Designing a Workplace to Optimize for Productivity
Employees spend eight hours a day in an office, if not more. The workplace design affects their happiness, relationships, and productivity. There are ways to arrange an office so that it is inviting, warm and pushes people to be their best. The reverse is also true. A poorly designed workplace can aggravate resentment, laziness, and absenteeism. By taking some time to consider everything from the lighting and furniture to the office layout, you can set the stage for employees to feel and be their very best.
Update the Lighting
Lighting is one of the most important components of any space, whether the office or at home. It affects people’s mental health, self-esteem, and productivity. Having buzzing overhead lighting from the 80s can slow down work and make people want to leave early. Natural light is an important update for any space. You can update the overhead lighting so it is eco-friendly, or you can add different types of lamps to a space. Similarly, you can enhance the lighting by adding curtains and mirrors.
The colors used for the furniture, accents and wall colors in the office are important. For example, a fire engine red wall has a very different tone than a warm peach color. Natural colors like blue improve focus whereas warm colors can spark creativity. You should have a vision for how the office update will affect people.
Consider Plants and Accents
Adding some flowers or potted plants to an office can have a huge difference. They have been proven to reduce people’s stress and make the air cleaner. There are a lot of low maintenance options so taking care of them does not become a chore. Similarly, consider adding a bookshelf with games, books, and toys. This signals that the office is not all work and that play is okay. A small addition like this is good for morale and teamwork.
Invest in Artwork
You do not have to break the bank and buy a Picasso to add some art to the office. Instead, take some time to look in the local community or online for some pieces. You can invest in a painting for the entryway or some photographs for the conference room. This addition can increase creativity and show that a company appreciates art. This makes the space more inviting and personal. Remember that any art you choose should fit the mission and culture of the workplace.
Make People Comfortable
Seating should not be hard and uncomfortable. Do some research to find chairs that help people stay focused and comfortable. Similarly, you should invest in some standing desks and other movement-focused office furniture. Some people do not want to stay seated all day. Lastly, mix up the seating options. You may want part of the office to be an open concept with some private areas set up too. Office furniture should be spaced out enough so people are not squeezed into a small space, and it should be arranged so people can easily communicate.
Food Is Important
Workspaces with coffee, tea, and snacks make employees happier. Adding a regular supply of food improves people’s energy and focus levels. This does not mean you have to break the bank on snacks. Instead, adding a few items around the office is sure to improve morale. Ask staff what types of snacks they enjoy and maybe even make it a habit to bring lunch once a month. An investment in food is one that pays off later in productivity.
Make a Plan
If you want to update the office to enhance productivity, ask your staff what they think about the space. Employee research will help you understand common trouble areas and how to prioritize the redesign. Similarly, you should think about the team’s strengths and weaknesses. If they have a hard time collaborating, they may need a redesign that promotes this. Take some time to observe and survey the staff, research your options and build a budget. Lastly, consider the personalities and working styles of your team. Some staff members need quiet spaces to talk on the phone and brainstorm whereas others need spaces where they can be creative, communicate and meet.
Consider the Office Work and Culture
The type of work your office does affects the workplace components. If you have a lot of brainstorming sessions, you might need whiteboards and natural light for the meetings. Conversely, if staff are on the phone a lot for sales, they may need plants, comfortable seating, and inspiration.
Office design affects employee behavior. When people feel comfortable and invited, they can dive into work with a new passion and focus. Spending some time and money to enhance the office is an important investment. If people feel good, they work harder. You can do a complete overhaul or change things a little at a time. When employees feel comfortable and inspired at work, they collaborate more easily, communicate more openly and approach their work with a new zest.
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