:Creativity / Working from home

How to optimize any workspace for productivity

desk with computer and plants desk with computer and plants

The home office has become more of a staple in the last two years than maybe ever before. So many are continuing to work from home or entering the creator economy, requiring an at-home studio or workspace. With that though, comes the challenge of workspace optimization. Creating the right workspace for you that is conducive to productivity. Cobbled together offices or desk setups aren’t going to cut it if working from home is here to stay for you. So why not dive in and make sure your workspace is totally set for you to get down to business.

Why your workspace is so important

Studies show that those who have control over their workspaces are healthier, happier, and are 32% more productive. The term “workspace optimization” is pretty broad and if you’ve previously worked in an office, it’s likely something you never had to think about or do on your own.

While it can be daunting to figure out the best workspace for you, take it as an exciting challenge. You can make your workspace even more customized and perfect for the conditions you work best under. And we’ll teach you exactly how to do so! Keep in mind, if you’ve got a workshop or studio, more customization will probably be necessary for your workspace.

5 ways to optimize your workspace for peak productivity

Nothing compares to having a space that’s completely personalized for you. Not only can workspace optimization make you more productive, but it can also help you produce your best work too. Sounds great, right? Here’s how to achieve that perfect workspace.

Use the space you have

Using the space you have is key to workspace optimization. You don’t need a spare room to have a great home workspace. Working with what you have is necessary, don’t get hung up on what you’re missing, and instead focus on what you’ve got.

Consider if there’s a room in your home where you can set up shop. A spare guest room, a basement, or sometimes even a large closet can be great. If you can, create a workspace that’s separate from where you spend time relaxing.

If you can’t create this separate space though, there are alternatives. Consider compact desks, these can frequently fold up or be repurposed at the end of the day when your computer or other work materials are put away. Similarly, consider using your kitchen or dining room table. These spaces are typically not where we relax to unwind with a book or a good movie, so they can help create some of that separateness still.

Ergonomics matter

There’s a reason your expensive office chair felt more comfortable than the chair at your kitchen table—ergonomics. If you have the budget to invest in a few items, a chair and a desk could do wonders for you, especially if you spend a lot of time in front of the computer.

When sitting, you want your wrists straight and your hands at elbow level, you shouldn’t feel like you’re reaching up, according to the Mayo Clinic. Additionally, your knees should be level with your hips, and your monitor or screen should be arm’s length away at eye level. Your chair should also be able to move to the curve of your spine.

While your chair and desk are important for the time you spend sitting, there are also benefits to standing. Try to stand up at least each hour. Go grab a glass of water, do some stretches, or if you have a standing desk, make the switch from sitting to standing for a bit. Remember, if you’re standing at your desk the monitor should still be arms-length away, and your wrists should still be straight.

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Keep it organized

Keeping everything organized is extremely important, especially if you’re working with a dual-purpose space like your kitchen table. Have a designated space for work items, and if you clean up your desk at the end of each day, consider moving those items out of sight for the night.

An uncluttered workspace helps you keep your work organized. This can also mean creating a to-do list for yourself for the next day and leaving it on your computer for reference in the morning. Others find having a planner helpful or a desk calendar. Try a few different organization methods and see which one works best for you, then choose one and be consistent with it.

Eliminate distractions

Creating a to-do list for yourself each day, or blocking off time for certain tasks is great, but you won’t get much done if you’re distracted. The great thing about having control over your workspace optimization is that you can eliminate the distractions you struggle with most.

If your cell phone is a distraction for you, don’t worry, you aren’t alone. Nearly 50% of people spend five to six hours on their phones each day. Maybe putting your phone in the other room, or even across the room in a designated area would be helpful for you.

If you mindlessly type in the URL to your favorite social media each day, you can download a browser extension to block certain websites during certain times. If you find yourself slipping into putting the television on, maybe keep a TV out of your office. Once you identify the things that distract you, it will be easier for you to optimize your workspace without those distractions.

Make it your own

Lastly, make your workspace your own. This means include whatever helps you feel creative, focused, or inspired while working. It will look different for everyone but it’s important to make your space the one you’re most comfortable working in. There are a few ways you can approach this.

  • Consider getting a plant. Studies show that dust, emissions, or polluted air can lead to lower productivity, and plants help keep the air clean. They can also help increase your attention span and make you calmer.
  • Paint your walls or hang art if you’ve got the space. Certain colors can evoke certain feelings. Green tends to be easy on the eyes while yellow can help with information retention and alertness. You can also simply go with your favorite color or the one that evokes whatever emotion you prefer while working.
  • Consider a standing desk. Being able to stand up while working can help improve your attention and is better for your health!

Workspace optimization for creators

Working in the creator economy frequently means working from home, or in whatever space you’ve got available to you. Optimizing that workspace can make a huge difference in how productive you are, and how comfortable you are at work. Plus, making the best office or workspace for you means you might actually find yourself looking forward to heading to your desk or office space each morning. Follow our tips for workspace optimization and head over to teachable:hq if you’re looking for tips from other creators, or want to share your workspace!

Author: Nina Godlewski, Nina is a Content Marketing Strategist at Teachable. She has a passion for taking complex topics and making them accessible for any reader. Previously she's written for Lending Tree, Fundera, Newsweek, and Business Insider.