Towards a more comfortable and peaceful workplace
04/14/2015 - 11:27

In a well-planned office people can find the type of spaces they need to concentrate on their work without being interrupted. For some people, that means an opportunity to talk to colleagues while for others it is peace and quiet. That is why modern office spaces are activity-based offices, which have something for everyone.

With simple changes, a conventional office can also be turned into a modern activity-based office that can serve many kinds of needs. Below are a few tips on how to convert a conventional office into a more comfortable workspace that better suits a wider variety of user needs.

Give up what you do not absolutely need.
Each workplace has an employee or two who are open to new ideas and willing to give up their allocated workstations. Make a decision together to share these workstations, and make them available to anyone.

Designate a silent area.
Place the shared workstations in an area that is quiet. Agree to keep the area completely silent and respect this rule. Anyone who sits at these desks chooses to work in a silent environment in order to concentrate on their work in peace.

Organise a place for quick meetings.
Put high desks near the coffee machine or other busy area for quick meetings. Meetings are shorter when the participants are standing. At the same time, others are able to work in peace when meetings are held in a specific place.

Invest in a phone booth.
Movable, soundproof phone booths or meeting modules are an excellent addition to a busy office. They enable employees to make important phone calls and hold small-scale meetings, undisturbed and without disturbing others.

Keep your desk tidy.
A tidy desk helps you concentrate. Be sure to leave your desk tidy when you finish for the day. It is much nicer to return to a clean desk in the morning because your thoughts will be more organised in tidy surroundings. Also, when you leave a clean desk, someone else can use it while you are away. For some, tidiness can in fact have a direct impact on motivation. A good and balanced atmosphere creates a peaceful workplace.

Use earphones/headphones.
Listening to music is an excellent way to block out distractions. Listening to the right type of music has been proven to help concentration in difficult tasks.

Change places.
Sometimes we need to carry out tasks that we do not particularly enjoy. Changing places can help your motivation for tasks that you feel are difficult. Go to a place that you find pleasant and take time to plan and structure your work. It is then much easier to work systematically and efficiently. It is also good for ergonomics to change places during your workday. Change your posture regularly too, move whenever possible and work standing up from time to time if your workstation allows it. Changing your posture during the workday improves efficiency and alertness and also reduces neck, back and shoulder problems.

Instructions for designing activity-based offices can be found at the link. The instructions are based on the results of the TOTI (User-friendly office premises) project. The purpose of the project was to identify comprehensive solutions for planning office spaces. Martela was one of the project’s funding partners. It was carried out in 2009–2012 by the Finnish Institute of Occupational Health, Aalto University’s University of Technology, the University of Turku and the Satakunta University of Applied Sciences.

 

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