8 Clever Office Hacks for Productivity and a Better Work Life
Business| By Amy Vagne | August 12, 2020
Streamlined. Organised. Efficient. These smart office productivity hacks and workplace solutions will ensure you’re at your best and improve your work life.
The average person will spend 90,000 hours at work – that’s the equivalent of one third of your life. So it’s essential that your workspace makes you feel positive and prepared and improves your work life. An efficient and inspiring office or work-from-home space is about much more than rearranging the furniture and making sure the printer has paper. Take a look at these worklife and office productivity hacks and change how you work for the better.
Organise Your Desktop Workspace
Of all the office productivity hacks, this is one of the easiest to try. A pretty desktop wallpaper is pleasing to the eye and free wallpapers are available online, so search for something that suits your style. But there’s also a way the screen you stare at all day long can actually boost your productivity. Feature an image of a role model who inspires you – and their face will instantly remind you of the value of hard work whenever you’re tempted to procrastinate.
Organise your files and folders into categories (there are numerous tutorials online covering desktop organisation for Macs and PCs) or queue up active files in sequence, so that a quick scan can let you know where you’re at.
Laptops and Tablets to Consider
Make Your Workspace Ergonomic
Sitting at a desk all day can wreak havoc on your body. Stiff shoulders, sore neck, headaches – the list of ailments caused by poor posture and bad desk design goes on and on. But good news: a few simple hacks and office furniture swaps can help you adjust your body to the most ergonomic position. Your keyboard should be positioned at or below elbow level – try a pull-out keyboard tray that’s adjustable and suits your size. Your computer monitor should be an arm’s length away and the screen at eye level; a monitor stand could be useful. Invest in an ergonomic office chair and adjust the height so your wrists are straight when you’re typing and your knees are level with your hips. If this means your feet aren’t touching the floor, you’ll need a foot rest (or use a few stacked reams of paper).
What to Try
Keep an Office Distraction List
Sure, to-do lists are a great way to get organised and prioritise your time, but what about keeping track of all the oddball ideas, texts from friends, interesting articles and notifications that pop up suddenly during a workday and threaten to distract you from your duties? It’s important for wellbeing to make sure your day is balanced, so take a minute to jot these down on a notepad or quirky office stationery whenever they arise, then quickly switch back into work mode. When you do take a scheduled break, or head off home on public transport, you’ve got an entertaining agenda that’s ready and waiting to be tackled.
What to Try
They’re a must-have in a communal workplace or when working from home. There are three important reasons why you should implement this office hack. Firstly, headphones block out distracting noise, especially if they’re noise-cancelling. Two, press play and pump some calming tunes or white noise straight into your ears to boost your mood and increase your productivity. And three, while it may sound silly, wearing headphones acts as a ‘Do Not Disturb’ sign to those around you, whether that’s family or colleagues. Got a deadline looming? Pop a pair on and even if nothing is playing, you’ll prevent unnecessary interruptions and enhance your own ability to knuckle down and do deep work.
What to Try
Lock up Your Phone
In 2019, an Australian school tested a lockable pouch system for cloaking mobiles during class time and the results were impressive to say the least. Parents, teachers and students alike noticed a dramatic increase in positive social interactions and quality learning and now several states have banned phone use during school. Perform a citizen’s arrest on your own mobile and secure it away in a locked drawer for the duration of your working day. Now you won’t be tempted to check your messages and social media accounts throughout the day and you won’t fall down the inevitable rabbit hole of distracting content.
What to Try
Conduct Standing Meetings
It’s time. Ditch the seats and switch to standing-only meetings to help boost energy, encourage ideas and keep things short and succinct. The great thing about standing meetings is that they are easy to do whether it’s for a Zoom, a phone call or a face to face meeting. Standing meetings tend to be shorter than sitting ones and this means less distractions and time wastage and more energised minutes for focusing on productive nose-to-the-grindstone work. Standing also has health benefits: it can improve alertness, release endorphins, and speed up your metabolism while frequent periods of standing at work are shown to lower your risk of developing diseases like type 2 diabetes.
What to Try
Find a Mentor or Buddy
Experts say we should look for a mentor in our professional lives, someone who can advise us and share their expertise and connections. A little help from a boss or an acquaintance you admire may lead to you becoming more organised, doing better quality work and eventually advancing your career. Consider establishing a similar symbiotic relationship with a colleague or co-worker – suddenly you’ll have an office buddy who can help you stay accountable and improve your motivation while you pool resources, ideas and information.
Give Yourself Less Time
Yes, you read that right. Ever heard of Parkinson’s law? It is said to refer to the phenomenon whereby work somehow expands to fill the time you set to complete it. It’s human nature to procrastinate and put off essential tasks until deadlines are nigh, so nip that in the bud by giving yourself less time than you actually need to finish tasks off. Setting a tight deadline should light a proverbial fire under your butt – you’ll need to get competitive and embrace the challenge as you race against the clock. Distractions and delays will fall by the wayside.