Written by Anvita Sethi (PSYCHOLOGIST, THERAPIST) | November, 2022
Have you noticed having slouched shoulders while working or having consistent back pain? These may be the first signs that your body is not responding well to the seating arrangement. Ignoring your body’s comfort and expecting your brain to take cognitive load is a difficult task to fulfill. Ensure that your chair has good lumbar support and the table is placed at a distance which is comfortable for your body.
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Research studies both on employees in China and the UK, have found that an approximate temperature of 21℃ is required for optimal performance. Differences in even 1℃ have been shown to have a significant decrease in productivity. If you are in a geographical location with extreme temperatures make sure that you feel comfortable enough physically before engaging in work and have more realistic expectations about how the extreme weather may impact performance. Asia is well known for their extreme humidity and sun which causes individuals to be slower, sluggish and reduce their work productivity. Therefore, offices and inside spaces have air conditioning to make individuals comfortable at all times.
Having a good source of natural and artificial light in your workstation can promote cognitive activity like attention, working memory, decision making and also elevate mood. Insufficient light sources can cause strain on the eyes, headaches and induce feelings of lethargy.
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Noise & DisturbancesWorking on an urgent project and having your neighbor blasting loud music or hearing distant construction noise irritates us all. However, with our evolving lifestyle, technology and social media can be counted as potential sources of disengagement. Constant email pop ups and notifications from several apps may not seem like a disturbance but it interferes with the flow of thought. A simple solution to this is having a tech or social media break after 15 minutes of performing consistently. This aids the flow and also gives your brain a chance to address the need of using technology. When you see yourself performing well, slowly increase the work time to 30 minutes, as we know through research that we begin losing attention post this mark. Thus, a cluttered and dimly lit room, an uncomfortable chair, and background noise can all have a serious impact on your productivity. While these changes may seem subtle, they do make a remarkable impact. A simple way in which you can track changes in your productivity is by maintaining a journal. After incorporating such changes in your environment, notice if there are any differences you feel in your ability to attend to things, your mood and your overall energy level. Post a month of these environmental changes to see if there is an improvement in your overall work performance.
ReferencesLan, L., Lian, Z., & Pan, L. (2010). The effects of air temperature on office workers’ well-being, workload and productivity-evaluated with subjective ratings. Applied Ergonomics, 42(1), 29–36. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.apergo.2010.04.003 Stringer, Heather. “https://www.apa.org/monitor/2017/09/boosting-productivity.” Boosting Productivity, Sept. 2017, www.apa.org/monitor/2017/09/boosting-productivity.
About Therapist Anvita Sethi
Anvita is a trauma-focused, humanistic therapist with in-depth experience working with adolescents, young adults, couples & families. She believes that the main goal of therapy is to create hope. She has a particular interest in working with people dealing with anxiety and eating disorders. Anvita is down to earth & her unwavering curiosity encourages her to continue breaking new ground. In her free time, she likes to read, bake and spend time with nature.