How to create a more productive workspace

How to create a more productive workspace

Whether you’re hot-desking or have a regular spot, there’s always a way to personalise your workspace. How depends partly on your personality type, but one common tactic is decluttering, and there is new tech that can help with this too. By making office devices feel more consumer led, to creating all-in-one eco-system computers for extra space and convenience. It’s all part of the converged thinking that’s intelligently transforming productivity from the datacentre to the desktop, writes Gareth Kershaw…

Okay, so it’s kind of an odd way to start a blog about the evolving workspace, but let’s talk about cycling. Specifically British cycling and its huge achievements over the last decade or two.

Multiple Olympic champions, world champions, Grand Tour winners. Hoy, Wiggins, Thomas, the Kennys. In short, a quite astonishing success story.

All the more so as it has come to fruition essentially thanks to one man’s simple idea. The man was Dave Brailsford and the idea was this: break down every element of riding a bike, improve it by just 1%, put it all together, and you’ll see a massive increase overall.

And what a theory it proved.

Can business productivity – output against the input of time, energy, and resources – be viewed in the same way? Well yes, but it’s a much tougher ask. For one thing, there are rather more working parts and people involved.

There is an area in which there’s obvious room for immediate improvement however – the front wheel of the productivity bike. The workspace. Indeed, if you’re smart, there are quick wins to be had.

If your workspace is “running interference with your intentions” for instance, you could be giving yourself mechanical problems without even knowing it. So said Anja Jamrozik, PhD, behavioural scientist, and consultant for flexible workspace provider Breather, in an interview with Fast Company recently.

“The workspace is an under-appreciated factor”, she says. “Everyone notices a ‘loud’ co-worker in the moment, for example, but on a broader scale, we often don’t pay attention to how it might impact us over the whole day, week, or year.”

Such are the seemingly insignificant things that can impact the workspace, and therefore satisfaction, mood, performance, and productivity, she explains. And while certain elements may seem fixed, the fact is that almost anything can be changed, even in a small space, to help.

There are two immediate steps, apparently.

First, matching your space to your task. What kind of tasks are you undertaking? Does your workspace support them or make them more difficult?

“Think of the home environment”, she suggests. “You wouldn’t entertain in your laundry room.” It’s the same at the office.

Secondly, comfort. It’s a simple fact that people perform better when they’re comfortable, and several basic elements – temperature, lighting, even decoration and plants – can have an impact here. (One study in the Journal of Experimental Psychology found that plants can increase employee productivity by 15%!)

Another issue with obvious ramifications for workspace personalisation is ‘hot-desking’. But it needn’t be a problem, says Jamrozik. Something as obvious as furniture – a desk or chair that can be raised or lowered – can “help me feel like I have my own space rather than just a seat at a table.”

Last, but by no means least, comes the inevitable clutter. Stacks of paper, the detritus of the working week, untidy cabling, clumsy outsize workstations – all of which can impact productivity to a surprising degree, and in different ways for different personalities.

While extroverted people prefer more visual information in their space, explains Jamrozik, introverts tend to favour sparser environments. It depends on the person.

In any event, technology is crucial. Especially as the convergence between home and office technologies continues, and with it the shrinking and ‘consumerization of IT’. After all, who wouldn’t want to be able to interrogate their marketing database as quickly and simply as asking Alexa to turn on the kitchen light?

Proving especially key to this evolution are all-in-one eco-system computers, for example. Marrying extra space, convenience, and versatility with massive processing power and reliability, such systems – Lenovo’s own Tiny Eco family for example – are a literal embodiment of Brailsford’s ideal: a hundred ‘tiny’ improvements coming together to make an incredibly impactful difference overall.

Ready to get on track?

Learn more about evolving your workspace and the Lenovo ThinkCentre Tiny eco-system here>>

Gareth Kershaw - Author

Gareth Kershaw

Cutting his editorial teeth in the still callow IT press of the mid 1990s, Gareth Kershaw is a specialist technology and business writer of more than 20 years’ experience.

Spanning roles from journalist to editorial director and virtually everything in between, his career has encompassed regular contributions to a wide range of technology media titles – including Computing, Computer Reseller News, Channel Business, and Microscope – as well as the national press.

While his two decades in technology have seen extraordinary transformation and change from one end of the industry to the other, his philosophy tends to remain one of “plus ca change plus c’est la meme chose”.