Minimise the impact your working environment has on your levels of stress!

Surprising as it may seem, your working environment and specifically how that environment is arranged can be a major source of stress.

This cause if often undetected by you, the range of issues is quite considerable, from how you sit at your desk or workstation, to how the office is planned, these things can and often do affect your performance levels and contribute to your stress levels.

In many cases this particular work related issue is often overlooked as a cause of stress, yet it can certainly trigger stress, or at the very least compound an existing stressfull situation,and therefore it can occasionally go unresolved.

Take Control

From a practical point of view, how your working environment is layed out, for example, may not be in your control. If you do have this level of control try to arrange the office or workstation in such a way that you and your co-workers have easy access to the resources that are available, those resources such as printers, fax machines and photocopiers for example, resources which are needed to carry out the daily tasks.

If you do not have this control, then it is up to you to raise this issue with your line manager, to provide evidence of how important the workplace is to job satisfaction and workplace happiness, you can quote the following statement, taken from Professor of Economics University of Warwick, Andrew Oswald’s research into what constitutes Job Satisfaction and work life balance in the US and Europe.

Designing Happy Workplaces:What are good and bad for Job Satisfaction Levels?

Small Freedoms: Very Good

(ie. Can move desk, change lighting, etc)

Clearly even the most simple of freedoms, such as being able to change desk positions for instance, can have a huge impact on happiness and job satisfaction.

What affects your Working Environment

There are many contributory factors that affect your work. They include but are not exclusive to the following



PC/Monitor.Keyboard/Mouse position

Noise Levels

Air Quality

Possible Solutions

If the problem has been identified as your PC, a simple and cost effective solution is to inquire about the purchase of an ergonomic keyboard. Even more effective than that, take frequent breaks, remembering at all times that you still have a job to do 🙂 Look at the causes of your pains/aches and stress, once you are aware of the cause of your discomfort you can do something about it.

Noise and Air Quality have been identified as a cause of stress, raised blood pressure and poor work performance. It is therefore advisable to look at how noise and air quality are managed within your working environment.

Obviously not everyone has the authority to implement any of the following tips on reducing noise levels and improving air quality, although everyone does have a responsibility to themselves and their colleagues and any company worth it’s salt will at the very least listen to your suggestions and many will implement many or all of the suggestions outlined below.

Noise Concerns

Install partitions to deaden sound

Wherever possible use separate meeting rooms for meetings

If possible – As on some trains – make available quiet rooms for times when concentration is an absolute must

If all else fails — Try using ear plugs !!!

Air Quality

Following is a list of those factors which contribute to poor air quality


Air Conditioning


Ionization by electrical equipment




Excess humidity or dryness

There are a number of things that you can do to improve the air quality in your workplace and at the same time improve overall stress levels.

Ban Smoking in the workplace (Many countries have introduced this as a law recently anyway)

Open windows – Simple but effective (Unless you work in a chemical plant of course)

Use an ionizer. An ionizer freshens the air by removing positive ions, created by electric motors in PC’s for example.

Dehumidifiers are great for situations where humidity is a concern

Plants are an excellent idea for improving air quality, not only do they help with humidity, by reducing stuffiness, they are nice to look at too…they also help to absorb air pollutants

Where all else seems to fail or no improvement is evident, keep a bottle of water handy for those moments of dehydration

All of the tips and advice offered here is for guidance only, a starting point if you will, each workplace will of course be different, leadership and management styles will also differ. It should not stop you though from raising the above as issues if they are having an adverse affect of your performance or most importantly on your health.