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Bring the science of happy to your workspace

The state of your workspace can make a surprising difference productivity and frame of mind

I tend towards the untidy side of creativity and can often end up trying to work in the midst of piles of magazines, random papers and forgotten coffee cups. But, while a sterile environment is anathema to inspiration, an overly messy desk leaves me feeling equally chaotic and overwhelmed.I’m certainly not alone in this. A growing number of studies show that our desk space and the objects we choose to have on it can play a big role in wellbeing at work and even make us better at our jobs.
Here are five expert approved ways to design your desk for good moods and success at work.

1. Introduce some foliage to your workspace 
Scientists have found that plants have a soothing effect on people, impacting upon our brain chemistry, reducing stress and even blood pressure. Having a plant on your desk could even help you improve your work. A study by Dr Virginia Lohr at Washington State University found that people working in an office with plants were 12 per cent more productive than other people in plant-less spaces. Having a plant like French Staghorn Fern on your desk, otherwise known as platycerium lemoinei, will filter out air pollutants and it needs minimal watering—so is virtually impossible to kill.
 
2. Be clever with colour 
Colour psychologists have found that having a yellow object on your desk or other warm colours can evoke feelings of happiness, optimism and energy. Whether it’s a vase, your mouse-mat or your trusty coffee mug, make it yellow for an added boost of positivity.

3. Personalise your space  
In a study for Headspace, environmental psychology consultant and writer Lily Bernheimer found that people who personalise their desks, with items like holiday snaps and photographs of friends and family more likely to have greater job satisfaction, psychological well-being and physical health.

Go a step further and add framed photos of your loved ones to your desk for an extra touch of class and permanence.

4. Boost happiness with something beautiful
A growing number of studies have found a connection between proximity to beauty and overall happiness. Go in search of an object that brings you joy with no other purpose than to sit there looking pretty to give you a wellbeing boost throughout the day.

5. A tidy desk leads to a tidy mind—and a happy home 
The old saying about tidiness is true, it turns out. Research by technology solutions provider Brother found that that tidy working environments made workers more productive and organised. This also had a positive impact on their relationships and happiness at home —an unexpected bonus effect.

Keeping a tidy workspace may help you to climb the ladder at work, according to Brother’s survey. One in ten bosses said that a messy work area would stop them from promoting an employee.