5 Scientifically Supported Ways To Boost Your Productivity In The Workplace


5 Scientifically Supported Ways To Boost Your Productivity In The Workplace

There is no shortage of productivity boosting tips available, ranging from those which are easy to implement (e.g. to-do lists) to those which are difficult to get away with (e.g. taking a nap under your desk).

The key question is which of these tips are proven to work? This article lists five tips which are strongly supported by research to improve your productivity in the office.


Office work is characterized by prolonged and uninterrupted sitting time. This can result in not only physical, but also cognitive fatigue which poses a threat to your productivity levels. Walking is the best way to smash through this fatigue and boost your creativity. The best part is, you will receive benefits regardless of how long you walk for.

Introducing 5-minute bursts of moderate intensity walking into your routine will improve productivity, energy levels, mood, and cognitive performance[1]. It requires no skill and can be performed at any time within your office without sacrificing your break time – all you have to do is get up and walk around your office building.

If you’re finding it difficult to solve a problem or are starting to feel a mid-afternoon slump, take longer walks during your lunch break. This will improve your creativity by up to 60%, enabling you to come back to the problem re – energized and with a more innovative mindset[2].

2.Avoid Multi-Tasking When Possible

Multi-tasking is common in today’s workplace and has become more prevalent as the role of technology in work has increased. However, multi-tasking also reduces your productivity. It has been found to increase your stress levels, error rates, memory lapses, and time taken to complete tasks. Where possible, your cognitive resources should be directed toward one main task to ensure you maximize your productivity and quality of work[3].

3.Set High Goals Which Are Achievable

Goal setting is linked to improved productivity, with research suggesting that setting high goals facilitates higher productivity than setting low goals. However, these increases in productivity can only be maintained if your goals are achieved, so setting unrealistically high goals and not attaining them will not be helpful[4].

4.Create a Pleasant Working Space

Plants are a popular addition to any home and office, and most would agree they provide aesthetic benefits to any building. However, research has also found that offices which include plants as part of their interior design are significantly more productive[5].

Even assuming you can’t contribute to the office design, creating a pleasant working space at your desk is an easy way to improve your productivity.

5.Listening to Music

Listening to music can boost your productivity– but only under certain circumstances. Music with lyrics can decrease productivity and attention, as the listener gives more attention to the lyrical content than their work task[6]. To capture productivity increases, you should select music you are familiar with, or music known to be good ‘background music’ – classical is one commonly cited example.


Next time you are stuck in a rut or feeling uninspired at work, consider these tips to boost your productivity levels. You can be sure they are proven to work and easy to implement in any office.


[1] Bergouignan, A., Legget, K.T., De Jong, N., Kealey, E., Nikolovski, J., Groppel, J.L., … Bessesen, D.H. (2016). Effect of frequent interruptions of prolonged sitting on self-perceived levels of energy, mood, food craving and cognitive function. International Journal of Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity, 13(113). DOI: 10.1186/s15966-016-0437-z
[2] Oppezzo, M., & Schwartz, D. (2014). Give Your Ideas Some Legs: The Positive Effect of Walking on Creative Thinking. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory, and Cognition, 40(4), 1142-1152. DOI: 10.1037/a0036577
[3] Douglas, H.E., Raban, M.Z., Walter, S.R., & Westbrook, J.I. (2017). Improving our understanding of multi-tasking in healthcare: Drawing together the cognitive psychology and healthcare literature. Applied Ergonomics, 59(A), 45-55. DOI: 10.1016/j.apergo.2016.08.021
[4] Tammemagi, T., O’Hora, D., & Maglieri, K.A. (2013). The Effects of a Goal Setting Intervention on Productivity and Persistence in an Analogue Work Task. Journal of Organizational Behaviour and Management, 33(1), 31-54. DOI: 10.1080/01608061.2013.758001
[5] Nieuwenhuis, M., Knight, C., Postmes, T., Haslam, A.S. (2014). The Relative Benefits of Green Versus Lean Office Space: Three Field Experiments. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Applied, 20(3), 199-214. DOI: 10.1037/xap0000024
[6] Shih, Y., Huan, R., & Chiang, H. (2012). Background music: effects on attention performance. Work, 42(4), 573-8. DOI: 10.3233/WOR-2012-1410

Michael Mancinone

Master of Organisational Psychology

With a Master of Industrial & Organisational Psychology and past operational experience within enterprise, SME and NGO organisations, Michael will be well positioned to offer insights and advice on how to maximise your people capital.

Most importantly, he has an absolute passion for assisting management teams to deal with workplace stress issues and the effective management of Millennials; two of the most pressing concerns we have identified facing management today.

If you would like to arrange for Michael to review your current people capital processes and strategies please email michael@peoplogica.com with your contact details.


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