Have you ever had those work days when you were fighting to focus? Whether it was due to lack of sleep, other things pressing your mind, a chatty coworker, or an explosion of emails, or sometimes even for no reason — we’ve all been there.

And let me guess, everyone has already given their two cents on how to overcome it. Do any of these sound familiar?

Get more sleep. Exercise and eat right. Close the door. Have set times when you will and will not respond to emails. Work for 20 minutes and then allow yourself a two minute break.

All are true and valid, but you’ve heard them 100 times already.

What this blog focuses on is not just habits to change, but investments to make.

An investment is: “an act of devoting time, effort, or energy to a particular undertaking with the expectation of a worthwhile result”.

So, here are three acts of devoting time, effort or energy in three areas that will yield an increase in the efficiency in your office.

Investing in an Inspiring Office Design

In an article by Jeff Bullas, he talks about different ways to increase productivity. He mentions the importance of scheduling your work day and breaking it into sections, eliminating distractions and taking care of your health. However, the first topic he discusses is investing in an inspiring office design.

“Research shows that a neat office design, in both function and aesthetic, can increase productivity by up to 20 percent.”

Bullas mentions that to some “it may sound like a load of ‘millennial nonsense’”, which is 100% valid. Especially due to the new expectation and desire that every home needs to look as if it could be on Pinterest. However, Bullas continues and says, “the majority of workers are far more inspired to work in a well-designed office than in a drab grey cubicle.

Our environment affects us a lot. Have you ever walked into a home of a friend or acquaintance, or maybe even a model home, and you were just in awe of the elegance and design? Upon entering, a sense of sophistication surrounds you, and you feel an urge to act in accordance to fit the environment.

A good phrase to guide you is to be practical but aesthetically pleasing.

  • Lighting — both natural and artificial are important to create a sense of openness.
  • Layout — be insightful as you buy furniture. Add pieces to the space that bring functionality and space for organization, such as drawers or shelves. (Cutting out clutter is an important habit to maintain to improve productivity).
  • Design — transform the space with wall graphics and décor.
Wall graphic
Wall graphic

Whether you’re dealing with a corporate office, a small unit with 5 employees, or a home office, create an environment that gives you a sense of desiring to work to the standard of the environment.

Investing in your Employees

Employees are your number one investment.

An important thing to realize is that generally, you’ll get out of them what you put into them. Did you know, “the majority of reasons why employees quit their job are under the control of the employer”? Here are some way to help give them the tools for success and a reason to stay.

Investing in Useful Technology and Proper Training

The advancement of technology is undoubtedly a huge contributing factor of the industrial revolution and all of the advancements our society has made within the last few decades.

But with all new technology that comes out, there are the leaders that get it first, and then there are the followers. There’s advantages and disadvantages to both, it just depends of the circumstance.

For example, a new software system comes out. Are you the first one to try it? Or do you let everyone else try it out first and let them fix the bugs and THEN you upgrade to it? Sometimes you gain more by waiting, but sometimes you lose out on efficiency by not upgrading to the new technology sooner.

Decide for yourself when and with what it’ll be best to go with the leaders or hang back with the followers.

Technology at times is a sticky relationship. You need it to help you get the job done effectively and efficiently, but sometimes there’s things out of your control. You can’t control when the power goes out or if an entire system crashes, but you can control how competent you and your employees are with the programs and technology you use.

“Not understanding the capabilities of your computer and other technology can be a serious hindrance to your productivity.”

Refresher courses in company specific technology aren’t a bad idea. It’d be a good way to ensure that all your employees have the proper tools and knowledge to succeed.

Remember, investments are conscious acts of devoting effort and resources into a specific area expecting worthwhile results.

Which one will you undertake today?