Make Your Workspace Work for You

Setting up a healthy workspace can improve productivity, creativity and health.

What are the most important features of a good workspace?

First, buy the best chair you can afford. A good chair provides support and comfort and prevents a sore back at the end of the day.

Second, good lighting. For good working conditions, you need two kinds of lighting: ambient lighting, which illuminates the whole room, and task lighting which lights the work area specifically. Natural light is the best, if you have it.

And third is fresh air. With good air quality and flow you won’t end up feeling tired and dragged out at the end of a day. Fresh air contributes to increased productivity, efficiency and accuracy and general

wellbeing. Air quality is affected by office machines like laser printers, fax machines and photocopiers which emit toxins. You will need help to clean the air, so take a trip to a good plant store and ask about air cleaning plants that will suit your lighting conditions.

Where to Start? Establish Function

Make a complete list of the functions that your office must provide. By making a list, you become clearer on how to accomplish your goal.

Create Systems

Set up effective and efficient systems for files and books, current work, bills and their due dates, office supplies and machinery. Figure out the system that works best for you. Don’t try to implement

something that feels foreign or you are sure to fail at maintaining it.

Create an end of day ritual

Take 10-15 minutes at the end of each day to straighten up your office, file materials that have been dealt with, check your calendar for the next day and create a to-do list. This simple ritual will save you an hour the next morning!

Here are some principles of good office organization:

1. Keep the things you use on a daily basis right at or around your desk area.

2. Put the things that you use weekly within arm’s reach.

3. Move the things that you use less frequently (once a month or more) to the edge of the room, or store them in a cupboard away from your immediate work area.

4. Things that will only be referred to rarely, such as tax records etc, should be stored in a different area altogether.

5. Think vertically. Most people have lots of flat surfaces in their offices, but lack vertical storage. Flat surfaces attract clutter and chaos. Vertical storage encourages order.

If you create a place for everything, then you don’t have any reason to leave it lying around. Clutter is often a result of not making a place for something to be stored.

The time you spend in organizing things one time will save you hours and hours of searching and frustration later on.

Reduce Fatigue

Get a headset for your phone. This will reduce stress and strain on your neck.

Create a place to rest your eyes. Put something beautiful across the room or position your desk to have a view to the outside.

Drink lots of water, which will help you to be more alert and less fatigued at the end of the day.

Everyone works more creatively, productively and effectively in a work environment that is suited to their physical and emotional needs. Make the most of your space.

Sarah Clark is a graphic designer, workspace creator and mandala maker, living in Nanaimo. Visit: