Whether you have a full-on home office or you’re trying to make the most of 350 square feet, creating a space that’s comfortable, inspiring and promotes productivity is of the utmost importance. First, consider temperature. Researchers from Cornell University tinkered with the thermostat in an insurance office and found that lower temperatures (68 degrees) resulted in employees making 44 percent more errors and being less productive than when the office was warmer (77 degrees). Finally, the evidence you need to win the never-ending thermostat war with your partner who “runs hot.” Next, think about ordering some plants—even if they’re of the faux variety. Surrounding yourself with plants won’t just help you live longer (and freshen up a dreary space), it can also make you more productive. A study led by Cardiff University monitored two large offices over a period of months and found that a plant-rich workspace could increase productivity by 15 percent. Go figure. Depending on your setup, you might also want to invest in a pair of noise-canceling headphones. Between dogs barking and kids running around, they could be an absolute game changer. Not sure where to start? Here are some of our editors’ go-tos.
4. Schedule Breaks
The more time you spend working, the more work that gets done, right? Not quite. According to research from the University of Illinois, taking scheduled breaks can improve concentration. Conversely, working nonstop can lead to deterioration in performance. If you’re so busy that you can’t even remember to take a breathing break or drink some water, try using an app like Time Out that will make sure you hit pause on the reg. One of my coworkers, Rachel, tells me that as soon as she signs on the in morning, she checks her calendar. “I schedule a 30-minute block so that I can take my dog for a walk outside. Now that I don’t have any distractions throughout the day to pull me away from my desk, I can sit in front of my computer for hours without even realizing it.” Once she’s on said walk, Rachel unplugs by not checking her phone or email, which she says helps her reset her head and focus.