The internet is full of advice on how to work more effectively, ranging from snapshots of the latest research to ingenious office hacks. At Kensington, we’re always on the lookout for new and intelligent solutions to everyday office problems. Here are some of the weirdest and most wonderful ways of working smarter that we’ve come across.

  1. Get the ball rolling

We all know that a good office chair can make a big difference to how you work – and that a badly set-up workstation can lead to a variety of serious health problems, which can be costly for you and your employer. Increasingly, people are swapping their swivel chairs for an exercise ball. As well as the ergonomic benefits, this is a relatively inexpensive choice. And, with all the extra abdominal exercise, it could even save you having to fork out on a gym membership!

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Image Credit: @FitFoodieRun

  1. Keep a level head

There’s more to good posture than sitting comfortably. To stop you from hunching over your screen, a monitor or laptop should be at eye level, with hands and forearms in a parallel position. While more difficult with laptops than PCs, the problem can be easily fixed with the help of a riser or monitor stand. However, if you don’t feel like investing in a purpose-built piece, you could always follow Harry Vann’s example by adapting a butcher’s block. Is there a better place to draw up a steakholder management plan?

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Image Credit: @harryvann_

  1. Make yourself at home

Studies suggest that photos of loved ones and personalization can help to reduce stress and contribute to a more positive frame of mind. People usually address this problem by decorating their workstation with pictures and photos, or simply by working from home. We loved this photo from Malcolm Sheppard who spruced up his workstation with a faux fireplace monitor cover. What a way to log in!

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  1. Get the right tools for the job.

It’s clear that having the right tools for the job will improve productivity. While some office gadgets can be distracting, the right labor-saving device will make your working life much easier. In moderation, regular coffee breaks are a good thing, but they can sometimes eat away at your productivity, with whole minutes lost walking to and from the office kitchen. If you’re tiring of the coffee run, you could always invest in a FlaskTie (or “macchiatie”). You might never be latte for a deadline again!

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  1. Keep work tidy.

You can tell a lot about a person from their workspace. A quick glance around the office might confirm the view that a tidy desk reflects a tidy mind. An organized desk, with clear and intelligent filing, can simplify routine tasks and help you stay calm under pressure while allowing more time for things that matter. But if some of your colleagues are on the extreme end of this spectrum, you could treat them to this mini USB vacuum. It really sucks!

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  1. Find crumbs of comfort on a messy desk.

Recent studies suggest there is something to be said for keeping it messy. Researchers at Minnesota University found that people who work in cluttered environments tend to be more unconventional and creative.  After all, Albert Einstein’s office was famously chaotic, but it doesn’t appear to have affected his problem-solving skills.

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Image credit: Oren Jack Turner (CC-BY 2.0)

  1. Remember to refuel 

There are strongly opposing views on the effects of caffeine on productivity. For some, a cup of tea or coffee is a reliable way to heighten alertness and concentration. For others, an excessive caffeine habit can cause sleep and health problems, such as increased blood pressure. In addition to keeping you hydrated, regular tea breaks can form the basis of a productive routine, whether you’re drinking espressos or peppermint tea. But that’s not to say there aren’t other, more direct ways of administering your daily dose. This caffeine drip brings a new meaning to the phrase ‘instant coffee’. (Don’t try this one at home, kids!)

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  1. Tune in or zone out. 

The office playlist can be a bone of contention, but there is good evidence that a daily soundtrack is a positive thing. The right music can lift your mood and aid concentration on routine tasks.  Classical music is said to be better for performing cognitively demanding tasks. By contrast, pop music is thought to help employees work more quickly and accurately. Bieber is voluntary…

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  1. Let there be light!

There’s strong evidence that employees who have more exposure to natural light tend to sleep for longer and more soundly, experiencing fewer health problems as a result.  Moreover, there’s a case to be made for the presence of greenery in the working environment. Plants are thought to improve productivity, while the color green is said to make employees think more creatively. Why not try this corking idea?

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Image credit: Craftful Thinkings (Tumblr)

10. Don’t be afraid to think outside the box.

If you’re not convinced by any of these solutions, it might be time to take drastic measures. The California-based art graduate Robb Godshaw took the idea of a standing desk and ran with it by designing the Hamster Wheel Standing Desk. This is a workstation that makes you fit, reduces stress and keeps the brain active. It all sounds great – unless, of course, your job is client facing.

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If you’re serious about working smarter, we’d suggest jumping straight to this option:

Get a Kensington Dock

Compatible with Microsoft Surface, MacBook or Ultrabook, the Kensington dock expands your workspace by allowing you to add additional monitors and spread your work across two screens. With multiple USB ports, there is no easier way to help productivity – connect all accessories to your dock and get working!

Kensington Dock

Do your smarter workplace tips beat ours? If you can beat Bieber, please do let us know!