“Are you out of your mind?” my pilot asked me when he saw me standing next to a reclaimed bookshelf that I had slid into my office when no one was looking. It was certainly an oddity for most office workspaces, but not mine. This bookshelf soon became my desk. This continued for months, until I finally purchased a handmade, custom, stand-up desk.
My new stand-up desk was the talk of the office. It was mostly talk about how crazy I was. I wasn’t listening to the critics though. The amount of energy and high level of production I was experiencing while at work was unparalleled. A stand-up desk should become a staple of all office workspaces.
In order to be productive, remain organized, and keep your sanity, it is critical to create an office that is conducive to such a situation. This means beginning with the end-in-mind when designing the most productive office workspaces.
Just as a baseball field must be planned out, measured, leveled, trimmed, chalked, and well prepared for the game to be played, so too must an office be equally prepared for work. Just imagine going to watch the New York Yankees play baseball and the field is covered in the tools of the trade. Bats, balls, gloves, trash, and weeds cover the field. This wouldn’t be a very good platform for a game.
The same is true of office workspaces. Papers, supplies, files, and personal junk can clutter your playing field and halt the progress of your game. You cannot play the game unless you prepare the field for play.
This is the current hardware I use to design the most productive office workspace:
A sitting desk – While I work most of the day standing up, it is necessary to take periodic breaks to sit down. This doesn’t mean you can’t continue to be productive. A normal sitting desk is a great place to sit comfortably but still remain productive.
A standing desk – Standing desks increase blood flow in the body, keep you alert, and spur creativity. I use my standing desk 80% of the time. I feel more office workspaces should have standing desks.
One Computer, Two Monitors – I have a monitor on each desk. The same computer runs them both. I use a wireless mouse and keyboard that I can carry to whichever desk I am using at the time.
File Cabinets – Use as many cabinets as you need to store only the paperwork you must.
Extra Seating – Whether meeting with clients, employees, or just reading a report, it’s s nice to sit in a different chair and change perspectives for a moment. To avoid the old principle’s office feel of most office workspaces, I’ve placed my chairs to the side, not directly in front of my desk. This makes a leader more accessible and creates a feeling of comfort.
As I travel the country meeting with executives, I rarely see well functioning office workspaces. The vehicle the executive rides to work in was first engineered to be effective and efficient before it was built. Even the desk they work behind was engineered and planned. Why do we not engineer and plan our office workspaces, so they too can provide the level of support our vehicles and desks play in our day?
A smartly planned and equipped office is like a machine. When all the pieces are in place and working together, what you put into the machine can then be efficiently processed to create amazing output. If you want to be a highly effective person, your office must support that mission.
How many pieces of paper are on your desk, floor, or chair, right now?