month, or rent a desk or private office for an entire month at a time. You can even rent open space and conference rooms to host seminars, meetings, and classes. Coworking space gets you out of the house and into a quiet, organized environment designed to assist with your focus and productivity. There are even shared use kitchens already equipped with professional gear for the aspiring baker or chef.
With the entire world at our digital fingertips, why not pick up your job and see the world while you work? The “digital nomad” is a trend that is becoming increasingly popular. Find your work-life balance. Go out and surf to clear your head and bring your board in to your computer when you have that “aha” moment. Always wanted to see the rainforest in Australia? No problem. Hole up in Cairns in an open air gazebo and pen that next great article.
Are you in an open office space that doesn’t work for you? Don’t worry – you’re not alone. A recent article in The New Yorker cites a study that found open office spaces “were damaging to the workers’ attention spans, productivity, creative thinking, and satisfaction. Compared with standard offices, employees experienced more uncontrolled interactions, higher levels of stress, and lower levels of concentration and motivation.” To get in your own groove, check out [amazon template=product&asin=B007SY4QTW] or this USB light that lets your colleagues know if it’s safe to approach you.
Now that I’ve got a home setup that works for me, I don’t leave the house to get away from the space, I leave the house to find different perspective. (My favorite outside perspective these days is from the window counter at an authentic French patisserie just up the street.) I’m finding what’s more important is setting up visual cues to help me complete my tasks during the day. I use post-it notes organized by category. I have a notebook to jot non-critical thoughts in so I don’t forget and can review them later. Having a visual plan is key to productivity. The less clutter in your sacred space, the easier it will be for you to think.
In order for me to maintain productivity, at the end of each day, I make sure my desk is set back to neutral with my starting action items for tomorrow on a note stuck to my keyboard. This little list will get me going and to fuel my ideas for the rest of the next day.