In today’s corporate culture, there’s one thing most millennials strive for in our office environment – reduce stress. Right now, it’s one of the hottest conversation topics in the workplace and wellness. While many people claim that they thrive in high-stress environments, others work best in someplace that is relaxing and tranquil. Workspaces have traditionally been dreary places, with dull color schemes and generic furniture. But more and more people are realizing that making a few small tweaks to their environment can be surprisingly powerful.
Whether you’re a cubicle dweller, have a corner office, or work in your home, refreshing your office space to create a healthy, soothing, and comfortable environment will allow you to be less stressed, more productive, and creative and more balanced overall. We’re in an age of information overload and non-stop “productivity”, and too often we don’t balance that out with downtime to relax, recharge, and fully connect with nature and with the people and the world around us.
What is Zen?
Originally a Chinese offshoot of Buddhism, Japanese Zen eventually developed out of Chinese Zen. A Buddhist practice centered on insight and meditation, Zen has a loyal following, who are looking tranquillity and feel calm. In interior design, Zen design is characterized by simplicity and clean, natural lines. To learn more about Zen design, check out seven design principles inspired by Zen wisdom.
Creating a Zen-like office environment is easier than you think. All it takes is some reorganization and creativity, and you’ll not only enjoy enhanced focus and a productivity boost, but chances are also you’ll be happier, too.
Here are 10 ideas to Zen up the workspace into a calm stress-free haven:
1. Improve lighting
Most offices have one of these common lighting problems: bad and overexposed strip lighting, flickering lights, dim lights, or a lack of any natural light. Bad lighting can be bad for people’s health and eyes, and it deadens and dulls the senses as well as the designs. Upgrade your space by:
Increasing natural light – Having windows means opening up your office space onto the rest of the world, letting in light and fresh air.
Using light bulbs with softer light – softer light is easier on the eyes and the brain. Avoid single sources of light that hang down from the ceiling as they create harsh lines and unnatural ‘spotlights’.
2. Declutter your desk
The state of your desk is the state of your mind. It’s proven beyond a doubt. So clean off the clutter from your desk to get more clarity and focus. That goes for your online desktop too. The only items on your desk should be those you need to perform your current tasks. Many people will notice a dramatic improvement in their productivity once the clutter is gone.
Check out our blog to know more about the power of a clutter-free desk.
3. Be one with work and mindfulness
In mindfulness principles, it’s taught that every second is considered ours for the taking, offering both a new start and new possibilities. Keeping this in mind, being in touch with your thoughts is crucial for being in touch with the moment. In order to make your workday and mindset harmonious, it’s important to enjoy the present moment and not get distracted.
4. Add sounds
Working in a completely silent area can be quite distracting for some people, so adding in a little sound can help. Some people could benefit from music, while others might enjoy the simplicity of a desktop water fountain and the relaxing sound of flowing water. Experiment and see what works for you.
5. Get more storage space
Storage is critical to maintaining a clean desktop. If you have a larger workspace or office, opt for some open shelving. Make sure to keep the shelves well-organized and get built-in storage. If you are working in a cubicle or smaller workstation, it’s time to get creative. Choose file trays and desktop storage that is both functional and beautiful. There are plenty of stunning file boxes that can be kept on the floor and pulled onto your desk as needed. Use drawer inserts to keep office supplies and files in tidy order.
Check out our blog for tips for a perfectly organized workspace.
6. Personalize your space
Looking at your work area, would a stranger be able to learn anything about you? Is it devoid of a personality? If so, you might need to spruce it up a bit to make you feel more at home by adding a picture frame or decorative desk accessories. Choose items that speak for your personality and make you feel better.
7. Add more Green
Adding some plants to your workspace can go a long way toward creating a calm environment. Adding greenery to office spaces has been proven to reduce employee stress and to improve air quality, so go ahead and get a plant for your desk. If you have a larger office, consider adding a larger plant such as a ficus tree.
8. Invest in an ergonomic chair
If you are going to be chained to your desk, you’ll want to be comfortable. If you’re constantly fidgeting because you can’t get comfortable in your seat, you’re going to be distracted and less attentive. Being uncomfortable can contribute to feelings of stress. Send a request to your office manager if the chair doesn’t suit you and get a comfortable chair for your home office.
Click here to learn how to choose the right chair for you.
9. Switch to a sit-stand desk
Just like being away from nature, sitting all day is unnatural and can be seriously harmful. Switching to a sit-stand desk can reduce blood sugar spikes, improve heart health, alleviate back and neck pain, and boost your metabolism. Standing desks also have a direct impact on mental health. In one study, 87% of people who switched to them reported increased energy. Studies show that standing desks decrease the risk of depression and anxiety.
Check out our range of sit-stand desks: UP1
10. Use natural and healthy design choices
Use soft, rounded surfaces in your office alongside traditional hard lines to improve the flow of energy in the room. Shapes, colors, and textures can literally change moods. Intelligent Zen color design favors natural earthy colors. Textures and surfaces should be warm and tactile: natural, not clinical, and harsh. Office furniture should be of high quality and well-designed to avoid aches and pains.
Everyone has a different idea of what feels “Zen.” What matters most is what feels right to you. Don’t be afraid to experiment. The goal is to create a space that nurtures your soul, inspires creativity, and sets the stage for success.