Work Environment Matters | Focus Four — When you can’t control it

Effective Faith
4 min readNov 27, 2023

In my past few posts, we have considered our working environment. The place we go to get things done. We’ve considered why it matters — because this kind of basic stuff undergirds and supports everything. The best productivity system and carefully considered plan can be rent asunder by a chair that causes severe back pain. We’ve thought about optimising our workstation, optimising our general environment and area and reducing distraction. But that is all well and good. That all assumes that we can actually influence these things. This brings me to Work Environment Matters | Focus Four — When you can’t control it.

Sometimes, things are beyond our control

The cold, hard reality of working life is that sometimes we just cannot control these things. We are limited by our budget, by our physical space available and of course by the policies and hierarchy of our company or organisation.

Some times, it can seem like we just have no control. In reality this isn’t true and so I offer some wisdom today. There are three things that you can do.

Be creative in changing what you can

The first is to make whatever changes that you can and to be creative about it. For example, you can buy a lamp to control the lighting or you can wear headphones playing music or use one of those websites that will accurately re-create the background noise of coffee shop for you. I’ve tried this and it is actually quite good.

Bigger things like changing your desk or chair are harder to achieve but even in big open plan offices, talking with your boss or office manager can yield results if things are really problematic for you. I’ve worked in Health & Safety within an organisation a few times and your employer has a duty of care to your welfare here. If your request is reasonable and prevents significant discomfort or pain, many bosses can be quite reasonable about it themselves.

How can you adapt to your environment?

The second thing that you can do is to train yourself to adapt to your environment for the purposes of doing focussed work. I don’t just mean toughen up, make do, get on and stop…



Effective Faith

How to live effectively as a Christian in the 21st Century