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Harold L. Taylor

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How work environment impacts productivity

Making your environment work for you

15 ratings

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Your work environment influences your productivity. Potted plants, white noise, music, natural lighting, air circulation, physical organization, windows facing the outside world, the ability to feed off the energy of others, and even a cheerful office decor with scenic pictures on the walls can increase productivity as well as improve mood and personal well-being.

Referring to recent research, this book outlines factors besides the usual organized layout that can have a direct influence on your personal productivity as well as on your physical, mental and spiritual health.

For example, the presence of plants can improve productivity, creativity, performance and learning ability. And they not only give off oxygen, they are able to absorb environmental chemicals and transport them to the soil, rendering them less harmful. Office colors found in nature, such as blue and green, increase efficiency and focus while lowering the stress level. And the right background music can increase creativity as well as performance.

  1. Advice for those working without an office 
    1. The value of structure 
    2. Choose a “high performance” work area
    3. Your work environment can help counteract low self-discipline 
    4. Manage yourself as well as your office 
  2. Overcoming productivity killers 
    1. Are distractions depleting your energy? 
    2. Why isn’t productivity increasing? 
    3. Nine to five is no longer an option 
    4. Boosting performance in your office and work area 
  3. Getting organized helps reduce productivity killers 
    1. Work at a desk, not a bed, sofa or reclining chair 
    2. Getting organized adds meaning to life 
    3. Color me organized 
    4. Books, books and more books 
  4. Organizing your desktop helps organize your mind 
    1. Organize your electronic files 
    2. Your electronic folders must identify their contents 
    3. Organize your mind 
    4. Clearing the clutter from your mind 
  5. An office is for working, not sitting 
    1. Don’t remain chained to your desk 
    2. What can you do about it? 
    3. For creativity, take a walk 
    4. Thinking outside the box 
  6. Improving performance with office greenery 
    1. Increasing productivity can be a walk in the park 
    2. An office in the country 
    3. How nature can impact productivity 
    4. Can colors actually impact performance? 
  7. How background noise can boost productivity 
    1. The power of music to calm and heal 
    2. Music’s impact on creativity and productivity 
    3. Advantages of working at coffee shops 
    4. Bad habits may not follow you to a coffee shop 
  8. Social interaction is more important than ever 
    1. Don’t work in isolation 
    2. Social interaction aids both productivity and well-being 
    3. Social media is not a replacement for one-on-one contact
    4. Social relationships become even more important as we age 
    5. The power of social relationships 
  9. Friendships and productivity go hand in hand 
    1. Listen to what your brain is telling you 
    2. Performing acts of kindness 
    3. Friendships can extend your lifespan 
    4. Be mindful of people 
  10. Closing remarks 
  11. Books referenced for the impact of environment on personal productivity 

Jeffrey Tan

This is a useful readable book with ideas about how to arrange the work environment and it's possible or likely impact on your productivity. It cites a number of news reports but does not delve into actual research findings about this important topic. Perhaps an area of interest that could be covered in future editions is the examples of Google or Apple and how the design of the work environment matters.

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