How to improve your own space for work productivity

A comfortable work station is key to increase work productivity for your side project, whether you have a home office or a co-working space. 

Here are a few ways to make enjoyable working environments to maximise your focus and flow of ideas.

1. Good lighting, preferably natural. It’s ideal for working spaces to be flooded with sun rays that provide light and clarity, but it’s also okay if you are just near a window. If neither of these are possible , you can take a few breaks and go on strolls to  get some vitamin D, and get the creative juices flowing.

2. Furniture + ergonomics. Nowadays, we have lots of accessible options for furnishing. If you’re planning to go all-in on home office furnishing, that’s perfect. But if you’re just starting and on a budget, and planning to splurge on something, do it on a good chair. Nothing good comes from back/neck pain: remember ergonomics and comfort.

3. Colours matter. Different colours have different effects on our mood. For example, warm colours like red and orange make us feel more energetic and excited, but when used in excess they can sometimes over stimulate us. Be aware of how the colours around you are affecting your mood 

4. Bring a little green into your space. It could be a little desk plant, vine or big plants. In 2014, a study from the University of Exeter showed that plants could increase productivity by 15%, and also elevate the wellbeing and concentration of staff. Not only would you be adding some beauty into your workspace, but plants also help clean the air, bringing out your creative side, and keeping you less stressed.

5. Sounds . This is the part where you “do you”. Usually, experts recommend a nice quiet environment but there’s evidence  that people increase their focus with a source of music or white noise. Whatever works for YOU.

6. Ambiance. Certain scents can make you more alert or calm depending on your needs. Room temperature and where the furniture is placed, are really important factors when trying to achieve maximum focus.

7. Take a break. Seriously, sometimes we’re so burnt out that we just waste more time staring at a screen or a piece of paper. Get yourself up, go for a stroll, get some fresh air, have a snack... you can even meditate or do breathing exercises to release some tension.

8. Declutter. Channel your inner Marie Kondo and throw away every unnecessary paper or item that doesn’t bring you joy. Keep a clean and organized desk/space, it’ll help you get clear ideas and find things quicker.

9. Keep phones/gadgets away to prevent wasting time on social media, messages, app notifications that just help to get us unfocused, and interrupt deep work. 

10. Last but not least: personalise. It’s your space, make it your own. Bring in your identity, put something to inspire and motivate you on your project (maybe a picture, a painting, or a vision board). Anything to remind you of your purpose. 

Interior spaces affect our everyday life. These design factors. can and will contribute to a productive workspace, and  a direct effect on our mood and our productivity. However, at the end of the day, you are the one finding purpose in your project, and the most important thing is to adjust these suggestions to YOUR way of working, and learn about which conditions put you in an ultimate flow.

Maria Valdez is a Dominican interior designer based in Barcelona, who’s interested in ergonomics and design. She arrived in Barcelona 5 years ago to study and fell in love with the city and its magic. You can find her on instagram here.