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Things That Affect Your Productivity – Part 2: Territoriality
July 27th, 2012 by Juliana Weiss-Roessler  Posted in Career Advice, In the Workplace

Things That Affect Your ProductivityIn part 1 of this series, I started to discuss the different ways that your environment can affect the way that you work. I brought up the three types of environmental factors that researchers point to - psychological, territorial, and physical - and discussed how your own psychology can negatively impact your ability to get things done.

Today’s post will focus on the ways in which functionality and territoriality can help or harm your productivity levels. What do those two terms even mean? Read on.

Control Matters

When we go to work, sometimes it can seem like our employers want to control every little aspect of our time there. We have specific lunch times and break times. We only have access to certain filing cabinets and offices. We share a thermostat, with no way to change it. Websites and applications are blocked - and not always the ones that you would expect.

For employers, this allows them to better dictate what we will be doing and how we will be doing it. In their minds, they are helping productivity by dictating the things that we can do and have control over. In some ways, this probably does help, such as blocking time-wasting sites like Facebook that don’t really have any true work use. Unfortunately, taking too much control and “ownership” away from us can actually hurt our productivity.

In terms of functionality, giving all people the exact same materials to complete their work is a mistake. A graphic designer, for example, needs a more powerful computer than an executive assistant - it’s not one-size-fits-all, and that designer needs to at least have the ability to request a better machine. Essentially, functionality means that your workspace is designed from top to bottom to make it as easy as possible for you to do your work - comfortable chair, well-organized, close restrooms.

All of that is great, but to really improve productivity, it needs to go to the next step and give you better control. Why? Because when we are allowed to manipulate our environment (by bringing in personal items, controlling the temperature, and so on), it gives us a sense of ease, comfort, and familiarity with the space. For lack of a better term, it makes us feel at home.

This feeling is important because the more comfortable we are, the more likely it is that we will let our guard down and be able to focus on the job itself. And better focus, obviously, leads to an increase in productivity levels.
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Tags: office-culture, relationships-at-work, at-work, advice, leadership, in-the-workplace
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