Module Eight: Creating a Workspace

Creating a Workspace

In order to be the most productive that you can be, you must create the appropriate environment. This module will give you some ideas for creating an effective, ergonomic workspace in any office.  

Setting Up the Physical Layout 

One key aspect of an effective workspace is the physical layout. Keep these tips in mind: 

  • Make sure your chair provides sufficient support. 
  • If possible, position the desk so that it receives maximum natural light. Make sure that light doesn’t point at the monitor or in your face. 
  • Keep your desk as clear as possible. Store tools and papers where they belong. Make a habit of cleaning off your desk at the end of each day. 
  • Do a completely clean and reorganization of your workspace once or twice a year. 
  • Place the telephone within easy reach. Keep mugs and glasses away from electronics. 
  • Try to have an area for your computer and an empty workspace. L-shaped desks are ideal for this. 
  • Make your workspace a pleasant place to be. Plants, pictures, unlit candles, and small fishbowls are ideal for any work area. (If you’re bringing items into an office, check company policy first.) 
  • Focus on the changes that you can make. Keep your eyes open for new ideas. 


Ergonomics 101 

Ergonomics is the study of how workers relate to their environment. It has been proven that particular factors can increase or decrease the risk of certain injuries and conditions, such as repetitive strain injuries (RSI’s), back problems, and eye problems. 

Here are some things that you can adjust to make your workspace more ergonomic. 

  • Keep your back straight. 
  • Your feet should be flat on the floor or on a footrest. 
  • Chair armrests, back pads, and keyboard wrist rests can help to decrease muscle strain. 
  • Ensure your monitor is tilted at a comfortable viewing angle. (Some people prefer to place it directly on the desk, while others find that a monitor stand eases neck strain.) 
  • Use natural light when possible. 
  • Most importantly, pay attention to your body. If you develop aches and pains, it may be a sign that your workspace needs to be adjusted. You may also need to consult your doctor for specialized treatment. 


Using Your Computer Efficiently 

In the last two topics, we focused on creating an effective, productive physical workspace. In this topic, we’ll switch focus to your virtual workspace. 

To use your computer most efficiently, customize your working areas as much as you can. Here are some ideas to get you started. 

  • Organize your Start menu so that you can easily find the applications you need. 
  • Keep your virtual desktop like your real desk – organized and clutter-free. 
  • Customize toolbars on your desktop and within applications to place frequently used commands at your fingertips. 
  • Make use of applications that automate tasks for you, particularly computer maintenance tasks.  

As with your physical workspace, your company may limit your customization capabilities. Stay positive and focus on the changes that you can make, and the positive effects that those have. 

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