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How to stay sane and productive in a noisy office.

How to stay sane and productive in a noisy office

Open office plans, long thought to foster creativity and communication in workplace, have been getting a critical look recently. At The New Yorker Maria Konnikova posts a fresh round of criticisms:

The psychologist Nick Perham, who studies the effect of sound on how we think, has found that office commotion impairs workers’ ability to recall information, and even to do basic arithmetic. Listening to music to block out the office intrusion doesn’t help: even that, Perham found, impairs our mental acuity. Exposure to noise in an office may also take a toll on the health of employees. In a study by the Cornell University psychologists Gary Evans and Dana Johnson, clerical workers who were exposed to open-office noise for three hours had increased levels of epinephrine—a hormone that we often call adrenaline, associated with the so-called fight-or-flight response. What’s more, Evans and Johnson discovered that people in noisy environments made fewer ergonomic adjustments than they would in private, causing increased physical strain. The subjects subsequently attempted to solve fewer puzzles than they had after working in a quiet environment; in other words, they became less motivated and less creative.

How to cope with the noise and stress.

Workers and researches  are finding solutions to these problems. Continue reading

Video: How to avoid eyes strain when working in front of a computer all day.

If your eyes burn, neck aches or vision blurs by the end of the work day, you are suffering from eye strain. Computer-related eye strain is a pretty common workplace complaint. Luckily, eye strain also pretty easy to remedy. This CNET video offers some pretty great tips on improving the workplace ergonomics and reducing eye strain. Most of them involve making a few free, easy changes to your workstation. But there are a few things can help you with. These inexpensive office supplies will help you reduce eyestrain while you work.

 Ledu Computer Task Lamp at On Time Supplies

Desk Lamps: reduce eye strain with indirect lighting.

Harsh overhead lights aggravate eye strain. Instead, position a desk lamp next to your computer for gentler indirect light. Check out our buying guide for more information on choosing a desk lamp.

 Kantek Monitor Stand at On Time Supplies

Monitor Stands: reduce eye strain with optimal computer monitor placement.

The top of your computer monitor should be at eye level. If your monitor is too low, use a monitor riser or two to raise to the optimal height. FYI: you’ll find a great post on improving the ergonomics in the workplace at the Knowledge Base.

 Innovera® Antiglare Protective Monitor Filter at On Time Supplies

Monitor Filters: reduce eye strain by muting back lighting & glare.

The CNET vid actually recommends yellow-tinted glasses. But who wants to go to work looking like a 90’s era boy band reject? Unless you work for Lou Pearlman, use a monitor filter to mute the harsh back light of your computer screen and reduce reflected glare. Get tips on choosing the best filter for your computer screen at the Knowledge Base.

 Kensington® InSight® Adjustable Book/Copyholder at On Time Supplies

Copyholders: reduce eye strain with properly position reading.

Use a copyholder to position your your reading material should be upright and adjacent to your computer monitor.

Source: CNETTV

How to find the perfect ergonomic desk chair height.

Shop the ergonomic office chairs at

Improving the “fit” of your office chair is an easy way to improve the ergonomics of your work place. Generally, advice on finding the perfect ergonomic office chair height involves a lot of talk about inches and angles. A good adjustable office chair prevents discomfort and injury, and improves productivity, but who wants to break out a tape measure and protractor just to sit in your office chair?

No one. that’s why I love this graphic from the American Chiropractic Association illustrating the easiest way to measure the ideal ergonomic desk chair height. Adjust your chair so the seat is level with your knees and you’re done.

How to find the perfect ergonomic desk chair height

Use theses tips to get the full benefit of your ergonomic desk chair.

Source: Apartment Therapy, h/t LifeHacker

Best Indoor & Outdoor Floor Mats for Winter Weather.


The combination of melting snow and rock salt tracked into your business during the winter months destroys floor finishes, and present a significant safety hazard. Protect your floors and prevent slips and falls by using both indoor and outdoor floor mats. The two-part system will stop moisture and salt from turning your floors into an unsightly safety hazard.

Best Outdoor Floor Mat Styles

Choose an abrasive floor mat made from rubber or polypropylene for outdoors. The abrasive finish will wick away moisture and debris, while the durable materials will make sure your mat lasts through the winter.

Best Indoor Floor Mat Styles.

Indoor floor mats back up outdoor mats. They absorb moisture from shoes and wick away fine debris. Olefin and polypropylene floor mats perform these tasks the best.

Check out the buying guide at for more information on floor mats.

Survive the office air conditioner war: what to do when the indoor temperature is too cold to work.

The dog days of summer are here. It’s feels like it’s 105° outside, but about 30° in your office. Here are 5 tips that will keep you from freezing to death under the office air conditioner.

1. Dress for the cool temperature of your office, not the weather outside.

When you’re on the loosing side of the office air conditioner wars, it’s important to for the office, instead of the hot summer weather outside. That way, you won’t freeze to death under an AC unit cranked up to 11. Keep a comfy scarf or sweater in your office, and dress in  easy-to-remove layers. However, you don’t want your work area to look like the inside of teenager’s closet, so hang the extra clothing on inexpensive coat hooks.

2. Have a nice cup of tea.

Nothing wards off the chill of the AC like a hot cup of tea. Plus, tea boosts the immune system. Drink up and avoid your yearly summer cold.

3. Move around.

A cold office is especially rough on people with sedentary jobs. If you sit at a computer all day, get up and walk around a few times a day to warm up your muscles.

4. Get a space heater.

If the quick and easy remedies don’t provide any relief, it may be worth it to invest in a space heater if your office allows them. There are tons of energy-efficient space heaters on the market today that are small enough to fit under your desk. Check out the electric space heater guide at for tips on choosing the best heater for your office.

5. Use a desk fan.

Maybe you’ve got the opposite problem. Maybe your office manager is immune to charm, bribery and the unsightly sweat stains on your shirt, and just won’t turn the thermostat down and the air conditioner up. Time to invest in a desk fan. Today’s options are powerful, quiet and inexpensive.

If you have any tips on surviving the summer office air conditioner wars, we want to hear them! Leave your suggestions in the comments or connect with us on Facebook.

Every office worker needs a good office chair with lower back support.

The new Weekly Deals at continue to make your workday run a little smoother. We’ve talked about the importance of a good, supportive office chair before here at Smart Office, but I can’t emphasize the point enough!

I’m writing from personal experience. A few months ago, I was diagnosed with a herniated disk. For a few weeks, standing, walking and reclining were difficult and painful activities, but the worst was sitting. My lower back and leg would scream in agony anytime I sat in a chair that didn’t provide adequate support. There’s no way in the world I could do my job, which entails sitting in front of a computer all day, if I didn’t have a great office chair. Every office worker needs on office chair that promotes proper posture with good lumbar support and is fully adjustable. This week, makes it more affordable than ever to get a good office chair. For one week only, you can snap up a contemporary, ergonomic Mayline office chair at more than 50% off!

First up are two executive office chairs. Both chairs are upholstered in genuine leather and feature deep cushions and sculpted padding for superior lower back support. Both the burgundy and black leather office chairs work beautifully with any office decor!

The third discount office chair on sale this week at is a great black office task chair. This Mayline task chair features a fully adjustable footrest and a unique tractor-style seat that reduces pressure on the thighs. The Mayline office task chair is also a great back support chair, thanks to the inflatable lumber support cushion that provides truly customized lower back support!

Thanks to this week’s office chair deals at, there’s never been a better time to get the attractive, comfortable and supportive office chair you need! Be sure to check out every week for more discount office supplies and office furniture.

So, What Exactly Does “Ergonomic” Mean Anyway?


Ergonomic is a huge buzzword in office supplies, and with the word being used to sell every thing from office chairs to correction tapes, it can be a little hard to take the concept seriously.

Ergonomics is not [just] a marketing ploy, it’s a science — one that’s been around since the 1800s and concerned with designing work spaces and tools to be safe, comfortable and easy to use. Ergonomic designs prevent repetitive use injuries, that buggaboo to office workers every where.

While  ergonomically designed office supplies such as corrections tapes are great, but unless you wield them all day, you should focus on ergonomically designed office furniture and workstations to improve your comfort and safety in the office.

As one who once ended many a work days with lower back pain, I recommend that you first invest in a good office or task chair. You need a chair that provides lumbar support, and holds you back and knees at a 90° angle to the seat.  Your feet should sit flat on the floor. If you’re on the short side, use a footrest.

Desk stands can help your complete the ergonomic design of your workstation. For example, our arms should be at a 90° angle and your wrists straight when you use your keyboard. You can use a keyboard stand and wrist wrests if your keyboard sits too low. Moniter stands, telephone stands and laptop stands can all make your work area more comfortable.

Once you’ve made these changes to your office, you’ll really notice a difference! You should experience fewer headaches and less muscle and joint pain.

Article: Better Posture Means More Energy at Work

The always-darling folks over at LifeHacker have linked me to an interesting article that says that, among other things, slouching or otherwise holding poor posture can deprive the body of up to 30% of its oxygen.

Next time you you’re feeling a little down in the dumps or need a little boost at work, check to see if your chin is up and your shoulders are back (or try other methods to fix your PC posture). It could mean the difference between making your workday frumpy or fabulous.

Check out the rest of the energy saving tips from Real Simple, and of course, thanks as always to LifeHacker.

Opinion: Skip the Black Friday Mess by Shopping Online

We all know Black Friday (the day after Thanksgiving, long-held to be one of the best times to get great deals) is almost upon us. I’ve always had a bit of a problem with this tradition, though, and it boils down to one statement: “PEOPLE ARE FREAKING CRAZY.”

You might remember the Wal-Mart worker who was trampled to death during a Black Friday “doorbuster” rush. Maybe you chuckled over people physically fighting each other over the last Xbox 360. All in all, it seems our deal-hunting culture sometimes trumps our common sense.

So here’s an idea: why not stay home? Find yourself a nice cozy computer and cuddle up with some every-day great deals from your favorite office supply company. All of the major office big-box stores are going to try to tempt you with dubious deals to get you in the store on a chilly November morning. Either you camp out in the cold to save a couple bucks on pens, or heaven forbid show up late to find all the good stuff cleaned out, and resign to pay their overinflated prices on regular goods so you don’t feel like you “wasted a trip.” I say SKIP IT.

How does reliable service, huge inventory, and free shipping on orders over $75 sound? It just so happens I know some guys…