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3 tools to think about your work space

We have adapted the way we work: we often work in the office, but equally often we work from home. To exemplify the most common problems, we have come up with our typical worker: Alex. He represents the colleagues that we all know (or who we are!).

At Toyno, we are always thinking about how our surrounding space can respond to our emotions and what role it plays in our day-to-day working life. So let us take Alex and think of an emotion and its cause. We imagine the scenario in which he was feeling this emotion and what the consequences would be in terms of the work he produces.

Alex is tired

In this exercise, we chose to focus on tiredness. We looked at this emotion and how it can be worked on within your organisation.

Alex is worried about the amount of work he has to do and how it will affect his private life. He is somebody who likes challenges, learning and spending time with his family.

We realise that Alex is finding it hard to concentrate and focus right now. He feels clustered mentally and suffers from backpain, headaches and extreme tiredness. But he does not rest. He feels like this because the amount of work he has to do does not allow him to do physical exercise and his wife is away. Therefore, he feels he has an overload of domestic tasks and does not have time to switch off.

After defining this emotion and the associated feelings, we ask ourselves:

How can we help Alex stop feeling tired?

We split the tiredness into three facets: psychological, physiological and environmental. We advise Alex to

● Take more breaks in his working day

● Organise his tasks and tackle them calmly, with less stress

● Give himself longer deadlines (when possible) to complete the tasks

● Have a siesta at lunchtime

● Catch the sun or work in a garden when possible

● Reduce his mobile phone and TV screentime

● Have a place where he can focus, which is mild and a source of energy

● Uncluttering your space leads to cleaner surroundings and hence a cleaner mind

What about the workspace? How do these resources fit together?

When we think about a workspace, we imagine how these ideas can translate into actions and physical changes in the space (even if radical!). By clustering, we imagine that Alex’s superiors may think about:

Physical exercise

● Unbalanced chairs, to keep us focused and alert

● Encourage physical movement, for example through exercises that can be done using the office equipment

● Create a socialising zone with a playground and a programme of physical activities

Relax and sleep

● Create an environment with adjustable lighting and furniture, where each person can recline on a chair or stretch their legs to suit their particular needs

● Cabins with relaxing sounds and a timer for breaks between meetings

● Invest in noise-cancelling headphones

● Create an offline zone, such as a shared no mobile phone area

More varied furniture

● Shared furniture, where a joint effort is made for everybody to stay seated

● Diversity of seats: some firmer, others more cushioned

A space that helps in time management and task organisation

● Digital desk that changes colour in my zone to indicate whether I am on or off

● Interactive walls

● Meeting rooms with timers

● Signallers that the time is passing, e.g. the light may change depending on the time of day

Individual motivation and stimulation

● Create a space to share music and a bookcase containing books and magazines

● Create a space where I can eat and work simultaneously. For example, create a zone where I can drink a coffee and eat a cake while I’m in a meeting

Contact with the outdoors and nature

● Mobile walls and ceilings open up to a garden

● Create an outdoor space and very large windows, which strike a balance between artificial and natural light

● Make events programmes, books and magazines available

These are ideas based on a utopian scenario and a fictitious person, both without contextualisation. In practice, we work with the organisation to implement ideas adapted to your space, avoiding the neutralization of working areas. Everything that adds to the variability and diversity of spaces adds value to the organisation. Toyno believes the most important thing is to test out and integrate ideas to enhance wellbeing and productivity.

How would the workspace in your organisation get rid of your tiredness?

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