Designing Your Environment To Boost Productivity

by | December 9, 2014

It’s not surprising to hear that one’s environment has an impact on their performance. If it is too noisy or your chair is uncomfortable, it is naturally difficult to stay focused and productive. What may be surprising is how easily you are able to design your environment to optimize creativity and boost productivity by making small, simple changes.

Now You See It

Designing the visual elements of your environment around productivity is as simple as choosing the right colors. A 2009 study conducted by the University of British Columbia discovered that the use of red and blue in one’s environment has a significant impact on productivity levels. Specifically, they found that red enhances performance on detail-oriented tasks while blue has a positive effect on creative tasks.

Since so much of our lives is spent working on the computer nowadays, it is easy to take advantage of this research by simply changing the color of your desktop depending on the type of task you are working on.

Another trick is to customize the theme of your browser, which is easily accomplished via the settings of most browsers. Google Chrome allows you to take this customization a step further through the use of different users, which are each customizable. Creating a different ‘user’ for different departments, task types, or based on any other method of separation that makes most sense for your particular position is an easy way to insert visual customization into your working environment.

Customizing browser users using specific productivity-enhancing colors is not the only way you can design your visual environment to boost productivity. You can also help train your subconscious by using visual cues. For example, if you travel frequently, try choosing a browser theme that depicts a skyline that is reminiscent of where you currently are to help keep your mind in the correct time zone.

Now You Hear It

Research has shown that in general a low to moderate level of ambient noise boosts productivity. Specifically, University of Chicago researchers determined that ambient noise has the ability to increase abstract processing and creativity.

If you are working in a traditional office setting, your work environment most likely comes with ambient noise whether you like it or not. If you work virtually, there are many options for incorporating ambient noise into your environment. Music is a good option for some, but for others that has the potential to be too distracting. Luckily, there are other options, like Coffitivity, that provide non-intrusive ambient noise for you. There is simply something soothing about listening to the soft murmur of a busy lounge while working.

Regardless of your methods, the important takeaway from all of this is that it does matter what your working environment is like. A little conscientious planning upfront can have a long lasting effect on your ongoing productivity levels.