Who says your desk area can't have it all? Some of the most productive work spaces are those that are as functional as they are chic, so when it comes to tackling tasks, you're equally comfortable, motivated, and inspired.
Whether you're working from home or out of an office, career experts believe that creating an environment that encourages productivity is a whole lot easier with the inclusion of a few key pieces. Of course, there are some of the more obvious items, like desk organizers, a calendar, or a water bottle that reminds you to stay hydrated, but there might be a few you hadn't yet thought of that could make your time at work a little happier — both mentally and physically.
Above all, career coach Cynthia Orduña believes that to do your best work, you need to be comfortable. For her, this includes ergonomic, or physically supportive furniture pieces or accessories, but also anything that keeps your body feel more at ease. "Besides looking into how you can make your space more ergonomically friendly, I recommend having items around you that make you feel calm and comfortable," she says.
And especially when it comes to working home, human design coach Jeni Gage believes it's important to consider your surroundings, opting to include elements that naturally spark joy. "Setting up your environment to work with your natural habits will put you at ease and elevate your experience," she says. "Considering where we naturally want to be and enhancing those spaces is like being your own interior designer. We’re creating our own luxury at home."
As for some examples of items the career experts suggest stocking your office with — no matter where you're setting up shop — see ahead. Then prepare for a totally transformed work experience.
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Most Productive Work Space Item: Comfortable Chair
"The biggest mistake people can make when setting up their work spaces is creating a space that’s physically uncomfortable," says Orduña. "Awkward posture and positions can put a big strain and stress on the body. This can cause fatigue, low performance, and pain that makes you distracted, tired, and overall less productive." To combat this, look for a desk chair that's adjustable, comfy, and supportive.
Most Productive Work Space Item: Foot Rest
It's neither comfortable nor good for your overall wellbeing to stick to one still position your entire work day, which is why Orduña recommends stocking a small stool that will allow you to periodically elevate your feet. "Whether you buy a fancy foot rest or use an ottoman you have laying around your place, this can improve circulation, prevent blood clots, and relieve pressure on your lower back," she explains.
Most Productive Work Space Item: A Sweater Or Throw Blanket
"Studies have shown that temperature can greatly increase or decrease our productivity," Orduña says. "Make sure you work in a temperature that suits your needs and have a fuzzy sweater on hand for the times you need warmth or just to enjoy the coziness." A chic, wool throw blanket that can be easily stored away does the trick, too.
Most Productive Work Space Item: Lumbar Pillow
If your desk chair isn't officially ergonomic, you can mimic the effect by propping a small lumbar pillow behind your lower back. "There are many different types of pillows on the market, but having one on hand for back support can help improve your posture and relieve any tension or pressure," says Orduña.
Most Productive Work Space Item: Rolling Cart
Gage believes that the best at-home work spaces are those that are realistically integrated into your daily life. "Start with noticing where you actually work," she says. "If you have a desk but more often work on your couch or kitchen table, a rolling cart or tray with the items you need can be a simple addition to your space that will allow you to work more efficiently where you already are."
Most Productive Work Space Item: Oil Diffuser
Orduña suggests including some aromatherapy for a less stressful and more productive work space. "Essential oils like lavender can relieve stress and sandalwood can calm nerves and help with focus," she says.
Most Productive Work Space Item: Plants
While Gage shares that an ideal work station is close to a window or natural light source to "bring more clarity," you can bring the outdoors in with plants when that's not totally possible. "Plants provide us with oxygen and are just good for us," she explains.
Most Productive Work Space Item: Stress Ball
It may seem silly, but business and life coach Stacy Caprio actually believes having a stress ball handy can be an unexpected game-changer. "Stress balls are great to have in your home office [...] because they're great to play with when you get fidgety or are on a phone call and want something to do with your hands to stay grounded and present," she says.