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Sawaram Suthar

Written by: Sawaram Suthar

May 9, 2016

6 Scientific Ways to Increase Productivity

productivityWhat could be done in one minute takes several minutes and what should have been completed in an hour takes almost half a day!

This is, most likely, the case with many individuals in the workplace. Struggling with bad moods, bad days and boring tasks, employees push themselves to complete a given task, in any way they can. But who suffers in the end? The work and, ultimately, the organization.

So, what should you do? Hold more meetings? Prepare more strategies? Call management gurus and hold talk sessions? NO!

Look around. There are simple and effective changes you can implement in the workplace and the good news is: Science is happy to help you.

Check out the following ways in which scientifically proven methods can help employees perform better by bringing about positive changes in them and infusing a positive outlook into the overall work environment.

 

1 Natural Light and Proper Temperature

lighting

Let there be light!

When we refer to the office space, the phrase should be “let there be natural light” since, nowadays, the focus is on creating artificial light.

There is a difference in how both natural light and artificial light affect you.

Both poor light and excessive light affect your brain negatively. They can give you a headache, strain your eyes, increase your cortisol level (the stress-causing hormone) and make you feel exhausted long before you call it a day. However, in an experiment it was proven that bright lights can reduce cortisol levels in humans. So, open all of the windows and let the sun’s rays spread all around you.

lighting2

“Research conducted by Drs. Boubekri and Cheung on 49 workers, where 27 were made to work in windowless environments and 22 with an exposure to natural light determined that the workers with windows at the workplace had more light exposure during the workweek, a tendency toward more physical activity and longer sleep duration as measured by actigraphy.”

 

Natural light:

  • Elevates your mood
  • Increases concentration power
  • Repairs the sleep mechanism
  • Resets the biological clock to function correctly
  • Decreases chances of headache
  • Improves overall mental and physical health

 

How Temperature Affects Performance

coldoffice

Something else to consider is the room’s temperature. An ideal temperature needs to be maintained in order to increase an employee’s output. The body responds to temperature fluctuations involuntarily and, as a result, it affects an employee’s overall performance.

One research study showed that the ideal temperature in which to generate more employee productivity is between 70° – 73° Fahrenheit (21.1° – 22.8° Celsius). Some experts, however, contend that employee productivity is at its greatest when the room temperature is set to around 77° Fahrenheit (25° C).

There is a 2% decrease in performance level for every °C increase in temperature of between 25° – 32° C.

Drastic changes can result in the overall health, mood and behavior of employees by adjusting the amount of light and temperature.

 

Right Color, Right Effect

colorfuloffice

What color should you paint your office? At least not white! Who wouldn’t like something other than white or beige?

Why are the major e-commerce sites painted blue? Why do some of the most famous food brands use yellow and red?

The answer lies in the human brain!

Colors have a tremendous effect on the brain as they affect mood, emotion and responsiveness.

If you thought that your office space is beyond the effect of color then you need to read this.

Nancy Kwallek tested the impact of colors on three groups by giving them clerical tasks to perform in three rooms, one painted red, one painted blue and the other painted white. High-screeners (i.e. individuals who are the most adept at screening out the less relevant stimuli of their environments) were able to block out the color “noise” of their surroundings while low-screeners (i.e. individuals who typically cannot screen out incoming stimuli) were affected by it. The high-screeners had no difficulty working in the red room while low-screeners tended to be distracted by the color. Both groups, however, made more errors when they worked in the white room. It was also determined that a blue or blue-green environment is favored by the majority of the workers.

  • Blue is calming.  It promotes communication and trust while increasing efficiency and lowering heart rate.
  • Green is equally calming. It promotes harmony and balance, reduces anxiety and is soothing to the eyes.
  • Orange is best for job types that require constant energy. It increases oxygen flow to the brain, thus increasing brain activity.

Warm (i.e. orange, red and yellow) and cold (i.e. blue, green and purple) colors affect human brains differently. The color red can be painted on the office walls of employees who have detail-oriented jobs or tasks. Whatever the job, there is a color that works best, just certainly not white, off-white or gray!

 

2 Ergonomics in the Workplace

back-pain-desk-poor-posture-black-man

Ergonomics is derived from two Greek words: ergon meaning work and nomoi meaning natural laws.

Ergonomics is the science that deals with designing and arranging things so that people use them more efficiently and effectively without getting injured or becoming stressed. And with the number of people who spend the majority of their time sitting in front of the computer, there has been a significant rise in musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs). These work-related injuries result in significant costs to nations.  

How do you feel about working with severe back pain? Certainly not very great. Statistics show that:

  • MSDs are the single biggest cause of lost workdays in the United States. In 2012, 29% of illnesses and injuries leading to days off work could be attributed to MSDs. MSDs are also linked to heightened presenteeism, early retirement and economic inactivity.
  • MSDs are directly caused by work and there is near-consensus that they are causally-related to occupational ergonomic stressors like repetitive motion, forceful exertion, non-neutral posture, vibrations and more.

Aside from affecting the health of the employees, poor ergonomics can also decrease overall efficiency, productivity and safety.

Make simple design changes in the workplace, for example:

  • Change the location of switches to a more convenient point.
  • Place equipment where it can be easily accessed.
  • Design comfortable chairs or allow for sufficient leg space under workstations.
  • Keep most-often used things where they can be easily reached.

Application of the principle of the ergonomics:

  • Increases comfort level.
  • Improves performance.
  • Reduces illness and injury.
  • Reduces accidents.
  • Enhances productivity.
  • Increases overall job satisfaction.

 

3 Short Daytime Naps and Breaks

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A short and sweet beauty sleep at work for the brain?  Yes, we recommend that you take an “afternoon siesta” for better mental health, improved performance and a chance to refresh themselves. A lack of sleep not only affects people mentally but physically too.

A CDC study found that 33% of Americans were sleep-deprived! This deprivation directly affects performance in addition to increasing susceptibility to diseases like obesity, mental illness and heart issues.

At Tagove, we follow this rule by allowing our employees to take short breaks and then start working again. Might not this be why our employees never feel bored and are always ready to take on new assignments and opportunities?

nap1

It has been found that:

  • A 40-minute nap can increase alertness by 40%.
  • A 20-minute noontime nap can provide more rest than 20 minutes of sleep.

 

Napping:

  • Boosts creativity.
  • Elevates mood.
  • Improves mental health.
  • Regulates blood pressure.
  • Increases cognitive functions.
  • Decreases the chance of heart disease.
  • Optimizes information processing.

 

Breaks:

Take short and frequent breaks in between work hours to refresh your body, calm your eyes and relieve joints and muscle pains.

  • A “microbreak” of 30-seconds to 5 minutes improves mental acuity by 13%.
  • A 15-second break every 10 minutes reduces fatigue by 50%.
  • A 5-minute break every hour eliminates pain in the wrist, forearm and hand.
  • A regular break every 15 minutes increases productivity by 6.45%.

So, what’s next?  A compulsory noontime nap and a timetable for workplace breaks?

 

4 Practice Yoga Regularly

yogaoffice

A 2014 monster.com survey revealed that 42% of U.S. workers have switched jobs as a result of a stressful work environment and another 35% have considered changing jobs for the same reason.

While the load is not getting any lighter, yoga can be incorporated into our daily lives in order to prevent our health from taking a toll and, lately, more people are understanding this.

According to the American Council on Exercise, more than 11 million Americans practice yoga and find that the poses (i.e. Asanas) and chants strengthen their bodies, center their minds and help them to relax.

Corporations are making arrangements to include yoga and meditation into their activities. WhiteWave Food Company, Read Ventures, Centro and Sparks are some of the companies that are thinking beyond profit margins. There is no doubt that yoga helps with stress reduction. A report from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services revealed that work sites with physical activity programs, like yoga, have reduced healthcare costs by 20-55%, reduced short-term sick leave by 6 – 32% and increased productivity by 2 – 52%.

 

Yoga benefits:

  • Reduces anxiety.
  • Boosts immunity.
  • Increases flexibility.
  • Reduces stress by lowering Cortisol levels.
  • Improves physical fitness.
  • Increases energy.
  • Slows the aging process.
  • Improves intuitive ability.

 

5 Music and Laughter

musicoffice

Who doesn’t like to listen to music? No one I’ve met.

Music, just like laughter, is an effective medicine!

A series of experiments have investigated the relationship between the playing of background music during the performance of repetitive work and the efficiency of the employee in performing such work.  The experiments show that music is effective in raising efficiency in this type of work even when in competition with the unfavorable conditions produced by machine noise.

The following amazing findings have also been identified:

  • Background music increases productivity when in the major mode.
  • Favorite, rather than any, music helps the most. Music is the perfect solution for a noisy workplace.   

 

6 Laughter is a Stress-Buster!

laughter office

“Laughter is inner jogging,” said Norman Cousins.

With the Internet taking over our lives, it has become easier to get a daily dose of laughter. So, use it. Laugh because it is the easiest way to get the happy hormones secreted in your body that do you a whole lot of good.

What can laughter do for you?

laughter quote

  • Allows your body to produce the natural, happy chemicals of NK cells, endorphins, serotonin, growth hormones, interferon-gamma (IFN) and a host of other beneficial substances.
  • Enhances the immune system and decreases the Cortisol and Epinephrine levels.
  • Allows your body to produce Endorphin, a natural opiate and natural painkiller.
  • Improves the flow of the emotions leading to a de-stressed mental and physical being.
  • Improves circulation, relieves muscles and as a result, relaxes the physical state.

Given all of this, corporations, what are you waiting for? Make these changes in your workplaces and get ready, get set, go!

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We’re stingy and don’t share emails with anyone.

About the Author

Sawaram Suthar is Head of Marketing at Tagove Live Chat. He helps SME to increase their ROI and overall business. He also runs a digital marketing agency called Jagat Media and is a regular Huffington Post contributor.

Within a short span of time, he has helped various enterprises increase their traffic and ROI. His expertise lies in digital marketing, SEO and brand promotion.

2 responses to “6 Scientific Ways to Increase Productivity”

  1. Audrey Taylor says:

    Great tips! Will try to follow them all!

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