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Ergonomics & Aesthetics: How to Make Your Office Environment More Comfortable

ByJohn Moyer,
business.com writer
| Last Modified
Jun 08, 2015
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> Business Basics
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According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, Americans spend an average of 8.7 hours per day working.

This means that you could be spending up to 43.5 hours per week in your office. The only place you spend more time each week is your bed (53.9 hours/week).

Nothing affects our attitude more than our immediate environment. Which in turn can have an impact on our health, happiness and our bank account (the reason we are at work in the first place). If you’re going to spend so much time in the office, it stands to reason that you would want to optimize your work environment.

Related Article: The "Bleisure" Revolution: How Tech Giants Are Shaping the Workplace of Tomorrow

Here are 5 tips to help you make your office a more comfortable place.

organized office materials

Keep It Organized

If it isn’t adding to your abundance, it’s of no value when it comes to the workplace. Untied or excessive cords, knickknacks and that award from the company picnic relay race don’t need to take permanent residence on your desk. Marie Kondo, an organization expert, says that you should only keep things that “spark joy.”

Perhaps this maxim is a bit impractical at the office, but her advice about papers is not impractical. ”There is nothing more annoying than papers,” she says. “After all, they will never spark joy, no matter how carefully you keep them.” Using a document management system, where you can digitally store and organize papers, is a more productive way to deal with them. Staying organized and keeping a workspace free of garbage and unnecessary piles of paper streamlines efficiency and productivity. 

Make It Functional

Ergonomics and aesthetics are the two most important things to consider when setting up a comfortable workplace; get the most amount of comfort, free of stress and injury while at the same time stimulating creativity. Lois Goodell, principal and the director of interior design at CBT Architects says, “Companies should take advantage of the research and give thought to furniture design and how it fits the needs of employees and their work habits.”

Choose a chair with lumbar support or bring a small cushion to augment the chair that you’ve been given. Make sure that your computer screen is at least 20” away, use a larger font and use a headset to keep from straining the eyes and neck. Also remember to keep your wrists as straight as possible to avoid getting carpal tunnel syndrome. One way to monitor the health of your hands is by getting wrist guards, as suggested by many chiropractors. 

Make It Personal

Bringing a little bit of your personality into the office environment will always make it seem less institutional and more welcoming. Use neutral colors to keep from being distracted while bringing in tasteful art pieces, framed pictures for your desk, your favorite coffee mug from home or get a customized laptop skin from Wrappz.

Wrappz Laptop Skin

Image via Wrappz

Placing a lamp on your desk or in a corner will give off a warm light, helping the fluorescent lights seem less harsh. You can also bring a plant, fresh-cut flowers and fruit to put on your desk. 

Related Article: Health, Happiness and Office Design

Regulate the Temperature

Office buildings are notorious for being either sweltering or freezing—and it’s usually during the winter that it feels like a desert and summer that it feels like a frozen tundra. You might not be able to control the office thermostat, and if you could you would likely gain enemies.

However, you can have some amount of control over how warm or cool it is at your desk. Keep a fan to turn on during those warm moments, or bring a space heater to utilize if it’s too cold. Having a sweater or jacket handy is another great way to be comfortable. You can also enjoy a hot or cold beverage to adjust your internal temperature as well.

Take Frequent Breaks 

According to the World Health Organization, sitting for eight to twelve hours a day increases your chances of getting Type 2 Diabetes by 90%. This is still the case if you exercise every day. Going to the gym after work is great, but it’s not enough to keep you healthy. That’s why getting up and walking around at least once an hour is imperative. Put your feet up, do some simple stretches and make sure you keep the blood flowing.

In addition to giving your backside a break every once in a while, you need to give your eyes some rest too. Staring at a computer monitor or looking down at a smartphone is sure to cause damage to your vision. Practice healthy vision habits at work by blinking more often and practicing the 20/20 rule—every 20 minutes, look at something 20 feet away for 20 seconds. It’s also important to get a yearly eye exam to detect any changes in your vision.

These simple tips can help keep your productivity up at work, and your health in check.  A happier work environment lends to a higher quality of life overall, especially during your down time.

John Moyer
John Moyer
See John Moyer's Profile
John Moyer is an on-camera contributor to USA Today, interviewing personalities from the business and entertainment worlds. His role in front of the camera evolved from performing on the live stage in front of theater audiences in numerous comedy clubs, colleges and corporate events. John has spent over twenty years making people laugh with his style of stand up comedy and most recently, a stage hypnosis show. Individuals organizing shows and events, seek out John for not just his wildly entertaining performance, but also because people walk away more empowered through hypnosis. They experience permanent, positive mental change that increases their personal and professional success. When not on stage or in front of the camera, John enjoys spending quality time with his children, future step children and fiancé.
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