Softnami
Author: Hussain Mir Ali

I am interested in web and mobile technologies.

If you have any questions or feedback then message me at devtips@softnami.com.

Progressive Work Environment for Productivity

The software engineering industry has largely been profitable due to the creativity and hard work of individual contributors. The top companies make huge profits for every employee for instance Facebook makes USD 634,694 according to this post. So It is in the best interest of these companies to keep their engineers in progressive environments for maximum productivity and longer retention of talent. Even if productivity is not highly valued then the physical and mental health of the software engineers should be paramount to prevent attrition and bad press. But some companies don't value software engineers as much or are not cognizant of issues with workplace ergonomics which results in a sub-optimal or even a stress-inducing environment. So software engineers can use this blueprint to either persuade the management for a better work environment or transform their environments for best productivity.

Lighting

Lighting in the work environment plays a crucial role in developer productivity. The light temperature is the most important factor in creating a progressive environment that prevents eye fatigue and lightens up the mood of the work environment. These days LEDs are being used in the offices and the color temperature of the lights can be varied depending on the weather and time of the day. A 5800K light source is very close to the Sun's color temperature and this will light up the office space very well and create a lively environment even during cloudy days or during winters. Alternatively, different rooms in the office space can have different lighting temperatures for mood-setting according to this article. Multiple LEDs of different color temperatures can also be used to create the ideal color temperature in the office. In addition to artificial lighting, a good amount of natural sunlight in the work environment improves the subjective mood, attention, cognitive performance, physical activity, sleep quality, and alertness according to this research paper.

Desk

A cluttered desk creates frustration and feels overwhelming when developers are required to work intensely for long hours. According to CallDrip disorganized workspace can lead to financial losses for a company equivalent to 10% of a manager's salary. So the work desk needs to be wide enough to keep peripherals, paperwork, personal items and have appropriate cable management to prevent cluttering the space. Additionally, the table ought to be height adjustable so that the developer can use it as a standing desk and this would allow them to move their body much often compared to always sitting. Read this article to further understand the pros and cons of using a standing desk. In terms of the color of the desk its best to keep it in the lighter colors so that any items can be found quickly at a glance.

Chair

Because software engineering involves sedentary work it helps to have comfortable and appropriate seating for long-term health. The back and lumbar are key areas of human anatomy that need to be taken care of in the long-term. Ergonomic chairs should have lumbar support to maintain the natural lower back curve. In addition to lumbar support, chairs ought to have back support that is separate from the lumbar support. Armrests provide support for the arms so that one doesn't always have to extend and put the arms on the table. Last but not least is neck support which will help in maintaining a relaxed posture for long sedentary work. If you choose to explore more types of chairs for your office space then you can read this article.

Flora

Adding plants and plant fixtures to the office space can make it more lively and relaxing for software developers. According to this research paper, the plants have both physiological and environmental effects. And according to the Biophilia Hypothesis humans are genetically predisposed to be attracted to nature. These days the techniques of Biophilic design bring nature into indoor spaces.

Keyboard and Mouse

Mechanical keyboards have become the standard in the industry. They have different switches based on their typing response. There are mainly three types of switches tactile, linear, and clicky. The CherryMX switches have different switch types as a combination of different types of basic switches. For software engineers, linear switches or CherryMX red are gentler on the fingers. To prevent carpal tunnel compression keyboards ought to have palm rests. And depending on the use case the keyboards can either be 60%, 75%, TKL, and full-size form factors. These sizes can be explored in much more detail in this article. Depending on the lighting conditions backlit keys can be useful.

Mouse is a crucial tool for any software engineer because there is always a need to edit and scroll large code files. There are three grip types claw, palm, and fingertip. Each grip type has a specific use case or it can also depend on the preference of the user. You can find out more about different mouse grips in this article. The palm grip is the most comfortable one and could provide the best performance. To prevent carpal tunnel compression a separate palm-rest should be used. Otherwise, a vertical ergonomic mouse can be used to change the angle of the arm and avoid carpal tunnel compression.