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How to Create an Inspiring Work Environment

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Ana Pierce is back to give some tips on how to thrive at work by creating an appealing surrounding in a less-than-ideal or simply uninspiring workspace!
Photo by Photographee.eu/Shutterstock.com


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From cubicle to home office, sometimes the places where we’re expected to produce our best work can be the least inspiring. But it doesn’t have to be that way! From working in an art gallery, to a corporate office and now working from home, I’ve tried nearly all the tricks to make the most of my office spaces. Here are eight tested and proved ways for boosting your creativity and productivity at work:

1. Change Your Desktop Wallpaper

Work-environment-desktop-picture.

Photo by Ana Pierce/Shelearnsthings.com

What an easy fix! You can literally do this within seconds, and having a bright, inspiring wallpaper on your desktop can do wonders for your mood sitting at the computer. One blogger I love who has a ton of great downloads on her site is Bri Emery of Design Love Fest. You can find lots of colorful wallpapers here.

2. Take a Walk

Sometimes sitting at a desk hour, after hour…after hour, after hour…can get old—whether or not you love what you do. If you’ve hit a roadblock or you’re feeling like you’re dragging, take a break and go for a walk. Whether it’s a few feet over to another coworker’s desk, or a quick break outside, your body needs to move—and you’ll feel the difference.

3. Light a Candle

Scents are one powerful, seemingly trivial, thing that can have us feeling really inspired. The proof is in the pudding; when you walk into an Anthropologie and your senses go crazy—or you find a favorite local boutique that always burns the same candle. If your office allows candles, I would encourage you to light one when you’ve hit a wall.

According to Psychology Today, researchers from Northwestern University in Chicago published a study that links natural light exposure to better work performance—and even better sleep at night!

If your fire code doesn’t allow for that, room diffusers and even wall plug-ins can make a world of difference. If you’re wall-to-wall with coworkers and you can’t have any overpowering scents, try keeping a small bottle of your favorite essential oil nearby. When you need it most, you can dab a little on your wrist, behind your ears or on your temples to get you back on track.

4. Change up the Lighting

Natural-light.

Photo by Breather on Unsplash

If possible, bring in lamps or use natural light instead of overhead fluorescent bulbs. According to Psychology Today, researchers from Northwestern University in Chicago published a study that links natural light exposure to better work performance—and even better sleep at night!

5. Spin Around in Your Roll-y Chair

Just do it once (don’t get too crazy!), but I dare you not to feel more energetic.

6. Hang a Small Mirror

If you have an office space, a small mirror can double as décor and add additional light into the room, depending on where you hang it. But the biggest reason I’m advocating for a mirror in your office is the worst-case scenario: you have cilantro in your teeth. (Or whatever happens to get in your teeth; for me, it always seems to be cilantro.)

Do a quick teeth-check in your mirror before meetings to avoid any awkward encounters with coworkers or clients.

7. Hang Art

Displaying art is a great refresher when you’re tired of looking at a computer screen. If your office doesn’t allow hanging art on a wall, you can find some 4×6 or 5×7 frames and set them on your desk instead.

8. Keep it Clean

Clean-desk-for-work.

Photo by Ana Pierce/Shelearnsthings.com

It can be tempting to leave stacks of paper or piles on our desk, thinking we’ll get to them later. I don’t know about you, but I produce much better work in a clean, clutter-free atmosphere. I guess I’d better get to cleaning my office now…