Is your workspace sterile and uninspiring? Do you rack your brain to come up with original ideas? Recent psychological studies have shown that you can actually increase creativity and productivity by simply optimising a lacklustre workspace. Here are some effective ways you can boost your mental energy and get those brainwaves flowing.
What do the JIA Boutique Hotel in Shanghai, the Establishment and Ivy in Sydney, and the Botanical and Bistro Guillaume in Melbourne all have in common? They were all the creation of the extremely talented Kerry Phelan, the Melbourne-based architect that has taken the office, hotel, and commercial design world by storm.
Make your workspace your own
Being able to take control of your immediate workspace and how it’s organised can have significant effects on how creative you are. Studies have shown that workers who have input into how an office is designed are more likely to have a higher creative output. So personalise your workspace as much as you’re able with photos and meaningful items – you’ll feel more connected with the space and more innovative as a result.
Curved furniture encourages creativity
The type of furniture you have in your workspace can also influence your creative performance. According to a couple of recent studies most people find interiors with curved furniture more aesthetically pleasing and more inviting. So get rid of that sharp-cornered work desk and straight-edged chair and replace them with curvier versions. You’ll not only increase productivity and creativity but your positive thinking too.
Light it up, or down
Good lighting in your workspace is a must. Apparently different levels of light affect different parts of the brain. For instance, the brighter a room, the more your analytical and evaluative thinking is stimulated; whereas lower lighting encourages the generation of new ideas. So a lighting system that allows you to ramp up the brightness or tone it down, depending on what you’re working upon, is ideal.
Colour your world
We spend ages pouring over paint charts to set the mood for the lounge or bedroom, so why should it be any different for your workspace? If you have the freedom to experiment with colour then go for blue or green shades to enhance creativity. Red will help you focus and foster greater attention to detail.
Keep it natural
We all know plants are beneficial for generating oxygen but they have also been shown to reduce stress levels and keep people calm and focused. So take a moment to invest in a green plant or two for your workspace, even if it’s the only thing you do to optimise it. Looking out onto a natural scene is also helpful for recharging flagging mental energy levels so, if you’re able, move your desk so you can see out the window. A view of trees is more inspiring than a blank wall.
Untidy your desk
Research now shows that having a stringently tidy desk limits creativity as the mind is impoverished of stimulation. On the opposite side of the spectrum people with untidy desks are usually often more engaged in their tasks and have free flowing ideas. As Einstein said “If a cluttered desk is a sign of a cluttered mind, of what, then, is an empty desk a sign?”
So, even though you may not be able to control certain features, such as ceiling height, decor or location, there are almost always things you can do to optimise your immediate workspace. Creativity aside, if you’re spending seven hours or more a day in your workspace it makes sense to make it as comfortable and inviting as possible for your own mental health.