How to Improve Your Workspace (Other Than Changing Jobs)

Sometimes when a person appears discontent with their job, they are really displeased with their workspace. There are a number of ways in which a desk or cubicle can be unpleasant: poor lighting, drab décor, uncomfortable furniture, and other similar factors. The myriad possibilities for aggravation seem inevitable, but it can be fixed in just five simple ways. Here are some suggestions.

1.) Adjust the lighting. This can exponentially improve your environment. If your computer monitor is obscured by a glare, there are several solutions. If you can’t dim or turn off the offending light, you may want to opt for a monitor hood. Your computer will look like it’s wearing a really awkward hat, but the results are well worth it. Alternate light sources could also be used, like a CFL bulb kept behind your monitor, or rope lights for an ambient effect. (And if you love Star Wars, please refrain from bringing in a light saber lamp—even if the guys from your fan forum thought it was supercool.)

2.) Reorganize your desk. This may seem obvious, but it’s often overlooked. Remove clutter. If you only use something rarely, put it away. If it’s never used, throw it out. Keep your most-utilized supplies within easy reach. If you have multiple items that serve the same purpose, pack the extras away or get rid of them. Replace large, bulky implements with smaller ones. If any of your technology could be quaintly described as “vintage,” toss it. In the meantime, ensure that your space is ergonomically oriented. Adjust your chair. Buy a smaller keyboard if necessary.

3.) Buy a clip-on cup holder for your desk. Cup holders keep your coffee mug out of the way and prevent spills. They protect your cup from tipping over or breaking, and secure it in place so you won’t lose it.

4.) Decorate with the right colors. Specific colors have been shown to boost peoples’ moods and increase productivity. This might sound rather New Age, but I assure you it has nothing to do with moon goddesses or peyote. We are emotionally receptive to different hues. Blue is generally relaxing, and studies indicate that people tend to be more productive in blue rooms. Green surroundings can improve reading ability and induce a calming and uplifting effect. Red can be invigorating, but may also incite irritability. Orange and yellow often brighten the mood, but might provoke anger as well. Therefore, bright and warm colors may not be suitable for everyone’s workspace.

5.) Display photos of loved ones. Pictures of pets are almost always a good option. Only display a picture of your significant other if the relationship is stable, since you don’t need a visual reminder the day after a blowup. A bonus to keeping a photo of your romantic partner: It will ward off solicitous coworkers. (Some may take it as a challenge, but that’s where sexual harassment seminars and pepper spray come in handy.)

There you have it. After administering these changes, you may better enjoy your workspace and job. Desks and cubicles don’t need to be florescent-lit purgatories. They can be convenient, enjoyable, and comfortable. Maybe even livable—but let’s hope it won’t come to that.

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