A business’ most valuable asset is its workforce. That’s why more and more employers are seeking newer and better ways to improve their employees’ productivity and happiness in the workspace.
Nothing affects an employee’s productivity and happiness so much as their work environment. Whether employees work from home or in an office, you want your workspace to be conducive to productivity.
This is where an office that is designed and optimized for productivity comes in. A productive office space improves not only your business’ output but also contributes towards employee well-being and happiness in the long run.
Other benefits to a productive work environment include increased focus, improved work quality, and higher job satisfaction rates. When you make an effort to improve your employees’ work experiences it shows your employees that you care about them and are actively looking for ways to make their work experience more pleasurable.
Creating a productive work environment is vital for your business’ success. But you may be asking yourself: how do I create a productive office environment for my employees? In this article, we will cover a variety of methods you can use to create a productive work environment so your employees can thrive.
1. Choose an Efficient Office Layout:
One of the first and most important ways to enhance productivity in the workplace is to choose an efficient office layout or productivity set up that will suit your team’s particular needs. The best productivity set up for your employees will depend on the nature of your business, but some general guidelines to consider when choosing a layout is how you can design the space to provide employees with easy access to all parts of the office and, at the same time, break up open spaces.
This might seem a bit counterintuitive at first, but studies have shown that open offices facilitate collaboration and teamwork thereby promoting productivity. However, there are times where the noise generated from such collaborations can be distracting for other employees whose work may require more focus and concentration. This is where having an office designed in such a way that it separates open spaces to create private niches or work areas for those who want a bit more silence will be useful.
With all this in mind, having an open office layout where desks, tables, chairs, and other furniture are arranged in such a way as to provide easy access to all areas in the office without making people feel as though they are trapped can help boost office productivity. You can try arranging desks and tables into small groups with lots of space on each side to make moving around the office easier while reducing that sense of being penned-in.
Separating open spaces with plants, shelves, bookcases, and other things that break up the space can help minimize distracting noises and movements so that your employees can better focus. You can achieve a similar effect by separating work areas with larger pieces of furniture such as couches, filing cabinets, low walls, etc. which can also add a sense of privacy.
2. Having Different Work Spaces
As mentioned before, the layout of your office will depend on the nature of your business. While breaking up an open office space and providing easy access to all areas of the office generally suits many business models, it won’t work for everyone.
Some professions require greater privacy while others may benefit from an office optimized for collaboration. In trying to create a productive office space, a balance must be struck between the need for a team to be collaborative and for individuals to have a space to focus without the rest of the team. Finding this balance is not always easy and requires some planning.
Having designated work spaces for specific tasks can be helpful. And even if you choose to use the efficient office layout discussed above, you may still need separate work areas for certain tasks from time to time.
No matter the business type, having different work areas for employees is proven to promote office productivity. We’ve all heard that a change in scenery often sparks greater creativity. Moving to a new space can shift your brain’s line of thinking and help you refocus. Providing your employees with different work environments to choose from can lead to greater productivity.
But what kind of works spaces should you consider incorporating into your workplace? Below we’ve outlined some of the different work spaces that you might want to consider implementing to boost productivity.
1. Quiet Zones
While sometimes collaboration is necessary in the workplace, it can quickly become distracting for others. Not all workers do well in collaborative office environments. Someone whose job it is to take care of the books will often work more productively when in their own space.
The background noise of coworkers chatting can be incredibly distracting for some and can affect their ability to work. This distraction can also increase stress levels, further impeding their ability to stay productive.
Having a designated quiet space in the office can help avoid these problems, improving focus and productivity, promoting creativity, boosting motivation, and lowering stress levels. Locating these quiet work areas to one end or corner of the office and arranging other work areas according to increasing noise levels minimizes the amount of noise travelling to these quiet zones. You want to do your best to keep the quiet areas of your office as far from the collaboration and/or socializing areas as possible to minimize distractions.
2. Collaboration Zones
It is often thought that focusing in an office setting requires a quiet space, but quiet offices are not always the best environments for collaboration. Collaboration requires a very different environment than one meant for solitude. Collaborative office spaces are where employees can brainstorm, bounce ideas off one another, and make phone calls without worrying about disturbing those around them.
Many businesses rely on collaboration among team members for their success. If your business regularly requires team meetings or other collaboration sessions it might be a good idea to have a designated collaboration space.
Collaboration zones can provide an excellent buffer between the noisier part of the office and the quiet part and minimize the risk of these collaborations leading to interruptions in workflow for those who need a quieter space in order to concentrate.
Because they are used by teams to generate ideas, it’s a good idea to
design these spaces in open areas with large tables, plenty of seating, screens, projectors, and other technology so that your team can brainstorm comfortably and efficiently.
Because good ideas can disappear in mere seconds, having easily accessible ways of jotting down ideas and sharing them with others later is a key to improving productivity. Outfit your office with the tools your staff needs to stay collaborative, motivated, and productive such as whiteboards, pens, notepads, and dry erase blotters or desktops.
3. Social Areas
This might seem counterintuitive, but having designated areas for socializing can actually help improve productivity. Socializing can boost creativity, which, in turn, enhances office productivity.
Similar to collaboration zones, social areas are places where team members can take breaks from their work, relax, unwind, chat with colleagues, and get inspired. Usually, this kind of socialization happens in designated lounge areas, but creating break rooms or providing employees with access to outdoor spaces such as rooftops, balconies, etc. also does the trick.
The important thing is that employees are able to relax, unwind, and temporarily take their minds off their work. Taking your mind off of difficult tasks for a short period of time can help spark creativity. It can also potentially lead to impromptu collaborations among colleagues that result in new ideas or solutions. And even if it doesn’t, these breaks allow employees to return to their work feeling refreshed and more willing to tackle difficult tasks.
Designing these social areas to accommodate different sizes of groups and including comfortable chairs, couches, and tables is a great way to create a relaxing, fun, and comfortable environment for employees to socialize. You might also consider including pool tables, ping pong tables, and other games that can help employees relax, have fun, and unwind.
4. Training Zones:
Training is essential to employee happiness and office productivity. Well-trained employees are more confident in their abilities, know exactly what is expected of them, and are more likely to get the job done right the first time, resulting in increased productivity.
But in order to properly train employees, you need spaces dedicated to training. These training zones provide quiet, distraction-free, safe learning environments for new employees to learn the ropes.
While a meeting room or collaboration space can double as a training room, there’s always the risk that someone might need the room for a meeting at the same time that an employee needs training. Having an area exclusively designed and used for training purposes is a great way to ensure that your new hires always have access to a training room so they can learn everything they need to know in order to perform their jobs confidently.
5. Spaces for Movement:
Sitting at a desk all day can be particularly damaging to your mental and physical health. And pushing yourself to continue working for hours on end despite physical and mental fatigue can actually impede office productivity rather than enhance it.
When your body and mind cannot take another minute of work, it’s important to take breaks to compose yourself and re-energize. There are many studies out there that show the importance of taking frequent, short breaks to boost productivity. And the best thing to do during those breaks is to get your body moving.
Providing employees with spaces designed to promote movement is an excellent way to boost your employees’ productivity while simultaneously showing that you care about their mental and physical well-being. When employees notice that they’re losing momentum, they should feel encouraged to take a break and go for a short walk. Having spaces designed to promote movement will make them feel more comfortable to do so.
Designing break rooms or the work space to accommodate movement is a great way to accomplish this. An office layout designed for movement will encourage employees to visit breakrooms or chat with colleagues, helping them to clear their mind and allowing them to return to their work feeling refreshed and ready to focus.
If you rent office space from a business rental agency such as Telsec, you might consider looking into whether they have workout rooms, break rooms, or other facilities, like cafes, restaurants, or lounges, and informing your employees of any such services.
3. Make it Comfy
The importance of ergonomics in the workplace has grown in recent years. As a result, more and more employers are implementing strategies to address ergonomic issues.
It’s no secret that poor posture and lighting negatively affect productivity in the workplace, causing fatigue, physical strain, poor body posture, and eye strain–all of which can cause a sharp drop in productivity. And in today’s work environment, where the vast majority of employees are sitting at a desk most of the day, it’s more important than ever that employees have access to ergonomic-friendly workstations.
To improve office productivity and make employees comfortable while working, invest in high-quality ergonomic furniture, such as adjustable-height desks, supporting chairs with pillows (if needed), multi-person tables, adjustable computer screens, separate keyboards, etc. High-quality ergonomic furniture helps your employees better concentrate and increase productivity.
4. Natural Lighting
Natural lighting plays an incredibly important role in making a workplace comfortable, welcoming, and productive. In fact, it is one of the most important factors affecting productivity, well-being, and creativity in the workplace.
Poor lighting has been associated with fatigue, headaches, eyestrain, and overall irritability. And it’s widely acknowledged that dark spaces contribute towards feelings of sadness, melancholy, and depression. Yet in spite of all this, it is still one of the most overlooked productivity factors in the workplace.
The solution that many employers resort to is fluorescent lighting. But fluorescent lighting has its downsides. No one really wants to work under rows upon rows of fluorescent lights. Most respond better to natural light.
Natural lighting promotes feelings of positivity, encourages better sleep, improves vision, and increases office productivity. Ensuring your workspace has plenty of natural lighting can help you minimize the risks associated with poor lighting.
One way to do this is to purchase or rent an office space that has lots of windows to let in natural light and reduce the need for electric lighting. But this is not possible for every office. So some alternatives are to invest in lighting that has the least harmful impact on health, such as LED or incandescent lighting, or else incorporating adaptive lighting technologies that enable your office’s lighting system to mimic natural light in order to mitigate some of their more harmful effects.
5. Add a Splash of Colour
The colours we are surrounded by have a profound effect on our brains and mood. Colour creates an office environment which can affect employees in a number of ways, depending on the colours chosen.
For instance, an office environment punctuated with grey, tan, or beige tones will often leave employees feeling tired, sluggish, and uninspired, while darker tones can make them feel tired or unhappy.
Using drab and dark colours can have a negative effect on creativity and focus. For that reason you should incorporate vivid or lighter colours in your office. Add bright colours to keep your employees engaged and energized, boosting their productivity, creativity, and overall happiness.
6. Add Greenery
Another way to add colour to your office is to add greenery. But adding greenery to your workspace provides a number of other benefits, foremost among them being that it enhances office productivity. It also helps create an inspiring and calming atmosphere which can motivate employees and reduce stress.
Finally, it contributes to cleaner indoor air quality which can make employees feel healthier, happier, and more comfortable. Air quality affects your employees’ ability to focus and think clearly. So it’s important that employers ensure the office environment has good air quality.
Plants are one way to accomplish this, but you should also consider air filters. At Telsec Business Centres, all our offices come outfitted with energy-efficient HVAC and lighting systems.
7. Personalize the Space
Allow your employees the option of personalizing their workstation, if possible. By personalizing their workspace, employees can connect better emotionally and mentally to their work and the company.
Adding a few personal touches to their workspace such as a calendar, family photos, cards, etc., can help them express their personality, make them feel more motivated, and inspire them to be more productive and active.
But be sure not to allow these personal items to clutter the workspace as it might end up becoming more of a distraction than a help.
8. Keep it Clean
Offices are breeding grounds for bacteria and other microbes that can have a harmful effect on your employees’ physical health. Desks, chairs, tables, and shared office equipment like photocopiers and printers can harbour hosts of bacteria.
It’s important to regularly clean your workspace to keep it germ-free. Hiring a cleaning service and having wipe-down protocols can help prevent the spread of bacteria and other unwanted microbes that cause illness and affect productivity.
9. Make it Clutter-Free
Decluttering the workspace is important to maintaining cleanliness. But it also has a direct impact on office productivity and focus. A cluttered office environment can quickly become distracting, cramped, and messy. And a messy workspace is the last place anyone would want to work in.
A messy office negatively affects productivity, causing people to feel irritable, disoriented, and unmotivated. To keep your employees happy, productive, and on task, have them regularly clear and clean their workspaces, remove unnecessary clutter, and organize their personal effects.
To further facilitate a clutter-free, productive work environment, consider corralling power cords or going wireless (if possible), investing in storage solutions, and providing each team member with a personal storage space.
10. Incorporate Technology
In today’s rapidly changing digital world, it’s good practice to ensure your office is equipped with the latest technology relevant to your industry. Technology is changing the way we work, and with vast increases in the number of people working virtually, it’s more important than ever to integrate technology into the workplace.
Ditch desktop computers and wires and empower your team by giving them laptops and access to Wi-Fi. The portability of a laptop (or even a tablet), allows employees to work in various parts of the office or even outside of the office. With good Wi-Fi, workers can move freely throughout the office without having to plug into the network.
Implementing the latest technology enables employees to connect and collaborate with each other faster and more effectively. Conference rooms that integrate with technology can enable meetings to be held from anywhere in the world via the internet. When used correctly, technology has the potential to radically improve productivity in the workplace.
That concludes our list of ways to create a more productive office space. We will leave you with one final suggestion. While you may like many of our ideas for creating a productive office space, sometimes talking to your staff will help you find the best strategies for what will keep them productive. If your staff suggests a ping-pong table or a foosball table and you have the space, then consider it. Yes, you want to put it somewhere that will not disturb other staff members, but sometimes outlets like this can really bring a team together and bring out some of their most productive ideas. Remember, your team is your greatest asset, so don’t be afraid to reach out and ask for their opinions.
The importance of a productive work environment cannot be underestimated. Now that you have learned some of the ways to create an office environment optimized for productivity, you’re ready to find a productivity set up that works for your business.
If you’re looking to rent office spaces with efficient layouts, come fully furnished with comfortable and ergonomic-friendly office equipment, are outfitted with the latest technology, and have energy-efficient HVAC and lighting systems then consider renting a space with Telsec Business Centres.
Our spaces come with access to meeting rooms, conference rooms, boardrooms, virtual office solutions, and so much more. Please visit our pricing page or contact our friendly staff today at 416.363.9035 or toll free at 1.877.705.0707 to learn more.