If you work in an office, then you must be familiar with your desk. It’s where you spend a lot of time, day after day, doing the work only you can do. You probably know exactly what it looks like just by closing your eyes. You have to spend all day there, so why stand to have a boring work space?
Even if your desk is small, that doesn’t mean you should feel trapped at it. Just a few additions can turn a simple flat top with legs into a space that helps you relax, concentrate, and balances your mood. This even works at home. The line between home and office can get blurry. Bringing the TV remote in to where you work can cross that line and blend the two worlds together, turning the place where you’re meant to work into a place where you can’t stop thinking about home.
Here are a few small improvements you can bring to an office desk that will make it a better place to work.
Depending on how late you work, your closeness to a window or the color of the lights overhead, it may interest you to get a desk lamp to light up the space and give it some easy to take in life of its own. Your workspace might be well lit, but color matters too. You might not have the luxury of fully customizing your desk, or your keyboard, or your walls but if you add the right color of light it can give you a passive positive feedback.
Lamps with custom filters, or even small lamps with home made filters, can give you a break of something to look at that isn’t colored like the rest of your office for a moment. Just seeing the color in your peripheral, not paying attention to it, has the same calming effect as being in a room surrounded with it.
Not for your feet (although rubber mats are also great for standing desks) but for the desk itself. Whether your desktop is wood with varnish or scratchy plastic you will want to give it some level of protection. A stain or dent in the desk won’t just be a potential write-up, it’ll be a distraction. Getting a nice stabilizing desk mat can help keep your items in place and stop them from sliding around. It can also provide a great alternative for a mousepad which will let your mouse glide freely across whatever surface the mat can touch, upping your range and allowing you to use your arm to maneuver through your computer instead of just your wrist.
Seeing plants has a calming effect, it’s hard wired into our brain to enjoy being near nature because nature leads to more life. Having a potted plant or a personal herbarium are nice, minimally distracting additions to an office that will give off a pleasant sensation. Depending on what type of plant you bring to work and water just enough, you it can also enhance your mood with pleasant aromas.
But what if you work in an office with a strict no-pets policy, and that happens to extend to vegetables as well? Fakes are almost as good. Plastic or otherwise artificial plants give you a similar calming effect in the brain. The only thing you miss out on is fresh oxygen from the breathing leaves of a plant.
Your desk is one half of the all-day posture-breaking office labor problem. How you sit at your desk determines a lifetime worth of physical issues that you can potentially inherit. However, even perfect typing posture and hand movements won’t fix a bad back if it’s stuck in a chair with a bad back.
If you’re in an office you’ll be spending a lot of time in a chair. Even if you have to walk to a meeting, the meeting will be conducted once everyone sits. If your desk won’t stand with you, you can at least have a pleasant sit with lumbar support and back support items. If your office is especially permitting, you can even bring in a whole new chair. Make sure it’s not too comfy or you’ll get caught napping in it.
Depending on how interactive your job is you might be required to playback media, listen to recordings or watch videos. Strictly for work, not off a YouTube playlist. For those, company-provided headsets and cheap microphones won’t do the trick. Upgrade whatever you can to make things easier in the long run. And if you own it, you can take it home at the end of the day, too.
This also gives you the option to break free of wire problems. Wireless hardware is available for nearly every kind of device. Smaller pieces of technology can be helpful, too, such as digital clocks to replace a constant ticking analog on the wall, or just a small fan to keep a breeze going when the air con takes a break.
Nearly all office work involves computers. If you’re in an office or working from home, you’re going to be using a computer of some kind. Many offices have desktops, some have laptops, but whatever you’re given you will have to work with it. Whether it’s up to the tasks you’re paid to handle is a matter for the IT department.
There is one thing that can easily improve a PC, and it’s related to your posture. If you have to hunch over or crane your neck to stay attached to your work, you should try using an elevated platform or detached monitor stand to put your screen in a more ideal position. It’s advised that any screen you look at – even your phone – should be elevated at or just above eye level. That’s one of the basic things in computer ergonomics. This will keep your head from tilting forward, putting pressure on your neck and back, which leads to uncomfortable aches and pains. No one likes an office injury, especially one that’s made worse from sitting down.