Productivity is a fickle little thing and if you’re not careful, one bad decision can ruin all your efforts of making your workplace a thriving, fruitful community. Everything, including your office design, has to create an optimal atmosphere for getting work done, and dim, cluttered spaces certainly won’t cut it. But there is more to it than just keeping the space neat and organized. Studies have shown that many other factors matter – and they affect not only how productive you are but also your health and well-being. So let’s see some of the factors of office design that are related to the productivity of employees.
Office design plan
Several studies concluded that the layout of the office is of the essence. However, the tricky part is that the “best” office plan varies from company to company. You have to weigh your objectives, priorities, your company culture and a slew of other factors when deciding on the layout. If work in your office requires a lot of communication among your employees on a daily basis, your company might benefit from having an open floor plan that encourages teamwork. On the other hand, for companies where employees have to focus in order not to make mistakes in their work, the same plan would drive everyone mad, not to mention completely diminish productivity and ultimately be detrimental to the whole business. Thus, you have to think carefully about what the needs of your business and your employees are and plan accordingly.
Noise and lighting
There are some things you can control about your office, and there are some you simply can’t. Noise is a serious detrimental factor to productivity and morale. If your office has been blessed by being located in a quiet neighborhood, outside noise is not a problem for you. If not, however, you might want to turn to some soundproofing solutions to reduce the distraction the surrounding traffic or nearby construction work creates. Noise-canceling headphones work well too, also for those employees who share their workspace but are distracted by others talking etc. As for lighting, it’s another one of the top three environmental factors affecting productivity. Natural light is, of course, the best since it has a positive effect on mood, resulting in better productivity. If you don’t have plenty of that, you can make up for it with appropriate (preferably layered) artificial lights to keep your employees awake and alert.
The comfort of your employees is another major factor that affects their productivity levels – and also health. Palm rests and screen support for those working on the computer will prevent pain in their neck and wrists, so the morale remains high in the office. Even more importantly, ergonomic desks and chairs are essential in preventing back pain and all the health consequences it will bring. Nothing diminishes productivity like an aching back, and finding quality office chairs in Sydney, New York, or anywhere else in the world is a walk in the park, so don’t skip this step. Moreover, a designated place with comfortable furniture such as sofas or lazy bags where employees can take a break and relax can also give them a boost. Lounging for a couple of minutes and taking their mind off work and their eyes off screen will renew their energy supplies to finish their tasks.
One of the most frustrating things in an office is old, malfunctioning equipment. Having to spend ten minutes getting the printer to work or waiting for a page to load not only slows down your employees but it’s also annoying and will destroy the creative mood they were in and disrupt their workflow. Invest in up-to-date, high-quality equipment if you want to prevent this from taking a toll on your business’s productivity. Something as little as faster Wi-Fi will do wonders, but it’s also possible you’ll need to make a bigger investment, such as buying new laptops better suited to what your employees do.
Embracing biophilic design
An all-around approach that should be considered by all business owners is implementing elements of biophilic design into their offices. Basically, all of the aforementioned positive changes, including plenty of light and ergonomic furniture are important elements of biophilia, but there are so many more fronts on which you could take advantage of this nature-centric approach and give a boost to your employees’ productivity. If your office has not been blessed by a scenic view (let’s face it, few have), it is your job to bring nature in and elevate the mood. Green office spaces “generate physiological responses such as increased brain activity and lower stress hormones”, so it’s more than clear that a couple of potted plants or, if you want to go big, a living wall or a green roof can double productivity if implemented right. Don’t underestimate the power of nature and humans’ connection to it.
In today’s competitive market, employers need to make the most of what they have in order to stay afloat. Maximizing productivity in your workplace through office design is not a huge investment, but it will hugely reflect on how your business is doing. Takes these pieces of advice and your office productivity will soon thrive.