When I was an accountant, I became used to working in trying conditions at clients’ offices but I was always aware that I did not do my best work if that environment was anything less than comfortable for me. My personal benchmark is that I should not be aware of anything which takes my concentration away from the focus of my attention.
So I don’t want to be too hot or too cold or seated in a way which makes me aware of any element of my posture, too high, too low, not enough legroom. I want to be wearing clothes I can’t feel, nothing restrictive, and I don’t want my hair to be annoying on my face, so regular haircuts even become essential to my best work.
The desk must be at the right height and the chair must be able to move position and not have arms. And I need excellent light, preferably natural daylight. I really want all the surfaces cleared so I am only concentrating on one thing at once. I’m relatively sensitive to noise, builders next door, the boiler and so on. And I’m not fussy. No, honestly, I’m not!
What are your minimum conditions for comfort? What do you need and what do you want, two quite different questions take note. Have you ever considered this? Do you take time to make sure you have these needs met, or do you over-ride them all the time and then have to cope with the fallout? Maybe now’s the time to draw up a list so that you can get as many of your practical needs met a.s.a.p.
I want to encourage you this week to be thinking about (and then, of course, doing something about) your physical circumstances while you are working. Then we can start busting some tolerations which just drain energy as you step over or around that cardboard box again or you keep meaning to get yourself a decent chair or an extension socket.
Later this might give rise to debate about other circumstances at work, like what behaviours you are tolerating in your clients, colleagues and staff which also make your environment less than optimum, but for the moment, let’s just keep it simple. Ask yourself these questions, and see what comes up. Let me know what you find.