Lighting and Sound May Impact your Productivity
It’s fair to say that most people imagine two options when it comes to lighting in your home office—off and on. However, lighting actually exists on a scale of cool to warm, with each type of light having a drastically different effect on productivity. Cooler lighting often appears white or blue (think fluorescent bulbs), while warmer lighting often appears more yellow and orange (think floor lamps and candles).
Warmer lighting is known to trigger a sense of relaxation and comfort, spurring more creativity and intimacy. On the opposite end of the spectrum, colder lighting is often associated with increased alertness and performance. And aside from artificial lighting, it’s important to keep a natural light in mind. When we’re exposed to more sunlight, our bodies are more in-tune with their natural clocks. This often results in improved mood and productivity at no additional cost!
Maximizing Productive Using Light
Naturally, there isn’t a one-size-fits-all solution to lighting. While cooler lighting is associated with greater levels of productivity, it can also create a sense of urgency and discomfort. As a result, it can hinder creativity and problem-solving, among other skills. Keeping all of this in mind, the key is to create a well-lit room that caters to the needs of you and your loved ones.
Consider the purpose of each room home. The bedroom should have cooler, whiter light, when the kids are doing their homework or you’re getting your work done. However, brainstorming and creative spaces like the kitchen and living room should have warmer light, allowing you to feel more comfortable and willing to talk and discuss with your loved ones.
And when it comes to actually tailor your workspace lighting to maximize productivity, you don’t have to break the bank! Placing a few floor lamps throughout the home can allow for an easy day-to-day transition from fluorescent overhead lighting to warmer tones during the evening. Adjustable light bulbs are also an option, allowing you to better control light levels in every room.
It can also be worthwhile to strategically place them in your rooms. If there’s a room full of windows, be sure to dedicate it as space you will be spending a lot of time in. Allow your environment to work for you—not against you—and you’ll see mood and productivity improvements in no time at all.
Sound & Productivity
Most people imagine that a workspace needs to be absolutely silent in order to allow people to concentrate. One whisper in a library may get you a dirty look from the next table! Every classroom and official test abides by this rule, forbidding students from making any noise. That same logic often follows through to the workplace, where offices are designed to limit the travel of sound and overall noise levels. For many, the ideal workspace has no sounds other than a clock ticking in the background.
And there’s some truth to this! For some tasks, specifically, those that require attention to detail, having less background noise drastically improves performance. Just imagine trying to enter data while someone talked in your ear—you wouldn’t get anything done.
However, the opposite is true in any space that values both creativity and productivity. Simple background noise—also known as ambient noise—can help our brains stay on track and get work done. In fact, studies have shown that moderate ambient noise (ranging from the whir of a fan to light background conversation) actually boosts concentration and creative thinking. People brainstorm better when they aren’t drowning in silence!
Maximizing Productivity Using Sound
For an office that is looking to add more overall ambient noise, it can be effective to install floor fans and play ambient noise simulations throughout the space. Opening a window can also have a similar effect, as the sounds of the outdoors are often the perfect background noise for productivity. Open office concepts can also be effective, as they encourage conversation and allow sound to travel throughout the workplace.
On an individual level, headphones with a good ambient noise app can be a great solution. However, it’s important to keep the sound at a moderate level, as overwhelming background noise actually hinders productivity. Furthermore, you may be tempted to switch to your favorite song rather than sounds that actually help you get work done.
On the topic of music, it’s extremely important to be mindful of the genre you’re piping through the office! Classical, light pop and jazz have been shown to provide the biggest boost in productivity and work performance. Genres such as folk and indie are a middle ground, while dance, rap, and punk actually inhibit productivity.