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Linda Trim From Giant Leap On Making Your Office Work For You

Ergonomics is so much more than your chair. Linda Trim from Giant Leap explains how the right office space will boost your company’s – and your – productivity and happiness.

Tracy Lee Nicol




Vital Stats

  • Player: Linda Trim
  • Company: Giant Leap
  • Position: Director of sales and marketing
  • What they do: Office design (workplace specialists) for a better place to work, and think

On office space and productivity

We’ve built our brand and company culture on ‘workstyle’, a twist on lifestyle. The first eight hours of your day are very important, so workstyle is about providing people with an office and tools that help them have a balanced and productive day.

When people enjoy being at work, you will retain the best for longer, they’re more productive and talk proudly of your brand.

We-recommend-tickWe recommend: Optimise your Work Space

On making open plan work

We have a mix of open plan, collaborative and quiet spaces, as modern offices need to be flexible.

Open plan can be disruptive and because we’re collaborative by nature, we have a flag system to signal when someone is not to be disturbed, and if a discussion is needed it’s taken to the collaborative zone.

Private phone calls are taken in our sound-proof phone booth, and if you need to chill out for 20 minutes or need privacy for work, we also have spaces for that.

On lunch breaks

Our company rule is that no one is allowed to eat lunch at their desk – it’s unhygienic and discourages mingling among staff. I tend to take a short walk to the shops for fresh air and exercise, and then I interact with staff in the canteen.

There you learn about their lives, what they’re working on, any work problems, and interact with people you ordinarily don’t speak to. This all lends to a happy, energised workspace.

What do you wish people would realise about ergonomics?

It’s not just about the chair you sit in, it’s your whole environment working together to create a comfortable space geared for work: Acoustic ceiling tiles, correct lighting, comfortable desks and chairs, the right office equipment nearby, departments that work together situated in close proximity to one another, proper ventilation, pleasing colours and textures.

Giant-LeapWhat separates a ‘cool’ office from a functional one?

Functionality is more important than the cool factor, as it’s functionality that fosters productivity.

A great office is first and foremost about understanding the company’s function, designing for that, and then promoting wellness and comfort.

We-recommend-tickWe recommend: 5 Inexpensive Workspace Improvements That Boost Productivity

How do you maintain your productivity daily?

I have a to-do list and a plan made at the end of every work day so that I can switch off at home, and when I arrive at the office I know what’s important. I always do the things I have to do but don’t really enjoy, first.

I exercise every morning before work, and that energises me for most of the day. When I feel myself losing momentum, I take 30 minutes to sit in our quiet room and practice mindfulness.

I have an app that’s really helpful! After that I often feel as energised as I did in the morning.

What is meditation for you?

For me, it’s really about taking ten to fifteen minutes to clear my mind of all thoughts, and to concentrate on breathing.

I take a Feldenkrais class to learn how to breathe properly for relaxation, energising, and so on.

For example, practice breathing in through your mouth and out through your nose and note its effect on you.

On slowing down

I’ve just read a book called The Slow Fix, by Carl Honoré and it’s about the philosophy of slowing down in order to arrive at better decisions and solutions.

When you push, push, push constantly, you often get a short-term fix rather than the best result. When I catch myself becoming rushed or distracted, I pull myself back and focus on the one important thing that needs completing.

We-recommend-tickWe recommend: How To Have A Website That Works Hard For You

On getting exercise in

Exercise invigorates me mentally, it energises me, and also relaxes me after a busy day. I treat it in the same way I do appointments: I have fitness gurus for everything and I make appointments with them religiously.

That way, they can think for me, can push my boundaries, and I can’t just skip it because I don’t feel like it.

Tracy-Lee Nicol is an experienced business writer and magazine editor. She was awarded a Masters degree with distinction from Rhodes university in 2010, and in the time since has honed her business acumen and writing skills profiling some of South Africa's most successful entrepreneurs, CEOs, franchisees and franchisors.Find her on Google+.


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