By Bond Collective Staff
Office environment plays a critical role in the way you work. If you can’t get comfortable or if important items are not easily accessible, your productivity, focus, and inspiration will suffer. Instead of giving up and calling it quits, use these office hacks to improve your working environment.
21 Best Office Hacks
1) Personalize Your Space
Encouraging your employees to personalize their spaces can add a dash of inspiration to an otherwise dull environment. Items like pictures, amusing sayings, and even some of the office hacks on this list make your employees’ desks more lively and stimulating.
And if you and your team work remotely or from different locations where you can’t leave your personal belongings overnight, carry a few of your favorite items in a backpack and unpack one, two, or all of them when you find a place to work.
Even just setting one item on the table at your favorite coffee house can help make the space more familiar and user-friendly. When you’re done for the day, repack the items in your bag so they’re ready for wherever you work tomorrow.
Not sure how to personalize your workspace for inspiration? Here are some simple, easy-to-incorporate suggestions:
Pick your favorite color and place three or four items of that color on your desk
Scatter various-colored items along the perimeter of your desk
Choose brightly colored items to boost productivity, engagement, and overall happiness
Incorporate various materials and textures on your desk (e.g., wood, fabric, metal)
These simple office hacks will promote a sense of wellness and creativity throughout the day, wherever you happen to work.
2) Make A Template For Easier Hanging
Need to hang an item on the wall with specific holes (like a power strip)? Make a photocopy of the back and use it as a template to mark where to drill or nail. You’ll get the perfect placement every time.
3) Corral Cords With A Metal Basket
Is that cord tangle under your desk driving you crazy? Hide the mess with a metal basket.
Screw four metal cup hooks into the underside of your desk around the perimeter of the metal basket (be sure to give your knees plenty of room to move). Then run all your cords through the basket to keep them corralled.
Using cup hooks instead of screws or nails makes for fast installation and removal. Just push the basket up until it’s flush with the desk, turn two of the hooks 90 degrees, and remove the container for easy access.
You can even run cords out at all angles to accommodate numerous devices.
4) Place A Plant On The Corner Of Your Desk
Want to reduce your stress and anxiety? Want to boost your morale and productivity? Want to transform your workspace from sterile to inspiring? Add a plant.
This simple and inexpensive office hack is a low-maintenance solution that will make you happier and more at ease, resulting in increased focus and engagement.
A small bonsai tree or cactus is ideal for this office hack. They are hearty, easy to transport (they fit in a backpack or tote bag), and don’t take up a lot of space on your desk.
5) Spice Up Your Office Supplies
Office supplies — like paper clips, thumbtacks, binder clips, and other tiny items — can be nearly impossible to organize. Instead of hiding them in a drawer, use a spice rack to keep them tidy and on display for all to see.
6) Repurpose A Spring For Notes And Letters
Letter holders are a wonderful way to keep notes and correspondence organized. But for those of us on the go, they can be difficult to carry. That’s where this office hack comes into play.
Remove a spring from an old pen (or buy a bigger one for more stability) and stack your notes and letters horizontally between the rolls of wire. Quick, easy, organized.
7) Wear Earplugs Or Noise-Canceling Headphones
If you work in a noisy environment but you really need to focus, considering wearing earplugs or noise-canceling headphones. They may not block the sound completely, but they will reduce it enough that you can tune it out.
And if you choose noise-canceling headphones, you can always queue your favorite work music to help you concentrate.
8) Tidy Your Desk With Tape
If you want to be happier and healthier while you work, wherever you work, tidy your workspace with this quick office hack.
Wrap some packing tape around your hand with the sticky side out. Then start cleaning. Crumbs, pencil shavings, shreds of paper, even small pieces of broken glass will stick to the tape and can then be easily discarded.
This office hack is especially useful for cleaning hard-to-reach places that collect a lot of dust and crumbs. Your computer keyboard is a prime example.
Keyboards are one of the dirtiest tools on your desk, and cleaning them can be a real pain. So much so that you’re likely to skip this important step. The next time you’re tidying up your working environment, use this office hack instead of overlooking the place that needs cleaning the most.
Run a strip of clear tape through the spaces between keys to extract all the dust, crumbs, and dead skin cells that pile up with repeated use.
9) Transform A Cassette Case Into A Smartphone Stand
Remember cassette tapes? They were all the rage before CDs (which were all the rage before MP3s and streaming music).
While cassette tapes are pretty much useless in modern society, the cases they came in make for excellent smartphone stands.
Open a cassette tape case all the way, place it on your desk, insert your phone, and you’ve got an inexpensive yet effective stand that’s both a conversation starter and a nice piece of nostalgia.
10) Mount Your Tablet With Self-Adhesive Hooks
Want to free up desk space and declutter your work environment? Try this office hack.
Press two self-adhesive hooks to the wall and place your tablet in the grooves. Now you can see your device while you work without having to hold it.
11) Clean Your Dirty Screen With A Coffee Filter
Whether you use a large desktop monitor or a small tablet screen all day, those surfaces are going to get dirty.
In the absence of a microfiber cloth (which is the best option), use a clean coffee filter. The softness and high fiber count of the filter will remove even the toughest of smudges.
12) Control The Clutter
Let’s face it: clutter is distracting. The sense of disorganization that surrounds a cluttered workspace can seriously affect the happiness and productivity of your team. So before you attempt to improve your working environment by adding things, try removing things.
Here are a few suggestions for decluttering your office environment:
Hire a commercial cleaner
Go wireless if possible
Invest in storage solutions
Provide each team member with a personal storage space
Minimize items on your desk
We’re sure that, with some thought, you’ll come up with plenty of unique ways to keep your office environment clutter-free.
13) Take A Natural-Light Break
New research shows that natural light has a significantly positive effect on mood, focus, and productivity. Get a healthy dose of natural light by sitting near a window or going outside every hour or two. Even just five minutes of light exposure is enough to improve your mood.
If sitting near a window or going outside isn’t physically possible, the next best solution is to use a small desk lamp that mimics natural light with softer wavelengths.
New technology even allows lamps like these to change automatically from the cooler greens and blues that occur in the morning to the warmer yellows and reds that occur in the afternoon.
14) Rig Up A Binder-Clip Headphone Hanger
Working in an open office is one of the best ways to collaborate, but it can be noisy at times. Headphones are the obvious solution, but they take up quite a bit of desk space if not stored correctly.
Instead of placing your headphones ON your desk, buy a large binder clip and clip it to the edge of your desk. Fold the arms back so they stick out away from your desk and hang your headphones there.
15) Consider A Mechanical Keyboard
Your computer is a crucial part of your working environment. Without it, you won’t get much done. And unless you’re using speech-to-text, the best way to code, write, or generally input information is via the keyboard.
Modern laptop keyboards are designed to be lightweight and compact but are less than ideal for long bouts of typing. A better alternative is the mechanical keyboard.
Mechanical keyboards are built around small, spring-mounted switches that offer a more tactile feel than the ubiquitous membrane keyboards that come with most laptops. These switches are more heavy-duty, will last longer, and can actually improve your typing speed.
As an added benefit, mechanical keyboards are somewhat larger than laptop keyboards and, therefore, allow your hands and arms to remain in a more ergonomic position. This is better for your posture, overall health, and work productivity.
Mechanical keyboards come in many different sizes — from the 40-percent layout that includes only the letter keys and surrounding command keys (Shift, Tab, Ctrl, Alt, Enter, etc.) to the full 100-percent layout that includes all alphanumeric keys, function keys (F1, F2, F3, etc.), command keys, navigation keys (arrows, insert, delete, etc.), and ten-key number pad.
Most mechanical keyboards will plug into any computer via a regular USB port, so you can integrate one into your system even if your laptop already has a keyboard.
You can also choose between various types of switches that allow for different touch and sound experiences. The latter is especially useful in an office environment where a quieter switch/key combination won’t disturb those working around you.
With all of the options and choices available, you’re sure to find a layout and setup that suits your needs.
16) Deep Clean Your Keyboard And Computer Monthly
Whether you choose a mechanical keyboard or use the keyboard that came with your computer, it’s vital that you deep-clean around and underneath the keys at least once per month.
Doing so prevents key breakdown and extends the life of your keyboard. It can even improve typing speeds and prevent misfires (instances when dirt interferes with the key so that it doesn’t register on the screen).
We’ve already talked about surface-cleaning your keyboard in office hack number eight, but it’s essential to get down between the cracks and underneath the keys (if possible) every 30 days to keep your keyboard and computer running smoothly.
What you’ll need to deep clean your computer:
Isopropyl rubbing alcohol
If you can remove the keys from the keyboard, do so. This isn’t possible with most membrane keyboards that come standard on laptops, so don’t force it. In these situations, just work around the keys.
Start by blowing short bursts of canned air into all the ports, jacks, and around the keys.
Next, wipe the screen and other large surfaces with a microfiber cloth. For tough, stuck-on material, wet a corner of the cloth with water or isopropyl alcohol and scrub gently.
Finally, dip a cotton swab in the isopropyl alcohol and clean the corners and crevices that the cloth can’t reach.
17) Stay Hydrated And Fed
One of the best office hacks to improve your working environment is staying hydrated and fed. It’s not as visible as many of the other tips on this list, but it can make the most difference in your productivity.
To ensure that you drink enough water throughout the day, label a water bottle with milestones you should reach during work hours.
For example, if your goal is to drink three cups of water before lunch, measure and mark one-cup increments on the outside of your water bottle. Label each mark with a time (e.g., 9 a.m., 10 a.m., 11 a.m.) and then drink the allotted amount before that time.
While you’re drinking your water throughout the day, don’t forget to eat too. A healthy lunch is essential for keeping your energy level high. But nutritious mid-morning and mid-afternoon snacks play a part as well.
Keep some granola bars in your briefcase or avail yourself of the free fresh fruit in your office when your stomach starts to growl.
If an apple or a pear just won’t curb your cravings during a particularly strenuous project, try this recipe for a quick and easy brownie in a mug.
¼ cup of flour
¼ cup of sugar
2 tablespoons of cocoa
Pinch of salt
Small pinch of cinnamon
¼ cup of water
2 tablespoons of light-flavor oil (coconut works well)
⅛ teaspoon of vanilla extract
If your coconut oil has solidified, microwave everything but the water for 10 seconds.
Stir all the ingredients together before adding the water.
Measure ¼ cup of water into the mug and mix well.
Microwave on high for 1 minute.
If brownie isn’t cooked all the way through, continue microwaving in 15-second increments until it is.
Try mixing the dry ingredients (including the oil) in a sealable container at home before leaving for work. Then pour the ingredients into a large coffee mug, add water, and microwave according to the instructions.
Alternatively, you could just mix everything at home in a sealable microwave-safe container, add water at work, and microwave. That way, you don’t have to dirty another dish.
18) Fidget The Right Way
As we alluded to in the Stay Hydrated And Fed section above, improving your work environment starts with your body and mind.
One simple way to keep your mind firing on all cylinders is to allow yourself to fidget when you feel the need.
Research shows that manipulating physical objects with your hand can activate your brain in significant ways. So tapping your fingers on the desk, clicking your pen, or doodling during the workday can improve your creativity and cognition.
For a more focused fidgeting experience, try placing a fidget spinner, fidget cube, or stress ball within easy reach of your workstation. When you feel the need to stop and think, pick up the object, relax, and let your fingers do whatever comes naturally.
19) Rest Your Eyes
Another way that you can improve your working environment without actually altering the space around you is by taking the time to rest your eyes periodically throughout the day. Eye strain can lead to headaches and lost productivity, so it’s crucial to look away from your computer screen at regular intervals.
Follow the easy-to-remember 20-20-20 rule to keep your eyes fresh and free from strain. Here’s how to do it:
Set an alarm or countdown timer for 20 minutes.
When the alarm goes off, pause your work.
Look at an object at least 20 feet away from you.
Keep your gaze on this object for at least 20 seconds.
Restart the alarm or countdown timer and return to work.
Put simply, every 20 minutes, look at an object 20 feet away from you for at least 20 seconds.
You can also keep your eyes fresh by minimizing glare on your computer screen and filtering out some of the blue light from your display.
20) Stimulate Your Senses With A Fresh Smell
Want a simple office hack? Activate your sense of smell.
Certain scents can boost your mood, stimulate your creativity, and generally improve your working environment. A bouquet of fresh-cut flowers makes a nice olfactory addition to your workspace, as does a simple air freshener.
Whatever scent you choose, be sure it isn’t too powerful. While you may enjoy the smell of patchouli and lime, for example, others around you may not.
One way to avoid disturbing your workmates — especially in an open office layout — is to create a portable scent kit. Place a small amount of your favorite scented material in a sealable jar (diluted essential oils work well in this case).
When you need an energy boost or a quick bit of inspiration, remove the lid from the container, take a deep breath in through your nose, and then replace the lid. Repeat this activity several times during the day or as needed to stay focused.
21) Learn Keyboard Shortcuts
The way you work and your working environment are intimately intertwined. Any office hack that improves productivity and flow will make your workday more exciting and, dare we say, fun.
One of the best ways to streamline repetitive activities — especially when using a computer — is to learn and memorize keyboard shortcuts.
Key combinations such as Alt + Tab for switching between open programs, Ctrl + Tab for cycling through open browser windows, and Ctrl + C or Ctrl + V for copy and paste respectively can save you significant amounts of time.
Make a list of your most common non-keyboard activities, such as using the mouse to change font characteristics or highlighting text, and then find the equivalent keyboard shortcut. Post this list beside your computer and get in the habit of using the keyboard instead of the mouse.
The Best Working Environment With Or Without Office Hacks
Office hacks are fun and useful — up to a point. While they may solve minor problems in the short term, the DIY nature of some of these solutions can reduce the professional appearance of your working environment.
Bond Collective offers boutique coworking environments that are available immediately for businesses of all sizes. In addition to our unique office settings, members also enjoy convenient amenities, such as:
Private-label mail service
Daily on-site cleaning
Guest reception and greeting
Insanely fast Wi-Fi
Concession food market
If you’re looking for a spacious, well-appointed collaborative workspace to boost your productivity and transform your business for the better, experience the best that modern office spaces have to offer.
Tour any one of our gorgeous Bond Collective locations in the United States, including New York, Pennsylvania, Washington D.C., Illinois, Tennessee, and Texas. Then become a member of Bond Collective and take advantage of our coworking spaces, dedicated desks, and private offices to suit all your business needs.
To get started or to learn more about the advantages of coworking spaces for digital nomads, remote workers, and businesses of all kinds, visit BondCollective.com today or call to find out more about everything we have to offer.
Come experience first-hand how the boutique work environments at Bond Collective can benefit your business.