Every business wants to have a more productive work environment. Here’s a gallery of the key elements that can help you achieve that goal.
The productivity of your office is influenced by a number of elements – team dynamics, the effectiveness of your managers, the right equipment, and more. But many studies have been done that show that a key element of the productivity of your staff is the space they work in.
Think about this – if your staff are uncomfortable in their surroundings, do you think they’d be more or less productive?
Comfortable is obviously best, for a variety of reasons. But what is it about the space that affects productivity and what can you change to help increase productivity? We’ve highlighted some key elements to focus on.
If your office is using an open plan setup you’re already putting people in each other’s space. But if the actual size of the room is too small, people will feel overcrowded and claustrophobic. Even the most extroverted person needs their space. A good case study for this is looking at Triangle Pest Control, a US based company, who experienced a positive impact on productivity after expanding their office size. It’s also important to note that as you grow and add more people it’s key to ensure the size of your space grows with you. If you’re looking to make a change to your office we recommend doing a needs analysis to determine the amount of space that will help your staff feel more comfortable.
One of the biggest factors that affects productivity in an office is being comfortable! For example, someone who has an uncomfortable chair will get up a lot, probably walk around the office, chatting to other staff. Now, not only is that person not working but they’re distracting someone else. If someone feels comfortable at their workstation, they won’t feel the need to get up as much, and are comfortable enough to put their head down and get their work done.
It’s also important to make sure that your staff have the right kind of furniture for their job function. For example, you wouldn’t put an accountant, who needs lots of desk space and storage, in a small, compact workstation. Good furniture is always a worthy investment – ergonomics even more so. Studies show that ergonomics in the workplace improves productivity and employee engagement, as well as reducing costs.
Your staff more than likely spend the majority of their day in a closed office with very little natural light – their eyes always on the artificial backlight of their computers, surrounded by fluorescent lighting. A study done by the Centre for Performance at Work shows that poor lighting has a very negative effect, not only on people’s productivity, but their health too. Customising lighting to an individual’s needs with mood lighting or adding more natural light into your office can increase productivity, reduce anxiety, and increase concentration.
The way your lighting is laid out is vital too. If your lighting is designed for the specific work function of the space it’s easier for people to work and be productive in the space. For example, ambient lighting is suitable for social and transition areas, while task lighting is better suited to working areas.
Each individual is different, some work better with background noise, while others need quiet to work. Either way, noise in an office is a major contributor to a decrease in productivity. So, creating a noise free area for people to go or adding elements to the room to reduce noise can help increase productivity. For instance, dense plant life reduces noise pollution.
Chaos restricts your ability to focus. A study done by the Princeton University Neuroscience Institute found that clutter negatively affects your ability to process information. The study looks at how clutter competes for your attention and pulls your focus away from what you need to be doing. Also, when a workspace is cluttered you can’t find what you’re looking for which leads to frustration, not to mention time wasted looking for what you want. Assessing the storage needs of your staff and adding the right kind of storage, as well as determining the most effective filing system to suit the work function, can help increase productivity in your office.
At the end of the day, optimising your office space to encourage a positive work environment – whether it’s finding a bigger office space or changing the furniture – will help increase productivity and ultimately staff retention.