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5 Tips to Create the Perfect Office Space

We know the only real way to create the perfect office space is to not be in it, but since that’s not an option for a lot of us it pays to do some research and find out how to optimize your work area. We’ve done a little of the legwork (and science did the rest) to figure out how to make the best of your workday. Perhaps unsurprisingly, there are countless studies that delve into the mechanics of office happiness and by picking and choosing you can improve your mood at work. <strong>1. Get a plant.</strong> You’re probably not surprised to hear that plants can make for a friendlier work environment, but <a title="Psychology Today" href="http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/urban-mindfulness/200903/plants-make-you-feel-better" target="_blank">studies show</a> that they can improve attendance, raise productivity and even lower your blood pressure. BONUS: Get a plant like bamboo or a succulent and you can neglect it as much as your paperwork and it will still live to make your life better at work. <strong>2. Add a splash of color.</strong> Again, it’s likely not a surprise, but different colors can impact your mood and some can make you happier and/or more focused than others. Color consultants say that <a title="WebMD" href="http://www.webmd.com/women/home-health-and-safety-9/color-psychology" target="_blank">green helps people concentrate more</a>, but you don’t need science to tell you what makes you feel good. Add splashes of your favorite color to your workspace to make the place more enjoyable. <strong>3. Keep noise out.</strong> Studies at Cornell University show that prolonged exposure to noise in the workplace can not only distract workers, but also <a title="Cornell University" href="http://www.human.cornell.edu/dea/outreach/upload/FPM-Notes_Vol1_Number11.pdf" target="_blank">lead to increased illness, stress, fatigue and lower morale</a>. The interesting thing, though, is how and what we perceive to be “noise.” There is “good” noise and “bad” noise, and it basically boils down to what we want to be hearing. The best way to block out noise is to put a wall between yourself and the source, but if that’s not possible you might want to consider wearing headphones or earplugs. <strong>4. Adjust the lighting.</strong> A <a title="National Renewable Energy Laboratory" href="http://www.nrel.gov/docs/fy02osti/30769.pdf" target="_blank">very thorough study</a> conducted by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory in 2002 concluded that prolonged exposure direct light of the type typically found in office buildings can have a negative impact on people. The ideal solution is to mix this kind of lighting with natural light sources, but if that’s not possible in your office you can help things a little by adjusting  your monitor so that lighting isn’t directly in your line of sight or by seeing if it’s possible to adjust the intensity or direction of the lighting. <strong>5. Get comfy.</strong> This is actually trickier than it sounds, because for most of us “getting comfortable” amounts to a path of least resistance that leads to back problems, carpel tunnel syndrome and a host of other ailments. You’ve probably seen countless diagrams on the “proper” way to sit at your <a title="Office Desks" href="http://www.atgstores.com/desks_1108.html?linkloc=tn" target="_blank">office desk</a>, but <a title="Mayo Clinic" href="http://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-living/adult-health/in-depth/office-ergonomics/art-20046169" target="_blank">here’s another one</a> if you need a refresher. Basically, the idea is to sit up straight with your fanny pressed against the back of the <a title="Office Chairs" href="http://www.atgstores.com/office-chairs_1105.html?linkloc=tn" target="_blank">chair</a> and your feet flat on the ground so your lower back is supported by the seat back. We hope these tips help make your workday a little more bearable.
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