Stress can be a killer. It increases heart rate, and raises blood pressure. You can feel light-headed, or get a sense of panic and irritation. When stress takes hold there is often a rush of adrenalin into the system, which must be allowed to dissipate. Errors, arguments and bad decisions can be made. Headaches, shortness of breath or physical collapse may follow, which can then lead to days lost and projects being delegated to less experienced colleagues. All this increases your stress levels.
The advantages and benefits of aiming for a stress-free environment are huge. An individual’s relationships with family, friends and colleagues will get better as stress levels decrease, thereby improving all aspects of life.
You may not be able to change the actual job or work that you do, but changing how you go about it, and in what environment, as well as the efficiency of your work and the times you keep are all possible.
So where would you start?
Reducing Stress by Altering the Work Space
There are several aspects of work space that can be altered to create a new and improved ambiance:
- Chairs and seating
- Filing cabinets and storage space
- Desks and tables
- Personal items
For the walls, choose a calming color rather than anything rich and vibrant, but something that you like. Muted turquoises, greens, blues, beiges, even soft yellows work well on the eye. Pictures or photographs should also have that relaxing theme; use skies, seascapes, countryside, animals or flowers.
If you are unable to choose the floor covering, lay a mat under the desk or near a low chair. If it feels right, go for a shaggy long pile that is soft. A spare pair of shoes or even slippers to sit in will add to your comfort. Add a footstool to raise your legs.
It’s a good idea to have more than one place to sit in your ‘retreat’. A properly positioned and ergonomic typist’s chair for working at a computer is essential. Consider a couple of easy-chairs at a different height placed near a window. These can be used for meeting people or reading documents or books.
When considering filing cabinets and other storage, use natural materials like canvas, woven grass, wood or baskets to store items. Keep away from metal as the texture and colour of ‘greener’ products will aid your new calmness.
When considering a desk or table, remember that a wood or leather-topped desk will have tactile qualities which are far more pleasant than metal or plastic.
In terms of lighting, it’s important to maintain several lighting choices which can be varied according to the work being done. Dimmer switches, table lights, angled lamps, as well as overhead lighting can all be used. If your room is not lit naturally from large windows, avoid fluorescent lighting if at all possible and invest in full-spectrum lighting. It has been proven to help with productivity as well as keeping people feeling alert and fresh.
A lot of people enjoy the addition of family photos, flowers, plants, or personal items like desk gadgets or ornaments. These will add a home-like touch to the working environment.
Quiet background music, usually instrumental, and classical, has often been cited as aiding calmness. You may look for other sounds like the sea or birdsong, provided it is non-intrusive.
There are hundreds of books on this subject, but it is worthwhile looking at some of the obvious ways to create a more stress-free working day.
Time Management and Efficiency
In terms of efficiency and elements that promote efficiency, there are several factors to consider when seeking to maintain a stress-free workspace:
- Filing and storage: Don’t be afraid to label all your files and mini-drawers, especially if secretaries or other colleagues access them. Have a place for all the essential tools and office items and be strict with yourself about putting things back where you can find them quickly again.
- Paperwork: Be strict here too. Develop a method of only allowing a document to cross your desk once. Take a letter or email; either add a post-it note with your response to it as soon as you’ve read it, or actually pen your reply immediately. This way you never need to read the letter again and leave it kicking around on your desk or inbox adding to your stress.
- Start of day: Arrive half an hour early or set aside time when you will not take phone calls. Plan your work, make lists and prioritise what needs to be done. (A tip for lists; always start your list with two or three things you have already done, and tick them off; this will give you a boost as you plough down the list!)
- Telephone conversations: An excellent trick for avoiding all the stress connected to conversations that are sometimes disputed later, is to keep a page-a-day diary physically or electronically and record every phone call. It is amazing how quickly misunderstandings can be sorted out if you can recount the exact time and content of a conversation.
Reducing Stress With a Change of Scenery
The ideal office environment would be where management provide a chill-out amenity. This could be a quiet space with soothing or gently-running water, stones, plants, soft lighting and calming music. Alternatively a games room, or somewhere to exercise, do yoga or have a massage. dakota terdekat
Implementing some of the suggestions here will undoubtedly improve your working environment, and if you can gradually change several things, you may lengthen your life!