Creating a Productive Office Environment

How furniture and design choices can impact your bottom line

As a CEO or small business owner, it’s up to you to decide what kind of office environment you create – and the choices that you make matter. Office design impacts happiness in the workplace and overall productivity – no matter how seasoned your are or the size of your business.

office desk

So as if business owners didn’t have enough to consider when buying new office furniture and configuring the office space, they now have to consider how those choices will impact the company bottom line.

It doesn’t have to be as daunting as it sounds.

Factors that impact the overall feel of the space include natural light, furniture layout, floorplan and ergonomics. When it’s time to find the right office furniture for your business, think first about how your office environment enhances the corporate culture of your organization. The resulting space will affect how your business is perceived to outside personnel, which can impact the type of workers you want to attract and the way employees feel while they are at work. It starts with natural light.

Natural light boosts productivity in offices

The link between workplace productivity and natural light is profound – and can impact far more than how many emails an employee sends in one day. It influences a worker’s sleep, energy levels and quality of life, not to mention mood, behavior and even hormones. Factor lighting into all design configurations to plan for long-term employee satisfaction.

Layout

Once you’ve started thinking about windowlines, consider what kind of floorplan is going to make the most sense for your business. If your business is heavy on the private offices, consider moving them to the interior to maximize natural light. Once decisions have been made pertaining to office to workstation ratio, it’s important to strategize the layout of the space in terms of how different departments will work together. The floorplan should strategically align coordinating departments to enhance productivity.

office design

Flexible Work Spaces

Many businesses are embracing a more open layout, which can be great for collaboration. If this is the direction your business prefers, make sure to take steps necessary to protect worker efficiency. Sound-masking technology can limit office noise that can be distracting. Build out small meeting rooms where teams can host brainstorming sessions or conduct meetings. These smaller spaces also give employees space to take personal phone calls – a large factor of embracing the work-life balance.

Comfort and Ergonomics

Creating an office environment that is comfortable for everyone is one of the biggest favors an employer can provide. In most cases, it begins with the chairs. Businesses should take into account personal preferences for each worker – whether it’s an ergonomically sound office chair, an exercise ball – or no chair at all. Standing desks are making their way into office furniture design and shouldn’t be ruled out. Chairs are one area where businesses shouldn’t cut corners. Even buying used office chairs that are engineered for comfort will make a difference.

Buying the Furniture

We all know that office furniture extends beyond chairs to include workstations and other equipment. Procuring these items takes a lot of planning. To start, be sure to consult with a professional designer who can help maintain the budget, while factoring in all of the other design decisions. For budgeting, consider that the price of furniture can vary drastically from new to used and based on the manufacturer. Refurbished furniture is a great avenue to save loads of money – with a result that looks just like new. Business owners can also have tremendous luck building out an office space based on a more creative combination of new, used and refurbished furniture.

Putting it All Together

To create the perfect formula for configuring your office space, think about each step of the process one at a time. Then build from there. Each decision that you make will impact the next one – which helps make the whole project more manageable (and to ensure that you don’t make any major mistakes). Sure it can be a complex process, but there is a way to manage the design of your office space in a way that enhances productivity, without crushing your budget.

Just remember to think big picture, ask the right questions, engage professionals, and give yourself enough time to make the project happen the right way. Easy, right?

About the Author: This article is written by Mason Awtry, CEO of Rightsize Facility Performance.

Photo credits: Dwonderwall, Aurimas

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