OEA Blog
02 May 2019

7 things to liven up your workspace

Working is an essential part of your adult life. You would most probably spend at least 8-9 hours (that’s a third of your day!) at the same workplace every weekday. Just like how a home influences your overall mood, environment plays an important factor in making your life better or worse, so why not liven up your workplace? As the old saying goes: “Your office is your second home” So here are 7 ways that you can make a home out of an office.

Office is a second home, so bring your family along! (Or just a picture of them)

Sometimes looking at your family photos can be comforting, especially in a stress-filled environment (Just ask any Singaporean army boy during their first field camp, they will vouch for this statement) such as the office.

A picture of you and your loved ones can put a smile on your face and be a huge motivational factor to work harder. For example, putting a photo of a family trip overseas might make you worked harder to bring them overseas again. This is because the memories forged back then might entice you to forge new ones.

Be edgy

Everybody needs a little push once in a while; nothing is better than looking up the board of your cubicle (if any) and see one of those motivational quotes. But do look out for those that are aesthetically trendy, if not your office space might look dull and boring.

Perhaps a movie sign or a simple typography under solid colours would be recommended.

Do get stationeries, organisers, planners and holders from the hip and trendy store to liven up the often mundane items you see in the office every day, find one that suits your style and personality the most! Nothing brightens you up when working like an expression of self. Like colours? Make your cubicle colourful (unless company rules say otherwise), if you want to be classy? Sepia and black & white stationery might be the directions you want to go.

Lastly, do de-clutter unnecessary items in your office; psychologically, a messy place can actually impact both mood and productivity. Do keep your place as minimal as possible and as organised so that the stress of finding last month’s document can be eliminated.

A good looking, sharp office can really make a difference.

Pantries are haven (Food is heaven)

Having a pantry is essential for having a liveable workplace. According to a survey conducted by Staples Business Advantage (SBA), 3% of respondents felt that a full pantry would make them feel happier at work, with a further 57% thinking that it would boost staff morale. (Source)

Firstly, a pantry is a place where nutrition to help keep focus are stored. Most of the time, productivity is hindered as the energy is slowly drained from piles of stuff to do, and staring at the computer or doing repetitive tasks may be exhaustive. A little snack or coffee area where employees are able to get their fix would boost both morale and productivity.

Secondly, it is also a common communal place to relax and talk to one another. Since the pantry is a shared place. Co-workers are able to hang out and take effective breaks, where they can converse and have their snacks. Having a place to socialise can be crucial in maintaining a positive mood as humans are social creatures.

Lastly, having a shared place where food can be found can bring up a more human atmosphere, compared to having a monolithic and stone cold office. The warmth a pantry can bring adds to the overall office experience, making your office seem more natural to go to rather than an artificial and hollow place.

Get a small garden in your workplace (To get some fresh air indoors)

Having plants in the office is said to improve the overall atmosphere in the office. Both artificial and actual plants can bring out organic vibes in the office, especially in a place where organic sunlight is absent. We need to have a touch of nature in our lives to improve our overall mood. And plants allow that touch of nature to be prevalent.

Actual indoor plants can also improve the overall air quality in the office space. According to research carried out by Dr. Roger S. Ulrich of Texas A&M University and Helen Russell, Surrey University, England as well as other studies conducted by Dr. Virginia Lohr of Washington State University, have revealed plants significantly lower workplace stress and enhance productivity. (Source)

For example, Gerber Daisy, a common office plant, removes benzene, which is a toxin emitted from printing machines. The weeping fig, Aloe plants, Peace Lilies, Chinese Evergreens, English Ivies, Warneck Dracaena, and Azaleas can filter pollutants from carpets, varnishes and furniture, such as formaldehyde and benzene.

Colleagues, have fun with them! (Either your allies, or your enemies)

Most of the time, you would be working among other people (Unless you’re someone in a home office). Even if you have a personal office, you would likely interact with people who are just outside.

Colleagues are fundamental in creating a conducive environment as humans require some social interaction. Having good relationships with your colleagues can help build a strong support system both mentally and emotionally. When you are friends with your colleagues, you may find work more casual and less tensely ‘professional’, providing you with a breath of fresh air to bond with colleagues.

However do take caution when bonding with every colleague you see. People have different agendas in life and their values may not match with yours. So do keep your guard up when interacting with new colleagues. Do not expect too much from the ones that you do click with as well as people can change.

Do have dress down days at the end of the week (TGICF: Thank Goodness It’s Casual Friday)

Casual Fridays (or dress down days for a non-Friday workday) are one of the best motivators in making work more lively and bearable. Dress down days, are days where you report to work in less formal and professional clothing. Allowing employees to dress more casually can be a good way to infuse a sense of fun into the workday without doing anything to detract from productivity. (Source)

Casual Fridays also spark a sense of individualism in the worker itself. Making them feel like they’re more than just a number. Once there is this emotional needs met, there would be a boost in morale. Anyways, the best way to be alive in work is to be aware that you are an actual living thing. And a slack in autonomy in expression shows just that. The best part is it could somehow promote cohesion and company identity when a casual uniform is worn by colleagues.

Of course, do set boundaries when suggesting to your boss about casual Fridays. Try not to make it too casual (Bermuda’s, miniskirts, singlet and slippers). Office is still a professional setting after all.

Create healthy competition amongst each other for motivation. (Be accountable)

People work best when they are challenged or when they have a healthy amount of stress in their lives. The benefit of having accountability partners are a healthy competition between you and your co-workers is that it provides fulfilment in the work that you do. According to Maslow’s Hierarchy of needs, the final stage of what people need is self-actualisation, or sense of purpose and fulfilment. Having a fulfilled work-life can boost your mood and thus makes you more lively.

Of course do caution when having competition. Do not make the competition your only focus in the job. And also do not make it an unhealthy obsession to compete. Understand that an excessive amount of competition and challenges can backfire and drains you out instead. So do let your ‘competitor’ know your limits and vice versa.


So here are 7 tips to make your workspace more bearable for you! Want to know more about office cultures and the latest office trends? Head down to Office Expo Asia 2019! A 360-degree event for all office elements poised to welcome the biggest and best names, thought-leaders and important players in the world of workplace solutions and development, office products and stationery supplies. With disruptive innovations transforming the world of work, OEA congregates forward-looking organisations, brands and agile mind-sets looking to extend their market reach!

Look out for more liveable workspace ideas and showcases at Office Expo Asia (OEA) 2019! Pre-register for OEA here.

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