The future of work has arrived — and it’s hybrid. No longer is work confined to the company office; the modern workplace now involves employees spending time in both, corporate and home spaces. And as businesses design and implement new hybrid approaches to work, employers must adopt practical strategies and seamless working environments to ensure their employees are well-equipped in both locations. This means creating a workspace that is ergonomically set up, clean and comfortable, which will lead to employee satisfaction and improved productivity.
Our recent survey of 6,212 European professionals revealed that workspace satisfaction focuses on four key ‘ingredients’ or elements. It’s important to note that our respondents, although divided by geographical borders, consistently provided the same responses about what made them the most productive in a workspace environment. Therefore, we can conclude that many of these essential elements for productivity are more or less universal, illustrating the needs of the modern professional working environment and its inhabitants.
We call these the ‘four core elements of workplace satisfaction’:
Tidiness & Organisation
The more disciplined you dress, the better your work results will be. You can’t work productively in your pyjamas—no matter what desk you sit at. You’ll be more motivated to work in a disciplined manner when you’re in the right outfit. Especially on the phone or in an online conference, you will not only notice this difference yourself when adjusting, but it will also transfer to your conversation partners.
Make sure that your workspace at home and in the office are essentially the same. The less time you need for rethinking or retooling, the more productive you are. You will hardly waste time with tedious searching or time-consuming retooling but can fully concentrate on completing the most important tasks.
Set a timer before each important task. Use an hourglass or a kitchen alarm clock instead of your smartphone to keep distractions to a minimum. Use this time (ideally 30 – 45 minutes) for concentrated work phases. During this focus time, don’t allow any distractions and work exclusively on your most important project.
To keep your energy level high, you should take regular breaks. Ideally, 45 minutes of focused work should be followed by 10 minutes of relaxation. A small breathing exercise, a few steps, or briefly closing your eyes for visualization will give you new strength for the following round of productive work. The condition of your workplace also has a decisive influence on your physical and mental freshness. Even a little fresh air and a temporary change in your sitting position can work wonders.
To increase your productivity, you need a system that you can rely on 100 percent, preventing you from losing track of tasks due to workload. To do this, you should first reduce the number of places you keep your tasks. Often we have too many places where information arrives and tasks converge. Establish a simple and clear system where tasks, lists, and ideas are collected in a central location and completed at a determined time. The best thing to do is to get a simple filing basket for your desk to collect all tasks and incoming information in the future. From now on, the tasks that come up in a working day will also end up there.
Creating a disturbance-free working atmosphere can be a real challenge in an open-plan office. That makes it all the more important to discipline yourself: Quite autonomously, for example, one can not only turn off all notifications on the computer but also put the smartphone in flight mode. Otherwise, you should agree with your colleagues on a simple, common signal or sign at the workplace that indicates that disruptions are currently unwanted. If this is not possible, it often helps to wear headphones – even without music. And with the support of the employer, loud technology can be replaced by quieter hardware, which promotes concentration just as much as corresponding quiet islands, which can be created by suitable furniture.
The first thing to do is make a quiet and inspiring space in your workplace, where you can also close the door. The kitchen table is not a permanent solution. If the workplace is not created according to ergonomic criteria, there is a risk of posture problems in the long term. A good office chair is a be-all and end-all. A height-adjustable desk that allows you to alternate between sitting and standing is also a sensible investment. Since we also move even less at home, the rule of thumb 60-30-10 provides a good guide: 60% sitting, 30% standing, and 10% moving.
Minimise the mountain in your inbox by using your left hand. Assign a task to each finger, from pinky to thumb. Use this like a mnemonic so each finger represents a task that needs completing. Start with the task assigned to your pinky, complete it, and then move onto the next finger/task. This method will help you focus on each task and make sure they get done.
Martin Geiger: Productivity expert
Martin Geiger is the leading productivity expert for people who think and act entrepreneurially and want to work differently and live more. His impulses are successfully implemented by numerous owners of small and medium-sized businesses and enthusiastic employees of well-known companies throughout Europe.
When something just does exactly what it’s supposed to do, perfectly.
When you can’t quite explain it, but you know it feels good.
That’s workspace satisfaction.
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