Even if you love your job, work can be stressful. From overpacked schedules to pointless meetings, it can be hard to avoid frustration in the workplace.
If you’re sitting at your desk trying not to pull your hair out, consider what you can do to create a stress-free environment at your very own desk, providing you with personalized space where you can thrive.
1. Fix the Lighting
In a survey of more than 1,600 employees, more than half of them said views of the outdoors and access to natural light was their No. 1 desire for a workplace. If your desires are similar, try moving your desk to a location with a window.
But if you’re like most, you may be stuck in a cubicle all day without any hope of seeing the sun. If that’s the case, consider investing in a light made to mimic natural sunlight. These lights have been proven to influence mood in a way that gives you a better outlook on life while also brightening your space.
2. Go Digital
Do you have papers and files cluttering your desk? If so, there’s an effortless way to save space — go digital. Not only will going digital help you declutter, it will also provide an easier system for looking up and referencing information. A task that used to take 15 minutes searching through the filing cabinet can now be completed with just a few seconds with the click of the button.
Make digital copies of all your documents and save them on your computer or a cloud-based program, such as Google Drive. Try to keep your digital files sorted in folders with descriptions that make it easy to know what’s inside.
3. Start a System
For many, it can be frustrating to focus on work with a cluttered desk. One study has shown the average American wastes 4.3 hours searching for missing papers at work, increasing stress and reducing productivity.
Your desk doesn’t have to be spotless, but you should still have an organizational system that works for you. Invest in a filing cabinet where you can store important documents. Or perhaps look into desk organizer which offer designated spots for all of your items, including pens, paperclips and tape.
4. Add More Personality
If you want to reduce stress in the workplace, try bringing in mementos from home. Anything that makes you feel more at ease or comfortable will work. The goal is to make your desk your own space — something that reminds you of your likes and personality. This could be a photo of a friend or a loved one or even a particular piece of art you love.
Once your desk has been personalized, you’ll find you can better focus on your work and remain more productive throughout the day.
5. Get Some Plants
Not only do plants look pretty and purify the air, but they’re also great tools for reducing stress. If you don’t have any plants on your desk, consider adding a few that are easy to care for and can thrive in an indoor environment. Some favorites include succulents, ivy and bonsai trees.
If you already have plants, reorganizing them can help maximize space and also increase productivity. If desk space is at a minimum, you may want to consider a wall or ceiling planter.
6. Add Some Ambiance
Sometimes ambiance — aka your favorite music — is all you need to relax and stop stressing. Happy or upbeat music might help you do your best work. So if you work alone, crank up the tunes. If you share a workspace, bring in some headphones so you don’t distract your co-workers.
If you find your shared workspace is inhibiting your productivity, consider the possibility of moving out. The benefits of renting your own office, including personal space, more flexibility and even included amenities, far outweighs the hassle of searching for a new lease.
7. Invest in Games
Miniature, desktop versions of your favorite games are perfect for those moments when you need to take a mental break. Maybe a big project just came back with pages worth of revisions — then pull out the tic-tac-toe and turn your brain off for a second.
One popular option is tabletop cornhole, where you toss coins instead of beanbags into tiny round holes. This works well in the workplace because you don’t have to ask others to join in to play. You could also choose a mini pool table or Connect Four board.
Reducing Stress at Work
Stress at work is unavoidable, even on the best of days. No matter what’s stressing you out, there’s plenty you can do at your desk to soothe your nerves and make it through another day.
Follow the seven hacks above to turn your desk into a stress-free environment you can thrive in.