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Work-related stress is a very real and serious thing. According to a study by the CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention), 40% of workers reported their job “very or extremely stressful.” In a study conducted by Yale University, 29% of workers feel that they are “quite a bit or extremely stressed at work.”
Stress can lead to high blood pressure, depression, heart palpitations and other serious conditions. Below, we’ve documented some quick and easy ways to get you relaxing at the office, right at your desk.
Reorganize Your Setup: A messy desk leads to a messy life. If your desk is cluttered, get rid of it by adding in more filing cabinets and other organizational tools. Take a look at your workspace set up and see if there’s anything in its arrangement causing you unnecessary stress. Is your chair comfortable? Do your eyes strain due to the proximity of your computer screen? Do your wrists hurt from your keyboard? Is your phone too far away for you to easily reach it? If any of these things ring a bell, talk to your supervisor about rearranging or upgrading your workspace.
- Stress Ball: It’s an oldie, but it works. A stress ball or stress toy can give you the opportunity to release tension in your body through hands-on physical exertion. Keep it handy and nearby.
- Change the Light: Amazingly, light can dramatically affect our day-to-day moods. If you have your own office, consider turning off the fluorescent lights and bringing in table and floor lamps that will project softer and more relaxing illumination. If you are in a shared space, place a few flameless flickering candles to set a mood, or invest in a small light box that mimics our natural sunlight.
- Yoga at Your Desk: There’s no need to “downward dog” in front of your coworkers, but when you’re feeling overwhelmed, take some time to sit in your chair and practice some yoga breathing exercises. Restorative yoga breathing emphasizes pulling in your breath through your nose, from the diaphragm up, while exhaling through your mouth. Avoid moving your upper body or breathing in through your chest. With each breath try to lengthen your inhalation and exhalation.
- Keep a Journal: Keep a small journal at your desk or on your computer. Whenever you’re feeling stressed, write down your immediate feelings. Make sure you are open and honest in your writings, but do keep the journal or computer file in a safe and protected place.
- Talk to Someone: Don’t be afraid to reach out to your manager or fellow coworkers when you’re feeling stressed. Sometimes just a quick email or phone call to a trusted confidant is enough to relieve some of the tension.Visit Susan Jennings on Google+
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Okay, so maybe the above image is a little … too much; but it’s safe to say, if you work in an office with cubicles, your cubicle is where you’re going to spend most of day, so why not make it your own?
[With your supervisor’s approval] Creating your own work space can be as simple as putting up a few mementos, to designing a more productive environment. Whichever route you choose to go down, we’ve compiled a few tips to help you get started.
1. Walls and Floors: Add wallpaper or fabric to the walls of your cubicle. With most cubicles, you can easily tack or tape these items on without damaging the material. Place an area rug or a mat on the floor of your cubicle for a cozier, homier feel.
2. Upgrade Your Office Furniture: If you don’t like your chair, desk or cabinets, bring in your own. As we mentioned earlier, if you’re going to spend the majority of your day in your cubicle, it’s worth it to be comfortable. Invest in a new or used ergonomic chair, desk and mouse or keyboard, if you can. Or, see what comfortable furniture you have at home that you’re not using and bring that in.
3. Let There Be Light [and Temperature Control]: Light and temperature can greatly affect your productivity and mood. If your office is too dark for your tastes, bring in your own desk lamp. If you prefer mood lighting, relax with some flameless flicker candles or string lights. Temperature-wise, if your office is too cold, bring in a small, portable space heater. If it’s too hot, many camping stores and other outlets sell small fans you can place on your desk.
4. Living Things: Fight the drudgery of an office space by bringing some life into it. By that we mean air-purifying plants, flowers, fish tanks, small water ponds and other “live” mementos. If you don’t have a green thumb, consider getting realistic-looking plants and flowers to spruce up your space.
5. Accessorize, Don’t Clutter: Adding a few fun items like toys, pictures, books and trinkets can help liven up your cubicle and add to your productivity. However, going overboard with toys or any other knick-knacks can seem unprofessional and inappropriate for your office.
Before engaging in any “redecorating,” make sure you check with your supervisor and co-workers about office policies on such actions. People may have allergies to certain plants and flowers, while others may find certain pictures or wall hangings offensive. Creating your own cubicle paradise can be a wonderful thing that’ll enhance your time at work, just make sure you don’t break any rules.Visit Susan Jennings on Google+
For those working at a desk job, sitting for long periods of time can cause irreparable health consequences. In short, ergonomics is the science of studying equipment designed to fit our bodies and improve our cognitive abilities. Below, we’ve highlighted the main components needed to build the ultimate ergonomic workstation.
1. Chair: The king of ergonomic design, your chair supports your back and your bottom and affects your posture. When choosing an ergonomic chair look for 3 key things: shape, length and height. The shape of your chair should support your natural posture. Not too soft and not too firm, it should offer lumbar support while curving to your natural shape and head support if available. The chair length should leave you with a small gap between the back of your knees and the edge of the chair. Adjust the height of the chair so that your feet rest on the floor and in front of you. Avoid putting your feed behind you or in another unnatural position.
2. Desk and Computer Screen: Set up your desk to where your computer monitor is 18-38 inches away from your face. Adjust your monitor upwards so that it can remain 20 degrees under your eye line of sight. This will reduce eye strain, and neck and shoulder injuries. What often helps is investing in a desk that elevates the monitor onto a higher platform. Placing reams of paper or books underneath the monitor is a good substitute.
3. Mouse: Position your mouse in such a way that your arms can remain straight or at most at a 90 degree angle. Many mice are now also designed to wrap to the natural shape of your hands in order to reduce risk of carpal tunnel syndrome.
4. Keyboard: When you’re sitting, angle your keyboard to where your forearms are not bending more than 20 degrees, and your wrists can remain relaxed and neutral. Many experts believe that using the kickstand on the back of a keyboard puts too much strain on wrists due to the bend. If you need to use the keyboard’s kickstand for additional height, consider investing in a wrist rest that can help reduce any possibilities of strain. Another alternative is investing in an ergonomically designed keyboard.
1. Posture and Position: Avoid slouching or leaning forward through the day. Keep your back relaxed and against the chair.
2. Stand: If you’re having issues with your posture, consider building or investing in a standing desk.
3. It’s Personal: Everyone’s body is different and will have different needs. If purchasing ergonomic furniture for the whole office, do understand that each item should be personalized to the individual.Visit Susan Jennings on Google+
In the world of business, first impressions matter. As the face of your business, your reception area, lobby or waiting room will determine how well your company will be received by potential clients and customers. Make sure your image is up to par by following these keys to a successful reception area.
1. Understand Your Client Base: The most important thing to consider when designing a reception area or waiting room is your client base. While this may be your business, at the end of the day your business is a result of their hopes and expectations of you. Design this space based on what you think they would like rather than your own preferences. For example, if you were an attorney, your clients would want you to create a feeling of trust and professionalism. Stay away from flamboyant colors and avant-garde furniture, and opt more neutral hues and classic designs.
2. Visibility of the Reception Desk: Your receptionist is often the first person a client or customer sees when they walk in through the doors. Position the desk so that anyone can easily make eye contact with the receptionist as soon as they come in.
3. Appropriate Not Mood Lighting: Generally speaking, an office isn’t a place for dark, atmospheric lighting. However, depending on your business you can choose to create a greater sense of accessibility and confidence in your services through appropriate lighting. For example, if you’re a doctor’s office, go for bright lights that cast a soft hue. This creates a nonabrasive, yet visible environment.
4. Comfort Not Clutter: A space of any kind is often most comfortable when it is clean and clutter free. If you leave stacks of old magazines and newspapers out for clients, replace them with just a few new ones. Avoid filling the walls with too many paintings or pictures, especially if they’re there purely for aesthetics and hold no meaning for your company itself. Keep the room looking fresh, by giving it a new coat of paint every year or so.
5. It’s in the Details: If you’re vying for business, make sure you visually stand out. Whether it’s a bowl of fresh fruit, instead of candy for your clients or a Keurig coffee maker instead of a water cooler, little details in your reception area are what leave a lasting impression.
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New or used, your fabric office chair may feel great on your behind, but keep it looking great with these tips on cleaning fabric office furniture.
1. Step 1 – Determine the Fabric: Look on the bottom of the chair for the manufacturer’s tag. The tag will tell you what kind of fabric and upholstery you’ll be dealing with. The tag will also tell you whether to use a water based or solvent cleaning solution. Often, the tags will read “W” for water based and “S” for solvent. If a tag reads “SW”, it means you can use both water and solvent solutions. If there’s not a tag available, go online to the manufacturer’s website and write down the information from there.
2. Step 3 – Vacuum: Give your chair a good vacuum to remove any lingering dust, crumbs and grime. Vacuuming will also make it easier for your solution to penetrate the fabric.
3. Step 4 – Dampen then Spot: Lightly dampen the entire area with cleaning solution. Afterwards, apply more solution on the dirtiest areas of the chair. Remember to follow the directions on the cleaning solution, as different solutions will have different time requirements for spot cleaning.
4. Step 5 – Repeat: For tougher stains, repeat steps 1-4 until you get your desired look. Make sure you leave your chair in a well-ventilated area where it can dry thoroughly. This is especially important as a damp chair can develop mold if not dried properly. If needed, turn on a dehumidifier or fan to speed up the process.
5. Optional Step – If All Else Fails: If all else fails, consider contacting professional office furniture cleaner who can properly assess the issue. If more than 2-3 chairs and/or other office furniture need to be cleaned, this can be a more effective and timesaving solution.
After you’ve cleaned your chair, keep it looking fresh by vacuuming and wiping it down with a damp cloth on a weekly basis.Visit Susan Jennings on Google+
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When you’re part of a growing company, a small office space is never easy to plan for. Below, we’ve compiled some of the best ways to turn your small office space into a comfortable, practical and productive environment.
1. Consider Open Space: For small spaces, rethink what an “office space” is. Traditional single occupant offices take up precious square footage and multi-occupant cubicles may feel cramped. Opting for an open space office with shared desks, not only allows you to fit more people comfortably into one room, but encourage a communal, team building environment.
2. Multi-Use Furniture: Ready-made dual purpose furniture can be expensive if your company’s just starting out. Take some time to examine the furniture you already have and see if there’s a creative way to extend its original purpose. For example, a small filing cabinet can also serve as a table for files and papers. A shelf on a bookcase can be modified into a desk and a storage unit.
3. Look to the Walls for Space: The walls are not just for staring. When you have limited space, instead of purchasing large bulky cabinets, add simple shelves to the wall for additional storage space. Keep important files and documents within reach, while placing less vital items like extra office supplies up closer to the ceiling. Keep a small, but sturdy step ladder nearby.
4. Hideaway Furniture: If you do need to purchase new furniture, look for furniture that folds, rolls or can serve more than one purpose.
5. Buy Quality: As your company grows, make sure your furniture can grow with you. Buying quality doesn’t necessarily mean expensive nor does it mean new. Many used furniture dealers offer great pieces that are durable, as well as functional. To maintain organization in a tight space, you want to make sure every drawer, light bulb and shelf is doing its job.
With a little ingenuity even the smallest locations can be made into an office that’s one part functional, one part stylish and above else, well organized.Visit Susan Jennings on Google+
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More and more studies show that exercise and physical activity is an integral part of a healthy lifestyle. Not only does exercise prevent obesity and heart disease; it releases endorphins, which regulate stress and emotion.
However, for many Americans who have long commutes, a 9-5 work schedule, and family commitments, the time or energy for exercise simply isn’t part of the equation. Nevertheless, for those wanting to make a change for the better, we’ve documented 3 pieces of office furniture you can use to stay healthy and happy — right in your office.
1. Your Chair: An ergonomically designed chair will not only help alleviate stress on your back, but will help strengthen your core. By sitting in your chair, you can perform simple upper and lower body stretches, as well as hip and core calisthenics, through proper breathing techniques and repetitive motion.
2. Your Desk: Your desk is a great tool for strength training with your own body weight. Using your desk as leverage, you can perform pushups, squats and tricep dips. Many offices have converted their workstations into standing or treadmill desks. While pricier and less conventional, standing and treadmill desks have shown to reduce back strain and other ill health effects associated being sedentary for a long period of time.
3. The Wall: Using a single wall, you will be able to perform a total body workout in less time than you would think. From cardio drills, plyometric pushups and ab toning exercises, to lower body and hamstring moves, you can utilize your desk as a stable weight, to perform any exercise in a small space.
Other Healthy Tips:
- Skip the coffee and soda for water and tea.
- If you’re feeling stressed out, don’t be afraid to speak to a manager or a professional.
- Take healthy breaks, such as a quick walk around the office or building.
- Don’t be afraid to ask your coworkers to join your exercise routine.
- Even taking 60 seconds out of your day to perform any strengthening or toning exercises at your work station is a start for a healthier life.
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Chaotic…Hectic…Whether you’re an employer or an employee, an office move to any location (even just down the hall) can seem like a stressful event. But don’t worry; with the right tools in your arsenal, any move can run smoothly and efficiently. Below, we’ve covered our top 3 ways to avoid stress and keep your sanity during your move:
1. Organize an Office Moving Team: If you’re an employer or manager, create an Office Moving Team with a trusted project leader and team members to expedite the move. The Office Moving Team will coordinate the majority of the move, from start to finish. Some of their duties should include budgeting, creating a timeline, locking down movers, and identifying issues in the current environment and how it can be resolved in the new space. For larger businesses, it can be beneficial to assign an Office Moving Team for each department.
2. Find the Right Professionals: Beyond movers, consider bringing in a moving professional. Unlike a mover, a moving professional is someone who can help you fine-tune logistics, such as expected costs, the exact steps that need to be taken, and how to plan and design your next office space. Moving professionals can often be contracted through furniture stores and professional moving companies. Research online to find a moving professional near you.
3. Start Early, Start Now: It is never too early to plan a move. From reviewing lease agreements, to taking measurements of the new space, there are a lot of things to take into account before the first box can be packed. Ideally, plan your move at least 3-6 months in advance. This will give you enough time to communicate with the new landlords, as well as to address the needs of your employees. Starting also gives you time to allocate new or used furniture, if needed, to receive a quote, and to make sure every employee is well aware of the new space and its floor plan.
In conclusion, an office move doesn’t need to be an ordeal for anyone. However, certain unescapable factors, such as communication, proper planning and manpower, need to be in place beforehand. Once you have those things in order, a successful move is just around the corner.Visit Susan Jennings on Google+
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A collaborative space defies traditional work settings built around cubicles and single occupancy offices. With major companies like Google, Pixar and Facebook incorporating these designs into their culture, a collaborative office space has the potential of promoting a productive, creative and efficient work environment.
By developing opportunities for coworkers to interact and bond, employers create a space that cultivates free thinking and inspired ideas. This idea of increased human interaction among employees and employers challenges dated beliefs on corporate hierarchy, which ultimately builds greater trust and belief in a company’s values.
Key Features of a Collaborative Office Space:
- Open Air Design: The backbone of a collaborative office space is the open air design. Getting rid of cubicles allows multiple departments or teams to work in the same area, which encourages employees to “collaborate” on a project rather than working on their own. Another benefit of an open air design is the reduction of the costs associated with traditional single occupant offices, cubicles and extensive telecommunication systems. This money can then be reinvested in higher quality ergonomic furniture and common areas.
- Multiple Common Areas for Intentional or Accidental Interactions to Occur: Adding more common areas, like cafeterias andbreak rooms, or whiteboards and chalk boards to brainstorm ideas, will increase the chances of intentional or accidental interactions. Both types of interactions are crucial for different departments or people to meet up and build relationships.
- Elimination of Single Occupancy Offices: Two minds are better than one. If certain departments or people need to have their own area, it’s often better to eliminate the confinement of a single occupancy office in favor of multiple people in the same room. From an employer’s perspective, this allows managers to gain greater insight into the work of their employees. For employees, this reduces the isolation associated with being in a room by themselves.
At the end of the day, there is no right or wrong option for an office space. While many companies will find the creative atmosphere of a collaborative space exciting, many others will find that they need a more focused and private environment for their staff. Ultimately, the decision of a collaborative office space or a traditional one will depend on the individual needs of a company and its people.Visit Susan Jennings on Google+
If you’re a cubicle aficionado like ourselves, you’ve no doubt already seen this “luxury cubicle” designed by software developer/artist/entrepreneur Jared Nielsen.
With its dark cherry hardwood floors, paneling of rich mahogany, intricately carved desk and pint-sized Turkish rug it certainly mimics the uber-luxe suites we imagine our company CEOs sitting in between golf outings and three-scotch business lunches.
But we have to be honest, it kind of makes us think about that line in “Anchorman”: “I’m very important. I have many leather-bound books and my apartment smells of rich mahogany.”
While the cubicle makeover is clever and cute, it’s all so tiny that it reminds us of a doll house, which doesn’t actually scream luxury. Plus, poor Nielsen doesn’t even have enough room for all of his technology (he’s using a lap desk to hold his computer).
A blogger over at Geekologie recently took some shots at Nielsen’s fancy cube, pointing out that the stain on his desk clashes with the walls and the floor.
If you want to give your cubicle a luxurious makeover, there’s no need to start cutting up your grandma’s imported oriental rug or take a woodworking class. You can add classy touches that make your workspace more comfortable and aesthetically pleasing without making it act like something it’s not (namely the CEO’s office).
Here’s what to do:
1. Clean and organize
There’s nothing luxurious about stacks of paper clutter, coffee rings and dust bunnies. The first step to making your workplace look like a million bucks is to sort through all that buildup and start discarding what you don’t need, filing what you do and disinfecting as you go.
Then start organizing. To help with this process, look for desk accessories that are both stylish and functional. We loved the color-coordinated desk pictured above; everything from trays to binders to the stapler to the pencil holder both serves a purpose and offers much-needed pops of color. As a result, the otherwise utilitarian office space looks clean, cozy and comfortable.
There’s nothing the slightest bit attractive about fluorescent lighting, and for that matter it’s not all that great for doing desk work anyway. Adding supplemental lighting to your space can both up the style ante and save your eyesight. Skip the boring metal desk lamp you’ve used since elementary school, and opt for one with more character, color and class. We love the unique shape of the goldenrod-colored lamp pictured above, especially because it coordinates so well with the wall covering and framed art.
3. Wall treatments
Just because your cubicle walls are covered in generic gray fabric with no personality, doesn’t mean they have to stay a generic gray fabric with no personality. There’s no reason you can’t cover them with a beautiful wallpaper, fabric or even wrapping paper. But remember, you’re going for high style, not cute, so steer clear of the loud, colorful or holiday-themed gift wrap and opt for designs you might use in your home (or that Beyonce would use in hers!). We thought the floral-themed wall-coverings used by this former office denizen offered just the right pop of color and print without looking too loud (plus we loved the throw pillow on the guest chair. What a great touch!).
Adding a couple tchotchkes or family photos is a nice way to add some non-work-related visual interest to your workspace, as long as you don’t go overboard. (And no, your collection of “Star Wars” bobbleheads does not count as a tasteful cubicle decor). A plant in a unique pot, a figurine or wall-hanging that makes you smile and inspires you, or framed artwork by your kids are all good options for making your cubicle more comfortable and beautiful. If you want to go a step further, a throw rug might add just the right touch.
Start shopping for your perfect office at Arnolds.Visit Susan Jennings on Google+