The office environment can have a significant impact on the performance and productivity of every employee. In a workplace survey by Gensler of over 2,000 office workers, nine out of ten respondents believed that workplace design affected their productivity. Eighty-eight percent of those surveyed also said that the quality of their work environment was essential to job satisfaction.
It’s not only employees that benefit from a well-designed office space; it also creates an excellent first impression to visiting clients. If you think your office space might be hindering productivity, use the following design strategies to inspire staff, and maximize productivity.
Ergonomics is the process of designing equipment, furniture, and space so that people can perform their particular job more comfortably and efficiently. It’s about designing for people to improve their health, safety, comfort, and ability to perform tasks.
Poor working environments and equipment can lead to hand, neck, and back pain, vision problems, and more. By improving working conditions, you can minimize repetitive strain injuries and stress-related conditions that can cost your business money in terms of absenteeism, health care costs, and compensation payments.
Fortunately, you can prevent these injuries from happening in the first place with sensible planning. Here are some ergonomic design solutions to give the typical office worker the comfort they deserve:
Monitors that are designed to reduce eye strain, preferably with anti-glare screens.
Monitor risers that ensure the top of the computer screen is level with the eye line, about 20 inches away from the user.
Keyboard and mouse rest to reduce arm and wrist strain.
Ergonomic keyboards that help speed up typing.
Chairs with lumbar support, height adjustability, and a tilt mechanism.
Height adjustable sit-stand desks to encourage movement.
Footrests for workers that need extra support.
Headsets for staff that frequently talk on the phone and type at the same time.
A well-decorated office can boost morale and productivity. Consider colors carefully. For example, calming blues and greens can help concentration and stimulate clear thinking. Brighter reds and yellows can boost creativity and energize a space.
If you can’t change the wall color, use office accessories to add color accents or hang colorful paintings.
Research by the University of Exeter showed that allowing staff to add plants to an office space increased feelings of well-being by 47 percent and boosted productivity by 38 percent. Plants also purify the air, which can improve concentration.
If your office is too hot or too cold, it can have a significant impact on worker comfort and productivity. While the ideal temperature for a typical office is around 71.6 F, it’s important to consult with staff to find a happy medium.
It’s also worth noting that in one study, when the office temperature increased from 68 to 77 degrees, typing errors fell by 44 percent, and typing output rose by 150 percent.
Avoid glare by using matt paint on walls and fixing blinds to windows. Allow as much natural light into the office as possible, as this can increase energy levels and productivity. In one study, workers exposed to natural light stayed focused for 15 percent longer than workers in artificial light. If you struggle to get natural light into your office, invest in lamps that imitate natural light.
It’s not easy to concentrate and talk to colleagues in a noisy office. Consider installing speakers and playing soothing sounds or classical music throughout the day. Soft tones can also aid concentration.
Finally, our sense of smell is one of the most powerful senses, but not many businesses consider using scent to support productivity. According to research in Japan, typists made 54 percent fewer mistakes when exposed to lemon scent, and made 33 percent fewer errors when they could smell jasmine. Why not make your own air freshener by spraying a water solution containing a few drops of essential oil around the office?
Today, most offices are open-plan workspaces. This can aid and encourage team collaboration, but it can also be distracting to some. Separating desks with dividers can help those that prefer working in peace, but to support the different preferences of employees, create a variety of spaces to support the various tasks of employees.
As well as offering workstations in an open office environment, consider creating informal meeting spaces and other areas for relaxation. It’s also a good idea to provide quieter areas or small rooms that have no distractions.
A well-designed workspace can increase productivity, enhance creativity, and boost staff morale. Ergonomically designed equipment will also minimize work-related injuries, reduce fatigue, and limit mistakes. What’s more, an attractive office environment will make a positive impression on visiting clients.
Do you have a limited budget? Consider purchasing second-hand equipment to keep costs down. Even small changes can have a significant impact on productivity. Include plenty of storage solutions to keep the office tidy, and encourage staff to return items to their designated places to minimize clutter.
If you can spend more money on renovating and redesigning your office space, it’s an investment that will benefit your business and staff for years to come.