How much do you think about your work environment on a daily basis? If you’re like most people, it’s kind of blended into the background. You’re so used to it that you don’t think about it actively – and you don’t have any conception of how it could be better.

But the reality is, your work environment could be actively hurting your productivity, stifling you and preventing you from achieving your true potential. But how do these effects manifest and what can you do about them?

How Your Environment Impacts Your Productivity

Let’s start by outlining some of the most significant ways your environment can affect your productivity:

· Physical impact. Sitting in an uncomfortable chair can distract you throughout the day. Even worse, it can result in poor posture, leading to a lifetime of chronic pain. Similarly, if your desk isn’t at the right height or if your other furniture is in the way, it can wreak havoc on your productive potential.

·         Tech and productive limits. Sometimes, your technology is limiting. If your computer is slow or unreliable, it can double, or even triple the amount of time it takes to accomplish the most basic tasks.

·         Noise and music. For most of us, a little bit of background noise or music is a good thing. But if the noise is loud and distracting, or if the music is uneven, it will do more harm than good.

Lighting and visibility. Good lighting can instantly make an environment more stimulating – and allow your eyes to focus on what matters most.

Stress and motivation. There are also subtler factors at play. Even small aesthetic choices, like the colors of the walls, can affect your levels of stress and motivation. Sometimes, even a small, hardly noticeable change in your environment can instantly make you feel better.

What Next?

So what can you do to change your environment and boost your productivity?

Identify your key stressors. Your first job is to identify the key stressors in your environment. It may be hard to pinpoint them since you’re used to dealing with them every day, but chances are, there are at least some environmental factors that negatively affect you. For example, is your desk a little too tall? Is your office a little too noisy? Make a list.

Upgrade the furniture. Next, find a reliable online store to buy high-quality office furniture. Upgrading your desk, your chair, and even your bookshelves can make a massive difference in how you’re able to work. You’ll be able to hold good posture for a longer period of time and remain comfortable even during the most strenuous times. It’s a big upfront investment, but it will quickly pay for itself with your boost in productivity.

Upgrade your tech. How old is your computer? If it’s more than a few years old, it might be time to consider an upgrade. A faster processor, more RAM, and better screen resolution (plus extra new features) can completely change the way you work – for the better. Again, this is an investment that could set you back a few hundred to a few thousand dollars, but it will be worth it if it means significantly increasing your output.

Find a way to relieve stress. Even in a hypothetically perfect work environment, you’re going to experience stress. In small doses, stress can actually be a good thing, but you’ll still need a healthy way to manage that stress. Work to incorporate new stress-relieving exercises into your office and your routine; for example, can you hang up a punching bag or keep a guitar nearby for when you need a moment away from answering emails?

Experiment and measure. Keep making new tweaks to your office environment and measure your productivity. Keep a journal to track your changes in mood and try to objectively measure your output as well. Are these new changes significantly improving your work experience and productivity? Or are you remaining stagnant?

Switch things up. Even after you find the “perfect” work environment, proven by the metrics you’ve gathered, it’s a good idea to change things up from time to time. That could mean something simple, like rearranging the furniture or temporarily relocating to a new work environment (like working in a café). Whatever you do, the change will help you think in new ways and feel intellectually stimulated.

A few simple changes to your work environment can make a drastic difference in your attitude, your performance, and even your physical wellbeing. This is a topic to take seriously – and one that can have a lasting impact on your career, for better or for worse.