In recent years there has been an emerging interest in the correlation between office design and staff productivity.
The evidence is irrefutable: happy and inspired employees make for a more productive workforce. More and more companies are tapping this invaluable information and are taking action to ensure employees are able to concentrate for longer.
Also, an increasing number of businesses are relocating their offices, or redeveloping their existing office space, to produce a working environment that is more conducive to working more productively.
There are plenty of ways you can improve your staff’s performance by creating the ideal working space; here are 10 ways to increase productivity and business growth through office design.
Create private spaces
The environment around them increasingly hampers office workers, and this is a particular problem in open-plan offices. Gensler’s 2016 survey found that many open plan environments were not optimally designed and didn’t offer alternative workspaces.
It found that innovation was strongly connected with access to a range of spaces that supported different working styles. So try to provide some private spaces in open plan offices and watch productivity take off.
Find the best room temperature
The temperature of your office has a huge impact on staff productivity. The ideal temperature range is between 21-22ºC. Humidity and airflow must also be considered to optimise health and performance.
Allow staff some personal control over the thermostat since studies have concluded that workstations with advanced thermal controls can increase productivity by 2.8 per cent. Also try to install some windows that open.
Add some nature to the office
Research shows that having real plants in your office makes employees more productive, happier and less stressed. Even just one plant per workspace can reduce stress and anxiety while enhancing creativity and improving air quality in the building.
At the very least, display pictures of the outdoor world or encourage staff to use natural scenes as screensavers or desktop wallpaper.
Utilise natural light
Daylight helps people regulate circadian rhythms, our in-built wake/sleep cycle. Therefore, it’s best to design a floor plan that allows for maximum natural light to infiltrate the building.
Where window space is limited try and use skylights or ensure that enclosed spaces are located at the core of the building while shared spaces have access to windows. Glass partitions can also help.
Control noise levels
Noise tolerance is a very individual issue: some people can happily work in an open plan office, whereas others find the slightest sound a huge distraction.
There are some solutions such as providing adequate private spaces and ‘quiet rooms’ that can be reserved by staff. Noise-cancelling headphones are another option.
Vary sensory stimulation
A lack of visual stimulation can dull the senses and affect an employee’s ability to focus. Endless beige and neutral workspaces not only look boring, but they negatively affect productivity.
That’s why a variety of colours and textures should be added to the work environment, whether it’s a brightly coloured wall, wooden or cork panelling, a piece of artwork or a plant. Fill long corridors with art or eye-catching graphics to stimulate workers’ senses.
Use colour to alter moods
Colours are linked to certain psychological associations and may be used in the workplace to aid a variety of tasks from group brainstorming to quiet report writing.
For example, red is a high-energy colour, full of ambition and strength, so it’s great for boosting confidence, but too much red can increase aggression.
Whereas, blue is calming and encourages clear, creative thinking, and orange and peach create a more talkative and social atmosphere. Try to vary the colour scheme throughout the office space.
Hot-desking allows companies to save space and HR managers often say it allows for more collaborative working and increased productivity.
The office can be divided up into different areas to increase productivity; for example, a collaboration space could include lounges and stand-up desks where staff work together.
Alternatively, a quiet section would be where staff go when they really need to focus, so you can hot desk where you think you’ll be the most productive for your immediate needs.
Improve air quality
The workplace should support the health of the workforce by providing good air quality. Indoor settings often contain levels of pollutants (eg. household cleaning and maintenance products, furnishings and building materials) that are significantly higher than outdoor levels. This can affect health insurance costs, sick days and productivity.
Office designers should look for ‘eco’ labels and equipment, buy carpets and furnishings with low levels of particulates and train cleaning staff on how to use cleaning equipment and products with non-toxic chemicals.
Improve ergonomic conditions
It’s been said before, but comfortable employees are more productive. By investing in an ergonomic furniture selection and training staff on how to work ergonomically, you can improve staff health and productivity.
Once you set up the workstation correctly, ensure it’s adjustable and that staff know how to perform tasks with minimal musculoskeletal exertion and eyestrain.