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Productivity and Ergonomics: The Best Way to Organize Your Desk

Plants

Plants
  • Indoor plants prevent fatigue during attention-demanding work. 
  • Even just having a window view of live greenery can be restorative and keep us focused.
  • A peace lily plant requires little sunlight to survive and you only have to water it when the soil is dried out and is also great for cleaning the air.
  • Cacti and aloe plants are other low-maintenance plants to consider.

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Productivity and Ergonomics: The Best Way to Organize Your Desk

Productivity and Ergonomics: The Best Way to Organize Your Desk

https://zapier.com/blog/how-to-set-up-your-desk/

zapier.com

12

Key Ideas

Your workspace matters

When you spend hours at your desk every day, even the smallest features of your workspace – such as the position of your monitor or the height of your chair– can greatly affect your productivity and even your health.

With a few adjustments you can improve your working environment and keep your desk from killing you.

Lighting

  • The best kind of light you can have in your office is natural light. It helps our bodies maintain our internal "clocks" or circadian rhythms which affects our sleep and energy. 
  • Poor lighting, whether it's dim lighting or harsh lighting from overhead fluorescent lights, can cause eye strain, stress, and fatigue.
  • Don't sit with your back to a window unless you can shade it.
  • Don't sit facing a window because that will make reading a monitor difficult. 
  • If you use a task lamp at your desk, position it so the bottom of the lampshade is at about the height of your chin when it's on.

Temperature

Cornell University researchers found that by increasing office temperature from 68 to 77 degrees Fahrenheit (20° to 25° Celsius), workers' typing errors fell by 44 percent, and they were able to type 150 percent more.

If you can't control the temperature in your office, there's always the "wear a sweater" option or getting a small fan if your workspace is too warm.

Sound

It's hard to drown all that out when you're trying to work. 

A good pair of noise-canceling headphones could help. Pair it with soothing background music from Jazz and Rain, your favorite video game soundtrack playlist on YouTube, or coffeehouse-like background music. The latter taps into research that suggests ambient noise can increase creativity.

Color

  • Red is energizing and warming, stimulates our pulses, and can be perceived as aggressive
  • Blue can stimulate thought and aid in concentration and communication, but some might see it as cold and unemotional
  • Yellow is stimulating and lifts spirits, but the wrong tone of it can make you feel anxious
  • Green is a reassuring, balancing color, but, depending on how it's used, can be perceived as bland
  • Violet encourages contemplation, but too much of it could bring about too much introspection
  • Orange is stimulating and fun, but too much of it can be overwhelming
  • Pink is soothing but too much can be draining
  • Gray is neutral, psychologically, and can be depressing unless the right tone is used
  • Black is serious and sophisticated, but can be heavy
  • White gives a heightened perception of space but can be a strain to look at
  • Brown is a serious color, but warmer than black and is solid and supportive

The Ideal Desk Height

Your desk should ideally let you type on a keyboard with your arms and hands roughly parallel to the floor, your feet flat on the floor, and your legs fitting comfortably under the desk when sitting (you should be able to comfortably cross your legs under the surface).

Ergonomic Chairs

Here's what to look for in an ergonomic office chair:

  • Lumbar support: The curve in the back of the chair should support your lower spine, following the natural curve of your lower back.
  • Seat depth: Chairs that fit your body will allow you to sit comfortably with your lower back against the lumbar support while also leaving an inch or two between the back of your knees and the seat.
  • Chair height: You should be able to adjust the height of the chair so your feet are flat on the floor or on a footrest.
  • Armrests: Armrests should be at the proper height so your shoulders aren't hunched and you can keep your arms parallel to the floor.
  • Recline-ability: Reclining in your chair, at about 135 degrees, may be better for your spine than sitting straight up at a 90 degree angle.

Proper Monitor Placement

  • Keep your monitor or laptop screen between 20 and 40 inches in front of you. You do not you want to be forced to lean forward.
  • Make sure the top line of the screen is at or below your eye level. 
  • Don't tilt the monitor more than 10 to 20 degrees. More than that and objects on the screen might be difficult to read.
  • Place the monitor perpendicular to windows. This will help avoid eye-straining glare.

The 20-20-20 rule

Remember to take breaks for your eyes.

  • Look at something 20 feet away
  • for 20 seconds
  • every 20 minutes to protect your eyes.

Keyboard and Mouse

The keyboard should:

  • be close enough to your body so you can hold your elbows comfortably by your sides.
  • be low enough that your arms are roughly parallel to the floor and your wrists are flat or angled downwards.

Make sure the mouse is a comfortable size for your hands. If it's too big or too small, you might end up bending your wrist in awkward positions.

Organize Your Desk

  • Keep only the things you use daily within reach. 
  • Store everything else off of your desk. 
  • Try limiting personal decorations to just 3 items or less.
  • Hide supplies and tools strategically behind your monitor or under your desk. 
  • Clear cable clutter with ties and other tools. 

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Colors
  • Red accelerates the heart rate, giving you a jolt of energy. Your eye is instantly drawn to red, and it promotes physical activity and emotion.
  • Orange is a social color, encouraging interaction. It works well in meeting rooms or other social spaces.
  • Yellow stimulates creativity and optimism. 
  • Green is calming, and also causes zero eye strain over long periods of time.
  • Blue is calming and stable, it helps most people focus on intensive tasks.
  • Purple stimulates problem solving, despite not being a very popular color in workspace decor.

3 more ideas

Organize your workspace
Organize your workspace
  • Adopt a clean-desk policy (CDP).
  • Create a dedicated space for the incoming things.
  • Keep personal items to a minimum.

  • Get yourself a si...

Colors influence productivity
  • Red: Impart a boost of energy.
  • Yellow: The sunny shade stimulates creativity.
  • Purple: Stimulates problem solving abilities.
  • Green: Calms the mind, causes zero strain to the eye and is ideal for those who spend long hours in the office.
  • Orange: Boosts social interaction and collaboration.
Organize your office
Organize your office
  • Start with a purge to create an office that is free of clutter.
  • Create a catch-it space for incoming junk to sort through.
  • Keep your desktop clear of c...