A Cheerful Space is a Productive Space: 3 Tips for Office Decor

I was listening to the “Hidden Brain” podcast on NPR recently, when the featured an interview with Tim Harford (economist and host of the “More or Less” podcast from BBC). Harford talked about experiments that showed that people are happier and more productive when they are given the ability to decorate and organize their own desks/work spaces, and it made me think about what makes me happy about my own office.

Media Volery (my marketing agency) is based out of a co-working space in Gowanus, but we do have our own, dedicated space, and we’ve made it our own through decor and furniture. In particular, there are a couple of things that I think help make me more productive in my office.

Organize and Personalize

One of the reasons I got this bookshelf (above, from Ikea) was that it acts as a divider to help create some separation between my desk area and the hallway area, but it also allows me to show off my personality and keep all of my supplies and books at hand. Labeled boxes and baskets help keep things neat and tidy. Plus people other than me can find things easily, even if I’m not around.

It’s also a fun place to artfully display gifts from clients, as well as some of the tools of the trade (see my USB microphone?).

It’s All About Ergonomics

When I walk through the halls of my coworking space, I often see that other members are using thick books as ad hoc risers for their computer monitors. Now, I believe that raising one’s monitor helps with eye strain, neck pains, and back pains, but I’m not going to trap my books under them. I have this Satechi monitor stand, which gives me additional USB Ports and has space beneath, where I slip my keyboard and mouse when I’m not using them. At $35, it’s a worthwhile investment in comfort and stability.

I also have an adjustable footrest to help keep my spine more aligned as I sit and type all day.

Let Green Things Grow

We have a veritable wall of plants succulents going currently. What started out as one tiny planter soon expanded into two…and now, we have a 6-foot run of different glass bowls and pots. Plants are soothing, and with “forest bathing” all the rage, it seems right that we would have some to liven up the place.

I like that succulents are relatively hardy (and can survive my business trips with no problems), so we have lots of them. Although it should be noted that the poinsettia pictured survived my broken ankle and has bounced back since my office mates forgot to water it for a month.

What helps you be productive in your office? I’d love to hear from you in the comments.

Oh, and if you’re interested in this podcast episode, listen to it here or on the NPR One app.

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