Have you ever had a busy day at work and just needed to step outside for fresh air to clear your mind? Or wanted to start a difficult task on a messy desk and have the urge to first clear it up? Or automatically choose the table in the corner of the restaurant with your back to the door? We instinctively know that our physical environments are important to us. However, many of us fail to take this into consideration when we create our work space.
Open plan offices have become ‘the new normal’. Spatial restraints are a real concern and having your own office has become a luxury. This means that you don’t always have as much control over your environment as you’d like. Luckily, we are here to help – we specialise in practical, creative solutions for the modern workplace.
At Sensory Intelligence® Consulting, we have a unique service called the Sensory Audit™. During an Audit, we look measure 50 factors across 3 components of the physical workspace:
- Collective space
- Personal space
- Wellness factors
We look at everything in your workspace – from the number of water coolers, to the quality of your lighting and air conditioning, to the amount of social space available and even staff amenities.
We then take it one step further. We determine the individual sensory thresholds (how our bodies react to external stimuli) of the team members in that space and suggest adaptations to your workplace to promote optimal focus, productivity and wellness for all.
Research has shown that there is a direct correlation between our environment and our stress levels, which in turn impact on our productivity and output in the workplace. Making real changes in your environment could lead to your team communicating better, a decrease in stress levels and absenteeism and higher productivity. Although we can’t take away the reality of distractions in open plan offices, it’s sometimes as simple as knowing who to place where to boost productivity. And then adding a few specialised spaces for ‘focus’ or ‘quiet’ work.
Practical things you can do this week without needing a Sensory Audit™:
- Keep a water bottle handy. Drinking enough water during the day can re-focus your brain and reduce your stress levels.
- Move! Make sure you get up at least once an hour to stretch, fill up your water bottle, make some coffee/tea or go outside.
- Check the lighting in your environment. When your eyes need to work hard due to lack of sufficient light, your brain is using energy for this, instead of energy for focusing on your work. Sometimes it’s as simple as opening a blind, adjusting the brightness of your screen or adding a desk lamp.
- Use earphones. If you work in an open plan office or noisy environment, the use of earphones is highly recommended. Especially if you are doing high-level concentration work.
Change doesn’t always have to cost a lot of money – small things make a huge difference!
Contact us today to enquire about a Sensory Audit™ for your workplace.
Karlien Terblanche is a specialist Sensory Intelligence® Consulting facilitator for adults and corporate groups. She holds a Master’s degree in Occupational Therapy from the University of Stellenbosch and specialises in the field of mental health. She has extensive experience in the area of sensory integration in adults and is currently exploring sensory mindfulness as a preventative strategy in mental health and wellness. She is passionate about working with both individual clients and groups and aims to guide her clients to reach their full potential. She fully believes every person can become the hero of their own story.