Finding new ways to make employees more productive has been a permanent conundrum for business leaders as far back as the industrial revolution. However, recent research has shown that simple changes in the work environment itself can make a significant difference to you and your employees’ performance.

A dangerous, poorly designed or stressful work environment drains mental energy, can lead to physical injury, and even cause long-term psychological harm. With many people now spending longer hours at work than ever before, it has become crucial to ensure that the workplace environment promotes safety, comfort, mental stimulation and creativity.

This is according to Bradley Porter, CEO and Founder of Flexible Workspace who says that reducing stress levels in the workplace environment is no longer a luxury, but a necessity for you, the wellbeing of your employees and the sustainable wellbeing of your company. Keeping a well-organised workspace is a simple and effective way towards creating a healthier and happier workforce.

1. Light it up
The promotion of natural light is one of the best ways to improve your workspace, but it is difficult to control within an office building. Replace white fluorescent lights wherever possible as these have been shown to impact hormone levels, increase eye strain, migraines and depression. If you cannot control the lighting at your desk, take regular breaks. The fresh air will also do wonders to improve general health and well-being.

2. Practise Feng Shui
The ancient art of Feng Shui has more to do with the work cubicle than you may think. Disorder and chaos get a big black cross in the Feng Shui rule book, so ensure that desks are clutter-free at all times. Clearing clutter goes a long way towards harmonising the mind and ordering thoughts. You’ll also find that you can achieve more when your desk isn’t covered in piles of paper and used coffee mugs. Consider adding a small desktop water fountain as this is associated with the positive flow of energy, and the sound may just give you that feeling of tranquillity you need at work.

3. Clean Your Room
Electronic equipment is a magnet for dirt so ensure that screens, keyboards and chords are cleaned regularly. This relates back to the practise of Feng Shui. A basic principle of this art form is that every time you notice something in disorder, you deplete energy thinking about it. So keep your workspace clean and tidy and your mind will be better able to focus on the task at hand.

4. Add Special Touches
A splash of colour in a work environment can help to lift the spirits and stimulate creativity. Simple additions like fresh flowers and other plants can make a significant difference. Be careful not to overdo it because too much colour can be distracting. Office carpets and furnishings contain synthetic chemicals that pollute the air so adding plants to your environment also helps to clean the air and brighten a drab cubicle.

5. Personalise
Many of us spend more time at work than we would like to admit. So make sure it’s a space in which you feel comfortable and happy. Add touches that reflect your personality, inspire and uplift you. Think of where you feel most creative and then try to recreate that environment at work. Whether it’s adding one or two family photographs or a memento from your favourite beach holiday with the gang, the little touches you add should be the things that remind you of what is good in your life.

6. Get Green
Your little cubicle in the corner may make you feel like you are alone but don’t forget that you are actually part of a global workspace. Whether you are at home or at work, you should always be aware of your effect on the environment so if your office doesn’t recycle, recommend that they do or take your recyclables with you and dispose of them at home. Switch your computer off when you are not using it or switch to sleep mode to save energy.

Take a look at your workspace and think about the simple changes that could make a significant difference to you and how you perform. “Your workspace is a reflection of you and the meaning of your work,” says Porter. “One of the easiest ways to de-stress and inspire your creativity, is to create a workspace you feel good about. Feeling inspired and refreshed is essential to doing good work so take some time out to create your happy workplace,” he concludes.