The environment we work in has a considerable impact on both our level of wellbeing and our productivity. The design and layout of our office or, workspace, can have an effect on our work productivity, frame of mind, mood, interaction with our colleagues, and even has an influence on how much time we spend distracted from our work.
With the above in mind here are 8 practical tips to follow to establish a productive office environment;
Go Open Plan
Many businesses will use individual offices or cubicles for their employees to work from. Historically the thinking was that each employee needed their own private area to work from. However, in recent years there has been a growing shift to a more open plan working environment.
Staff in cubicles distract themselves more easily than staff in an open plan office. Staff will frequently leave their office or cubical to enable them to take a break and converse with a colleague. This is because each employee will feel sectioned off from their colleagues, so they are more likely to go out of their way to make conversation with them.
When there are no partitioning walls between colleagues, they tend not to distract each other since their open interaction facilitates them being able to get on with work without feeling isolated.
In addition where staff are working within a team an open office layout enables them to collaborate more effectively. Ideas can be exchanged whilst working and feedback can be obtained from within the team whilst the work is progressing.
The way in which our environment is decorated has a considerable effect on our mood and motivation. Many psychologists have studied the impact of colour on a persons mood and frame of mind.
For example there are studies that have shown that when a person is left for a long period of time in a room painted yellow, it left them feeling tense and agitated. However, when leaving someone in a room painted blue, it left them feeling calm and relaxed.
Light colours such as blues, greens and white, not only give feelings of calmness, but give the perception that the room is more spacious. Light colours work best for working environments because they decrease the chances of stress and give the perception of spaciousness and openness.
Most offices will be a neutral beige or cream as standard. Consider adding light calming colours into your work environment. You may not want an entirely sky blue office but consider painting one of the walls.
Where Possible Let In Natural Light
The best kind of working environment is one that allows plenty of natural light. Sunlight has a direct effect on the bodies circadian system (this is the occurrence of regular chemical reactions in the body required for health functioning). Without natural sunlight the bodies’ performance reduces slightly.
If your office is small and has limited windows then place a communal part of the office near the available window. For example, the photocopier or the drinks station. This will ensure that most people in the office get at least some natural light during their working day.
Be creative With Your Office Design
There has been a growing trend in colourful office designs, with the many large tech companies leading the way. Think of Google’s quirky set-like rooms and trendy furniture.
Quirky colour schemes and multi function working spaces may not be the professional look you are going for but aim to create a varied working environment. Adding variety within the workspace will help stimulate your staff’s minds as they move about the office.
A healthy working environment finds the right balance between understanding how a suitable workspace equips a particular job role, and giving staff a pleasant and modern environment to work in.
Avoid Over Cramping
In a small business office, workplaces should be capable of providing sufficient workspace for it’s employees to work without feeling that their personal space in being compromised. Small but growing companies often find themselves squeezing many people into a small workspace as the team grows.
In the short term you may not have any choice but bare in mind that such a working environment will pull down the productivity of everyone across the whole office. As soon as your business is able upgrade to a larger office.
In the meantime consider the use of space. The plant display in the corner may look great but if removing it will facilitate giving your staff more room then do so.
Keep It Tidy
The level of tidiness in a room affects the mood and concentration of the people within it. This means an untidy office leads to a reduction in productivity and sometimes work standards. Staff should be encouraged to clean up after themselves, as well as being organised and keeping their personal workspace tidy. This will encourage better motivation in staff and an overall more efficient working environment.
Temperature control within the working environment means quality control of work. If a room is too hot, it becomes an unpleasant working environment, and there is a reduction in motivation and concentration. The same will be the case if a workplace is too cold, working becomes uncomfortable and keeping warm takes up energy and concentration.
Extremes of temperature are not suitable for a workplace. An office should be kept at a continued comfortable level to ensure work is kept up to scratch. If this means investing in a portable heater or big commercial fans then do it. If this means investing in a portable heater or air conditioning unit then do it.
Be A Leader
A great leader leads from the front. Your staff will look to you to set the standard for productivity within the office. Therefore it is critical that you conduct yourself in an organized and productive manner when at the office. Set a standard for your team to aspire to. If you are motivated, organized, tidy etc. then your staff will soon follow suit.
By implementing as many of the above tips as you can, your office will increase and your business will reap the rewards.
About the Author: Charlotte Ellis is a writer and blogger specialising in the business and design sectors. Charlotte works for a number of businesses assisting them in developing their content and currently works with the commercial interior design agency Office Principles.
Modern Office Photo via Shutterstock