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Why Did You Move the Trash Can!?




One of the most powerful inputs we can have is intention. This is also true in the way we design and impact the layout of our office at work. Without considering it, you have already used intention to place all of the objects around your desk. There is a reason the computer takes up the majority of space and various small objects are littered all around. We predominantly use that which is directly in front of us and as we reach the periphery of the desk we use those items less and less. This is true for the intention of getting work done, but what if we look at other intentions for this design. In terms of being intended for eating food, it is lacking. The truth is many of us do eat at our desks, but we all hate the crumbs on the keyboard and the dreaded coffee spill on our documents. Going further, what is the intention of our desk setup in terms of movement?


The simple answer, not great. Desks are meant for stationary work. Our posture is supported and we do not have to regulate it since the tasks are mentally driven. This brings us to a hugely impactful tool for your health and productivity: Rearranging your work environment with increased intention of movement. There is an obvious give and take with these decisions. We cannot completely sacrifice efficient workflow for movement, meaning you cannot do a CrossFit workout while trying to send emails. There are many small tweaks we can make, such as standing for your video calls, which requires a sit-stand desk, a pile of books, or even turning off your camera and only using the microphone. You can also position your chair so that you can easily stand up without having to maneuver past filing cabinets or wires.


A great exercise for checking your intention with office design is where you place your trash can. Most office layouts position it directly under the desk. This is the most limiting for movement when going to throw something away. Placing it on the outside of the desk, requires you to shift or lean slightly to throw something away. This means more movement. Putting it on the other side of the room and attempting to make free throws gives you the wonderful opportunity to stand up and walk every time you miss. If you have many things to throw away and you are not especially skilled at basketball, like myself, this option is ineffective as it interrupts workflow. This is the part where you can tweak and adapt various parts of your office as best fitting for you. Remember that the intention is to strike a balance between effective workflow and increased movement. Now go move that trash can!


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