For anyone who sits behind a desk at work, whether that’s at home or in an office, it’s important that it’s set up to encourage productivity and efficiency. If your desk isn’t set up right then you could be losing hours of work time a day or not working to your creative capabilities.

Having the wrong kind of desk environment can also be detrimental to your health, affecting your posture, eyesight and even your mental health.

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With all that in mind, we’ve put together some top tips on how to create a more productive desk space at work…

Sit near a window

If possible try and sit close to a window. There are a couple of reasons for this. The first is that natural light has various health benefits, including better sleep and quality of life, which will naturally make you more alert and productive at work.

Being able to look out of the window might sound distracting, but it can actually be good for you. It’s not healthy to stare at a fixed distance or computer screen for a sustained period of time, so having something else to look at can actually do your eyesight some good.

Have plants on or around your desk

The health benefits of plants are numerous, but they also simply make for an attractive working environment, which can really help to boost morale and productivity.

You don’t even have to have actual plants - just images of plants will also work! An experiment showed that mentally fatigued participants performed better in a test when exposed to “restorative environments” (shown pictures of plants, trees, etc) compared to a control group who weren’t shown such environments.

Include things that make you happy

It might sound simple but having things on your desk that make you happy can make you work better. For example, having pictures of your family members on your desk may make you work that little bit harder, or having quotes from your favourite film might spark some creativity.

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On the other hand, if it makes you happy to have a very clear, minimalist desk, then go with that.

Messy or tidy desk?

A very hot topic when it comes to work productivity. Wars have been fought over less.

Some people like to have a very organised and sparse looking desk to reduce distractions and so they know exactly where everything is. Alternatively, others prefer a messy desk as it’s said to inspire creativity.

Steve Jobs liked to have a cluttered desk, whereas Bill Gates is an advocate for a tidier desk. Albert Einstein was seemingly a fan of the mess, exclaiming: “If a cluttered desk is a sign of a cluttered mind, of what, then, is an empty desk a sign?”

Curvy or straight lines

Everything can have an effect on how you think and feel - even whether your office is full of curvy or straight lines.

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Research found that those looking at interiors dominated by curves felt more peaceful, calmer and relaxed compared to interiors dominated by straight lines. Of course, if you want to create a working environment that isn’t peaceful, calm and relaxed, then it’s straight lines all the way.

Get away from your desk

Whilst you can do everything under the Sun to optimise your working environment, don’t underestimate the importance of actually getting away from your desk every now and again. It’s important to take regular breaks to remain fresh and alert, but it’s also good for your health.

Sitting down too long is bad for you, with some even declaring that sitting is the new smoking. A few times a day, get up and go for a walk around the office. Go and talk to someone. Make a cup of tea. Whatever you need to do to stretch your legs and freshen both your mind and your body.

If all else fails, just get a treadmill desk.

At the end of the day, it’s all about finding a desk setup that works for you, and if you’re finding it’s not working, change it up.

Read more tips on improving your productivity at work.