When trying to boost productivity, it’s common for companies to pool their resources towards technology, strategies, and organisational tools. As useful as these things may be, research has shown that office design also has a huge impact on office productivity and employee behaviour. In this post, we’ll outline the three key aspects of office design that have been proven to affect overall efficiency and productivity.
1. Environmental design
Workplace design can have a profound impact on the general health and well-being of your staff. Poor ventilation and heating/air-conditioning systems can lead to discomfort and health problems, while inadequate lighting can lead to eye strain, tiredness, stress and headaches. To combat these potential problems, your office layout and design should try to take advantage of natural lighting and airflow wherever possible. Another significant environmental factor in offices is noise. High noise levels can make it difficult for employees to concentrate, to talk to their colleagues or clients (both in person and on the phone), which in turn can lead to a drop in productivity and morale. With the rise of the open plan office, managing noise levels has become a concern in many workplaces. If you’re set on having a collaborative and open office space, a good way to manage noise levels is by creating a range of working spaces (e.g. informal meeting areas, quiet nooks, etc.) can make a big difference.
2. Movement facilitation
Movement plays a big role in a person’s overall energy levels. Therefore, movement is one of the fastest ways to rejuvenate tired employees. Your office should be designed in such a way that it encourages or even requires employees to walk around during the day. This can be done, for example, by placing bathrooms more than a few paces from clusters of desks, or by leaving room for long walkways to the break room or conference rooms. If your lot allows for it, outdoor spaces with work areas are also great for milder weather months, and growing gardens in those places can be desirable for a ten-minute walk away from the phones and screens.
3. Colour and visuals
Most office spaces tend to stick to neutral colour palettes. This is not the wisest choice in a working environment, as bland and boring colours can lead to increased feelings of sadness and depression. The psychologic effects of colour choices should be well thought out when designing an office space. Oranges and pinks are often great colour choices as they evoke feelings of energy, excitement, warmth and enthusiasm. In contrast the colour blue can make people feel calm, peaceful and relaxed, which might work well in stressful environments. Another way to brighten up your office space is with indoor plants. Not only do indoor plants improve air quality, they also have a positive impact on staff health and well-being. Academic studies found that employees are 15% more productive when workplaces are filled with some house plants.