The 9 to 5 grind – it gets to the best of us. We’ve all been there; when you’re in a slump and you just can’t seem to focus on the task at hand and the work day just seems to drag on and on and on with no sign of ever ending. It doesn’t have to be this way, though. There are plenty of ways and plenty of collaborative workspaces that can turn that work day frown upside down and help you become super productive and super happy to be there. From what you wear to what you listen to, how, what and where you eat, and how you get through your workload, we present our top 10 ways to improve your work day. (Yes, it includes napping.)
Studies show that people who dress comfortably for work take an average of 491 more steps a day than those who are suited and booted. The stilettos might be great for a night out, but is it worth the back and foot pain on a day-to-day basis? And that designer handbag is too gorgeous, but you’ve stuffed it with a laptop and binders and now it’s causing you muscle soreness and nerve compression. We’re not saying you should get out the tracksuit and activewear; you can still dress to impress but be comfortable at the same time. Blazer, jeans and loafers, perhaps?
The right bpm can get you in the zone, moderating the production of stress hormones and helping you become more productive. But, listening to music you actually like at work – rather than some white noise or moderating rhythm – can improve your mood. “It’s shown that when you’re in that particular mood state, you take in more options, you don’t narrow your focus, and that is beneficial to creative problem solving,” Teresa Lesiuk, associate professor of music education and music therapy at the University of Miami, told Futurism, “When you’re in that mood state, you’re better at problem solving and thinking creatively.”
We know, we know – you don’t want a lecture from your coworking office as well as your mum. But we have your best interests at heart. Starting the day with a protein-rich breakfast will help to quash those junk food cravings. And yes, the quality of our nutrition has a direct impact on alertness and productivity; sugar is known to impair memory and affect brain function. You’ll feel so much better and avoid the afternoon slump if you focus more on good nutrition. Check out the top breakfast spots near our Hackney coworking space for some breakfast inspiration.
Traditionally we’ve shunned rest for the appearance of productivity, even if we’re just being busy without achieving anything, but attitudes to having a quick kip at work are changing. Any nap, however long, can help with alertness and perception and cut through the fog – the Japanese even have a word for strategically sleeping on the job: “inemuri”, roughly translated to “sleeping while present.” Sleep researcher Dr Sara Mednick told the New York Times that 20 to 60-minute naps could help with memorisation and learning specific bits of information; it’s enough to get into stage-two sleep or non-rapid eye movement (REM) sleep. After 60 minutes we start getting into REM sleep, which can improve creativity, perceptual processing and highly associative thinking. We’re sure there’s a lovely little nook or cranny in your coworking office that lends itself to a bit of shut-eye…
It can be hard to get into focus, so when you’re finally neck-deep in the work groove it’s difficult to remember to take a break. Don’t be that person who grabs lunch and heads back to the grindstone; use the opportunity to get away and clear your mind so you can tackle it all afresh later. Go for a walk or sit outside. If you’re in a coworking office or collaborative workspace, lunch is a great excuse to get out and talk to people. Speaking of which….
One of the best things about working in a collaborative workspace is the proximity to other humans. Often when you work from home, that’s the biggest thing you miss: conversation with people other than yourself. Make the most of a collaborative workspace and chat; learn from and be inspired by those around you. You never know who you’ll meet – a friend, a co-worker, future client, or maybe even the partner for your next venture.
Looking busy has become the new status symbol for our times. A recent paper in the Journal of Consumer Research, highlighted in The Atlantic, looks at how being both well-off and time-poor is “driven by the perceptions that a busy person possesses desired human capital characteristics (competence, ambition) and is scarce and in demand on the job market.” But they’re only fooling themselves; real heroes know to work smarter, not harder. Measure results, not your time, and stop multitasking. It will have an amazing impact on your workday.
Some of us like to go with the flow, to be ready for whatever comes our way – it’s a great life philosophy, but a terrible way to work. Those who feel most satisfied with their work day are those who plan ahead. They write out their task lists and methodically go through them one by one. (It’s amazing what the smug satisfaction of ticking off items can do to your mood.) They create and stick to a routine. They don’t take on what they can’t handle. And a quick word on procrastination: shorter deadlines make you more productive.
Bad stuff happens – you can’t stop it, but you can control how you react to it. Here’s a lovely idea: whenever something good happens, even if it’s just a tiny win or compliment, write it down. You could use a gratitude journal, or just write it on a scrap of paper and put it in a jar. Then, when you’re down or you feel like things just aren’t going your way, get out your win jar and remind yourself what a badass you are. It will shift your mood and improve your workday.
The best way to improve your workday? Spend it in an inspiring, creative, collaborative workspace full of amazing people. Offering functionality and flexibility that you just don’t get in your traditional corporate environment, a coworking office can help to keep costs low – you don’t want to hire out a whole office just for yourself, right? – and they’re often found in central locations, putting you closer to your customers. Plus, those who run coworking office spaces know that one of the big reasons people love them is the social aspect. You’ll find plenty of events, talks and networking opportunities that will bring you out of your shell and introduce you to great people and great opportunities, avoiding the loneliness that comes with working from home. And isn’t that the perfect way to improve your workday?
Areaworks is a provider of open supportive coworking office spaces in accessible areas throughout London. We don’t believe in stuffy central locations, long commutes, impersonal and uptight environments. We believe there’s a better way of working, and we’re here to make it happen: in our areas, with our areas. We believe in opening up communities that inspire progress and open up opportunities. We offer complete turnkey workplace solutions for start-ups, creatives, freelancers, and entrepreneurs. We design our desk coworking to feel open, to encourage collaboration and productivity, to inspire you to think differently. Areaworks currently has two coworking spaces in prime London locations. If you are looking for a coworking space in London, which provides you with the environment and opportunity to collaborate with like-minded individuals, then we have the perfect place for you.