23 November 2012 Bec Derrington

Recently, I asked SourceBottle subs to send me examples of approaches they’d taken to help make their businesses more efficient. I was impressed with what came back, with some great tips that I’ll share over the coming weeks. But one in particular stood out because it stressed how small (seemingly insignificant) changes to a workplace setting can have a substantial impact on output. You just have to find the right ‘trigger’.

I’m referring to former manufacturing-plant staffer turned author Sigrid De Castella. Sigrid found that replacing all of the factory-floor lighting with daylight-simulated fluorescent tubes (giving the same feel as being on the beach on a Summer’s day) made employees feel happier and far more productive. And all it took was to replace a few cheap fluorescent tubes with better quality daylight-simulation tubes; a simple change with quantifiable benefits.

But what I liked most about this example was that while the change was simple, it wasn’t an obvious one. It required a bit of lateral thinking on De Castella’s part and her putting herself in the mind of an employee of the company. Consequently, this slight adjustment to the workplace setting helped employees feel happier about going to work, which meant they worked that much harder as a result.

Likewise for me, where I work is almost as important as when I work. So at least once or twice a week I like to go to my ‘coffice’ (a café office) for a chance to get on top of my burgeoning action list. In fact, as I write I’m sitting in my local, which brews a killer cuppa and offers free Wi-Fi to those regulars among us who know the (secret) password. 

For some reason my brain feels more unfettered here than in my home-based office, which might be because while I can hear the buzz of muted conversations, I can’t distinguish enough of what’s being said to engage in them. Or perhaps it’s just the frustratingly slow download speed that keeps me from being distracted by Twitter or Facebook. Either way, it works, and I find myself easily charging through my to do list with a great sense of satisfaction. 

I know I’m not alone in the hunt for a space that helps me put my pedal to the metal beyond what I’d normally achieve with my typical backdrop of sloshing dishwasher, whirring spin cycle and the soothing sounds of ‘Dora the Explorer’.  

Tell me, where do you work most efficiently?