Does it seem like it’s impossible to improve your office productivity?
You’ve tried cleaning the office space but it just feels empty. You’ve tried having an office pet but it’s just ended up being another chore. You’ve tried promoting exercise and healthy eating but no one seems to want to do the free yoga classes and eat those wholegrain muesli bars.
It’s highly possible that the office morality and spirit is a-okay. The problem is a serious issue with the office design and office furniture you are trying to work around.
You might think that it’s not a big deal but take a look at all the successful businesses around the world. There is not one that doesn’t value and invest in the design, style and comfort of their offices. These offices are where employees spend half their lives working. The effort spent into making it as functional and relaxing as possible would be highly appreciated.
No need for concern, you don’t need to call in a designer who has weirdly innovative designs and costs a fortune. There just needs to be some minor changes made to start seeing significant improvements in the work environment.
Ergonomic, Ergonomic, Ergonomic!
It is absolutely impossible to purchase furniture for all your employees that specifically suit all their different heights and widths and arm placements. Unless you have a small company and can purchase different chairs for everyone, the same items just won’t match everyone’s personal preferences and bodily needs. This is why it is extremely important to get ergonomic office furniture.
Ergonomic furniture is essentially furniture that has been designed to prevent repetitive stress injuries. These can be injuries such as lower back stress caused by long hours in an inappropriate chair, other back problems, leg cramps and discomfort in other joints in the body. The comfort and long term benefits of ergonomic furniture demonstrates to employees that they are working in an environment that cares about their wellbeing. This alone can increase productivity and on top of that employees will be able to focus on their work instead of massaging their backs every hour.
Additionally, furniture should be made adjustable so it is able to adapt to every singular person. The newly popular height adjustable desks are a perfect example of that. It allows for different heights suitable to every individual and even promotes healthy work methods by providing the option to work while standing up. These options of adjustment significantly improve the productivity of an office, as employees are able to work in their most comfortable position and environment.
Where Do I Put the Offices?
In this modern day and age, the options for an office layout are endless. Do I set up traditional office cubicles? Do I try out the open plan office? Should they all be in one room?
The important factor to remember, before you get swept away by all the office inspiration, is that your office setup should reflect your company values. If your employees need to do majority of work that is collaborative based rather then individual, the office should have more open plan, collaboration spaces otherwise it may cause inconveniences. If your staffs do absolutely all their work on a desk individually, there should not be too much open space and discussion areas as this can be distracting and imposing. If the office placement does not suit the work type, it can heavily decrease the productivity of the office.
The best option for most companies is to have a mixture of both; majority being the one your employees need most. Having both singular desks and cubicles with a relaxing area or discussion lounge area can provide different platforms for different work types. This adaptability encourages workers to find what suits them and can be very beneficial to work output.
An interesting little fact is that straight tables and lines promote individual work or establishing a boss to employee relationship. This is because there is a “head” to a rectangular meeting table and the lines establish barriers between workers. Round tables and lines have been researched to promote creativity and comfort of freedom to share ideas. This is because there is no “head” at the table and allows for all employees to feel of equal status.
Outdoor Lighting, Indoor Comfort
I will never fail to mention the importance and necessity of natural or at the very least, good lighting in an office. If your workspace is filled to the brim with expensive office furniture but the sterile, dingy lighting is in place I’ve got some bad news. Your employees will have very low productivity. Bad lighting has been researched time and time again with the same results; it is impressively unhealthy. It can cause major eye problems and damage the working time of all staff. It can also dampen the mood and even be known to eventually cause mental health issues in the long term. On the other hand, natural lighting has been proven to improve moods, productivity, health and is just in general very beneficial.
It is important to have a lot of windows to allow natural light into the office. However, you don’t need to start smashing down walls. If there is only a little bit of natural light coming in, you can add mirrors and glass around the office to reflect light. Then make sure that the correct lighting, which is not damaging to the eyes, is added to the office.
Smells Like Home
Smell is always underrated, especially in the office. It is necessary to find a suitable smell for your workspace as it can negatively impact your work ability if you choose something that is mismatched. For example the smell of food constantly drifting in and out of the office would subconsciously create constant hunger and distraction for the office. Candles or oil drips can be placed on the office furniture around the workspace to add a little personal touch.
You may want to try out these smells:
- Lemon/Citrus – these smells are uplifting and can increase the mood of an office; they may also help counter mental exhaustion.
- Lavender – helps with anxiety and emotional stresses. The calming properties of this smell can also assist with treating headaches.
- Peppermint/Mint – the minty category of smells are said to be refreshing and help with focus and stimulation of the mind.
- Rosemary – although a very specific smell, it can encourage clear thinking and improving memory.
Just finding a smell that your office likes can increase productivity and allow employees to feel comfortable and familiar in the workspace.
Plants, Greenery, Shrubs
The addition of plants to any office improves the natural feel, the colour and the air quality for the staff. Whether they are little pot plants on a few tables or shrubs or large greenery in shared spaces, it is beneficial. Humans are biologically supposed to be in the natural environment, exposure to plants can dramatically increase the productivity and health of employees. Not only that, but it also can project the image that your company is environmentally friendly and can nurture plants and keep them alive. An important thing to remember, nobody wants dying plants around the office.
Colour: The Silent Killer
Colour, other then a product of design, can be used to stimulate certain parts of the mind. Don’t paint your office into a Wiggles show (unless you are Wiggles) but it is vital to have a few colours here and there. If your office is plain white, black and grey, although very minimalistic, can cause people to feel cold, unenthusiastic or under stimulated. If you must stick with those colours, then make sure, as stated above, to add some greenery. This will add some natural colour to the workspace.
Overall, you can make these small changes to facilitate healthy office productivity but make sure you don’t go overboard with anything. It is important to always remember what your company stands for and if you have a healthy work ethic and appropriate office furniture, your employees will follow in suit.