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Switching Up Your Workspace Can Make You More Productive, Happier

Make the case to your boss to get a couch.

Welcome to HuffPost Canada’s (almost) daily guide to helping you pick up an easy, everyday ritual that can make your life a bit better, in a small but significant way.

Canadians are stressed out, anxious, and are feeling disconnected from each other. Every Monday through Friday, we’ll share a tiny tip to help you feel good. We’ve got your back.

Today’s habit: Sit in a different area of your office/workspace for at least an hour a day.

For whenever you’re feeling: Like you need a change of scenery; like you want less distractions from colleagues; like you want to be more productive.

What it is: If you work in an office, or at home, you probably sit at the same desk at least eight hours a day. And I don’t have to tell you how tiring that is.

I try to make my workspace as lively and home-y as possible. I’ve got my desk plants. I have pictures of my kid and my dog on the desk divider. And I’ve got Pop! figurines of the Duke and Duchess of Sussex sitting beside my computer.

But by the time 2 p.m. hits, I’m tired. I’m tired of staring at a big computer screen; I’m tired of constantly adjusting my chair; I’m tired of being unable to focus; and I’m tired of my desk.

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So, a few weeks ago, I decided that every day, for an hour or two a day, I would move to a different part of the office and work there instead of at my desk. Fortunately, my office has quite a few couches, armchairs, standing desks, and small, cosy nooks where anyone can work. I picked an armchair, and park myself there every day. Reader, it makes a huge difference to my day.

How it can help: After spending a few days working in my new office space, I noticed a few things: I was a lot more productive because I wasn’t distracted by my desk-mates; I was very comfortable; and I was more relaxed.

As many office space blogs will tell you, our work environment impacts our productivity, mood, and happiness. And as notes, many of us spend one-third of our lives at work, which is why it’s so important that we have workspaces that keep us actively engaged and productive.

There “needs to be quiet areas available for independent thinking and private meetings,” according to “Some employees might not do well with constant interruptions. If you offer a variety of spaces for your employees to choose from, they can have a tailor-made environment to match their needs.”

We also know that happy employees are more productive, and more likely to be loyal to their employer. A 2015 experiment conducted on 700 employees found productivity increased by an average of 12 per cent when they reported being happy.

How to get started: Take a look around your workspace; is there a quiet spot you can get work done for an hour a day? If so, check in with your manager first to see if it’s OK to move to a different space. If your office doesn’t have the room for additional quiet spots, ask your manager if you could work out of a meeting room, or perhaps a coffee shop for an hour. Trust me, once you start working in a different space, you’ll want to do so every day.

How it makes us feel: I love knowing that I can work in a comfy armchair every day; even though I’m not at home, it feels home-y because I’m so comfortable and because there are less distractions because I’m tucked away at the back of the office. I get so much done, and that makes me feel happy and productive.

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And that’s your habit of the day.

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