Does your workspace have to be boring?
You just got hired in a company. A big one. The one you always dreamed about. Today is your first, exciting day. You arrive at 9 A.M. sharp, your supervisor welcomes you and introduces to rules and customs in the company. First stop, kitchen and coffee machine (yay, freshly brewed drink of gods). Second stop, chill room and hammocks, sweet. Third stop, your team (open)room and your desk with a shiny laptop the IT guy delivered a few seconds ago. You couldn’t be happier, could you?
You are trying to find yourself in this new situation. Looking around you notice a copy-paste effect but in the real life this time. Everybody has the same setup, nothing extraordinary - you were told it’s company policy. The same desks, one additional screen, a docking station for your (identical, of course) laptop, a keyboard and a mouse. It turns out that your new employee is dealing with overcrowded offices and it helps them to save some money. Some smart people calculated that only 80% of desks are used at the time. Why would they keep the additional 20% empty? The solution is obvious: buy fewer desks and force people to store their laptops in the lockers at the end of the day. In the morning, take your computer out and go for desk hunting. However, it isn’t that convenient for the employees, is it?
From my observations, I could conclude that office workers like to add a personal touch to their workplace. A plant to the left, a photo of their children next to the keyboard or some stickers around the screen. It feels better to start your day in an environment you are used to and feel safe, rather than in a plain, boring one. What if you had the freedom to do a makeover of the place you work in? Would you decide to sit on a standard chair, a ball or maybe no chair at all? You would be free to do whatever you want with the things around you just to make yourself more comfortable. It doesn’t matter if you leave a stack of notes on the desk for the next day. You don’t have to empty the desk at the end of the day. A rubber duck that helps you debugging? It can always sit there. You could even build a nest for it on top of your screen. Because why not? :)
It all seems perfect if you work for a small or a really big and rich company. I am not saying it’s impossible to find a corporation that allows custom modifications and agrees to every idea of their workers but it will definitely prove difficult. Corporations such as Google, Microsoft, Facebook that I consider this latter category, already do the customizations for their employees. They give them freedom of choice when it comes to choosing a place they want to work from - a lawn chair on the terrace, a floor with synthetic grass, a small quiet room or a big open space. Those employers already noticed that it’s worth investing in the comfort of their workers. Not only products or deadlines count but also the mental comfort of the employees. People that are less stressed by their environment tend to achieve their goals more effectively and probably faster. They won’t be drained just after a year of work in the same project. They will want to come back and work on the product to make it better simply because they like it there.
We can achieve the same on a smaller scale preparing our workplace at home. Whether you are a full-time remote freelancer or just work from home one day a week, you should feel comfortable and motivated. What can be helpful? I gathered some ideas from our team. We keep plush plants on our desks, we surround ourselves with books or shelves filled in with board games, we place a whiteboard on the wall and put some magnets from cities we visited so project notes don’t look boring. Desks that are possible to be adjusted to standing position are also popular among us. It is possible to have a personalized keyboard with colorful keys just so you don’t get bored with standard black ones. Have you ever heard of a vertical ergonomic mouse? We have and it’s great to use! This is only a handful of notions what you could do with your workplace to feel more comfortable.
Where will you stop the boredom and start with improving your happiness? Share your ideas with us!