Having a productive work environment for you and your team is important to facilitate tasks being accomplished as well as having fun at the office. We spend so much time working that even the littlest of things can make the world of difference.
Being a consultant, I’ve worked in a number of environments and settings. Some were awesome and well, others not so much. The worst was three of us from our team stuck in a small office which I’m convinced was a converted closet with a small desk.
Here is a list of contributing factors that make up a productive work environment.
1. A Large 4k Monitor
My setup is a 28 inch 4k monitor that I use as my ‘workspace’ monitor along with the laptop screen. The 4k monitor is large enough to have multiple work patterns setup based on my current task. I have two common patterns of three equal sections where I’ll have OneNote (I love OneNote), a web browser and another app such as word or excel.
The second pattern I use on the 4k monitor is 2/3 for PowerPoint, Management Studio, Visual Studio or other similar app where a bit more space is needed. The other 1/3 I’ll have usually a web browser. For the laptop screen, I’ll use it for Outlook and Skype.
I’ve found this setup to work best for me and our team.
2. Sit/Stand Desks
If you’ve not used a sit/stand desk or haven’t tried standing throughout the day, I highly recommend it. The first few weeks can be tiresome but take breaks and don’t try and be a superhero. To ease food soreness, a standing mat is great as well.
There are many configurations I’ve seen, but I prefer an entire desk that lifts and lowers rather than setting up a table on top of the desktop. Desks where they have a simple button that lifts or lowers the desk is far easier and from my research, doesn’t cost too much more.
3. Ample Whiteboard Space
There’s not a day that goes by where we don’t use a whiteboard. Being able to brainstorm, sketch or collaborate over design patterns is very helpful and more efficient. A quick 5 minute whiteboard session can reduce an enormous amount of confusion, back and forth and most importantly wasted time and energy. Even if the others aren’t in the same room, you can setup skype or even take a quick picture. There are online versions but we’ve not tested these out but I’m sure will at some point.
4. Quiet Areas
Sometimes you just have to buckle down and seclude yourself in order to get things knocked out. Having the ability to ‘escape’ can be critical at times. Most importantly, ensuring your team members respect this and understand the importance of focusing on a single task.
5. Snacks and Drinks
Having easy access to snacks or even as simple as a water cooler can ease the burden and remove several disruptions. You hear of many startups offering free lunches and all the drink soda – I think this is a bit much. Having granola bars, a water cool or other simple things around the office will allow you to stay focused and on task rather than thinking of your begging stomach.
6. Natural Sunlight
I far prefer open floor plans than closed off with little to now windows. I think a productive team is sitting all together in a larger room or open floor plan with ease of access to everyone else than individual offices. For me personally and from what I’ve experienced, everyone’s attitude and productivity is greatly improved with natural sunlight peer through the work environment.
We spend so much time at work and away from our families that it has to be fun. Breaking away for a 20 minute foosball game can allow you time to reduce stress while letting your mind free from all that’s bogging you down. We had a foosball table in the office for a few years and now have a Ping-Pong table. Neither got a ton of use but they were great when needed. I often get asked if team members spend more time at these tables than working. From my perspective, it’s a productive balance.
What do you find that contributes to a productive work environment?