Move Desks Now or Watch Productivity Die
Optimise Your Work Environment with Simple Layout & Design Tips
With ever growing pressure on businesses to push performance figures, organisations are now looking towards creative ways to boost productivity. Extensive research has shown that the work environment can have a serious impact on employee performance.
Big brands like Google and Innocent (Smoothies) are leading the way through innovative and unconventional office design. This is all very well on a big budget, where an entire office re-design can be implemented – but what about businesses on a budget? In this article we’ll discuss small interior tweaks that any business can employ in order to optimise their office environment.
Inject a Little Eastern Wisdom
We’ve all heard of the ancient art of Feng Shui, developed in China over 3000 years ago. The aim of Feng Shui is to balance the energy in the room. Before you dismiss it as smoke and mirrors, there is some pretty sound advice to be taken from this ancient art form. Feng Shui recognises that the ‘power position’ in the workplace is in the opposite corner to the entrance – meaning that the manager’s desk should always be in the corner furthest away from the door, providing them with a commanding view over their environment.
Feng Shui theory also applies to colour, with studies showing that visually stimulating colours can influence the mood of employees. Harsh colours can worsen the effects of stress and tension in a work environment. Feng Shui experts recommend soft, earth tone colours for a calming, positive effect.
Invest in Some Office Plants
Image by Kelly Cookson
A study conducted by the Norwegian University of Life Sciences in 2013 has uncovered compelling evidence that a greener environment is a more productive one. The test involved subjects conducting a reading exercise which required high levels of concentration. The volunteers were asked to complete the tasks in a number of different environments, some at an empty desk and some surrounded by plants and flowers. Results showed that the greenery had a positive restorative effect – allowing employees to complete the task at hand more efficiently.
Plants are also proven to purify air, making for a healthier work environment. Plants are so effective at doing this that they’re even being researched by NASA scientists for use in space stations,in order to filter out contaminants and pollution.
Build Walls Between Your Employees
Although open plan offices are now the norm – and are generally regarded as having improved communication and team work – there’s also something to be said for privacy. Numerous studies have concluded that employees who work in open plan environments often feel they could be more productive in a quiet environment, free from distractions.
In order for an office to be both collaborative and productive, private working environments should be provided for employees to temporarily move to when they need to concentrate on specific tasks. This can take the form of bull-pen style dividers, creating a semi-open plan environment – or through the provision of private work rooms which employees can use at their leisure.
Image by CubeSpace
Let There Be Light
Natural light provides the ultimate boost to productivity and, most importantly, it’s free! Scientific studies have extensively documented the negative effects of artificial lighting. Our bodies are designed to respond to sunlight – and, in fact, our whole body clock is programmed around sunrise and sunset. Our bodies respond to sunlight by producing hormones which make us feel alert, awake and happy. This is where the problem of artificial light comes into play – dimmer artificial light causes our eyes to work harder, which can, in turn, lead to eye strain and tiredness.
Dim or poor quality lighting also has the opposite effect on our bodies to bright daylight, lowering energy levels and worsening mood. Tackle this by ensuring that there’s plenty of natural light available in your office – simply positioning desks and work stations near windows can have an immediate positive effect on productivity.
One great way of boosting productivity is ensuring your team are well caffeinated and thoroughly hydrated throughout their 9 to 5. Eden Springs are the UK’s leading supplier of commercial water coolers and coffee machines. Our competitively priced services offer the ultimate office beverage solution.