“Zen Up” Your Workplace with These Six Practical Tricks

Categories Productivity

A workplace is much more than just a random desk full of paper clips, sticky notes, and pens, all scattered around a computer. Whether you’re a work-from-home entrepreneur or a busy corporate manager, this is where you spend most of our day.

From what you choose to put next to your laptop to how bright or dim your lights are, turning your workplace into an oasis of “Zen” and comfort is all about making small adjustments to your environment.

Let’s see how we can turn a boring desk into a place of calm and inspiration that brings out the best in us.

#1 A green workplace is a positive workplace


We know for a fact that nature has the power to bring a positive vibe to any artificial setting. Today’s workers and entrepreneurs are slowly giving away their dull cubicles in exchange for a luscious green ambiance.

According to a study on how office plants can lower stress, adding some greenery to your workplace is not just a whim, but a smart move. Here’s what the authors say would happen:

  • Our stress level will drop.
  • Our workplace attitude will switch to positive.

Use some green to turn your workplace into a Zen space, but make sure you don’t overdo it. No one likes being surrounded by thick bushes and hanging plants while working.

#2 Improved acoustics equals better performance


While some people thrive in noisy spaces, others prefer the sweet and rhythmic sound of fingers on a keyboard. But what does science have to say about it?

“Improved acoustics in open-plan offices are beneficial for health and performance.”

This is what a group of researchers concluded after studying the effects of noise absorption in open-plan offices.

Not only that a quiet workplace is positively linked to performance, but it also reduces the cognitive stress generated by acoustic disturbances.

In this case, the solution is pretty obvious – create a less noisy workspace. But this mainly depends on various factors which range from open windows to loud co-workers.

Long story short, first identify the source of noise, then find a way eliminate it.

#3 Make some small tweaks to your office lights


Ever since scientists began sketching the ideal workplace, the “natural vs. artificial light” debate has always been in the spotlight. Today, almost everyone agrees that natural light is the best option.

But what if this option is not available? Moreover, what’s the alternative for those of us working the night shift?

A group of researchers who studied the relationship between office lighting and employee wellbeing believe that:

“High correlated color temperature fluorescent lights could provide a useful intervention to improve well-being and productivity.”

The ideal light for our workplace is a clean white light with a hint of fade blue. Simply put, imagine a clear sky during a sunny day, but with more white and less blue. That’s how the perfect lighting conditions look like.

#4 Implement a robust code of ethics


“Many people hear me say that success is your duty, obligation, and responsibility. Add to that your moral and ethical code that speaks to your purpose.”

– Grant Cardone

As motivational speaker and real estate investor Grant Cardone clearly points out, ethics and goals are closely tied.

Creating a Zen workplace is as much about implementing a code of ethics as it is about designing a warm and comfortable space. A code of ethics is a useful guideline that provides stability, so it makes sense to add it to our workplace improvement kit.

Depending on how each of us chooses to envision their purpose, a personalized code of ethics may contain rules such as:

  • “I treat my clients with respect, regardless of how they treat me.”
  • “I pursue excellence, no matter what.”
  • “I take responsibility for my mistakes.”
  • “I always keep my promises.”

Write your list of “commandments,” frame it and put it on your desk so that everyone (including you) will know what you stand for.

#5 No a-holes! No bullying! Period.


As we all know, workplace bullying is a serious issue that, according to a study on work-related health issues “is positively related to mental health problems and somatic symptoms.”

Briefly put, bullying affects us both mentally and physically by creating a toxic workplace where it’s almost impossible to perform at our best.

Luckily, Robert Sutton, a respected Stanford Professor and the author of The No Asshole Rule, has found the perfect antidote for such hurtful behaviors. In his book, he gives clear tips on how to work with our “inner jerk” and implement a set of anti-bullying rules that will block others from our messing up our Zen.

Bottom line, the most efficient way of dealing with bullies and assholes is by showing zero tolerance to such attitudes.

#6 Make it warm and personal


If you think putting a family photo or any other personal objects on your desk is too cheesy, think again.

A study on office personalization and well-being revealed that making your office look personal can increase well-being and job satisfaction.

Since we’re going to spend 8-9 hours a day at our desk, why not personalize it!

Here are a few suggestions to help you turn your workplace into something less ordinary and more personal:

  • Hand-made pen holder.
  • Colorful pushpins.
  • Your favorite coffee mug.
  • More greenery.
  • Holiday photos.

Once you’ve managed to make your workspace look homier and more personal, those 8-9 hours of work will feel like a short and pleasant break.

To sum up:

  • Bring some nature into your workspace.
  • Make your workspace less noisy.
  • Use the right type of light – clean white with a hint of blue.
  • Implement and follow a tight code of ethics.
  • Have zero tolerance for bullying.
  • Transform your desk into a reflection of your personality.

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