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hundreds of undergrads looked at computer-generated pictures of room interiors and rated those filled with curvilinear (rounded), as opposed to rectilinear, desk furniture as more pleasing and inviting. Another study out this year found that people rated curvy, rounded environments as more beautiful than straight-edged rectilinear environments and that the rounded spaces triggered more activity in brain regions associated with reward and aesthetic appreciation.
The simple act of making your own decisions about how to organize your workspace has an empowering effect and has been linked with improved productivity. If you have the luxury of designing your own workspace, consider choosing a layout and desk with hutch and file drawers that is curved and rounded rather than sharp and straight-edged. Creating this environment has been linked with positive emotions, which is known to be beneficial for creativity and productivity (added bonus: there is also less chance of knocking an elbow or knee on a sharp corner)
Today we have the means to measure the performance of modern idea factories. Even these early insights suggest a future in which we must aggressively change the definition of what workspace is, from where work is done to how it is done, and then design spaces—physical and digital as well as desk furniture around that. The office of the past was a literal box of cubicles and desks, meeting rooms and common spaces. In the office of the future, we will be thinking and working outside it.
It is easy to neglect the importance of your workspace, especially if you are under pressure of deadlines and not so into interior design. It is vital that you choose an office space and desk furniture that you feel happy and comfortable in. If your freedom is restricted, shape the space as much as you can to make it your own. Get your surroundings in order and the rest is sure to follow.
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