Productivity is influenced by a huge number of factors such as experience, skills, technology at hand and how clear task scheduling is. Some of these factors you can change and others you can’t, but one major element which can improve productivity which you can control is the workplace design of your work space.
While the benefits can be huge, not everyone is necessarily a talented natural workplace design specialist and the costs of hiring one can be quite prohibitive. There are, however, many steps which can be taken to improve productivity among your team by bringing in changes to create a work-conducive space.
Make movement easy
Scheduling short breaks in work should mean getting away from one’s desk and clearing one’s mind to allow it to properly relax and recharge, even if it’s only for a few minutes. This can’t happen though, if there’s nowhere to actually go. As much as the space allows, try to create areas for movement and having a short walk are possible and which won’t be distracting for others by having to squeeze around their desks.
Research in the UK has found that introducing plants to the office can improve productivity by 15%. This practice is known as biophilic workplace design and, as well as the colors providing a good contrast with workplace decor, having living plants in the office helps to provide a sense of “energy” for the space. Just make sure to keep them maintained and at an appropriate size that they don’t start inhibiting work.
Keep things clean
A messy work space leads to a sloppy approach to work. Of course, in the heat of an intense project, it can be tough to keep everything in place, but it’s important to make sure things don’t get out of hand. Keep things tidy by ensuring regular professional cleaning and, for individual desks, setting half an hour at the end of a day for an office clean-up every week or two weeks. Providing pizza always helps and it can become a useful and relaxed team activity.
Make colors exciting
Bland colors and various shades of white, beige and tan may be inoffensive and not very likely to cause disagreements, but they are also unlikely to inspire anyone to greater efforts. Bolder colors can act as visual stimuli, while arresting artwork can provide inspiration for creative thinking. This doesn’t mean that offices have to be decked out in shades of hot pink or neon green, but a little daring in terms of coloring can go a long way.
Making the most effective use of the working area you have is what workplace design is all about. That includes creating spaces that can be used for many purposes. There are plenty of furniture and design elements which can be incorporated into your office, such as movable walls, flexible seating arrangements and portable workstations, that make it easier to change the mood and purpose of a space. For example, a large room can be a boardroom with a long table, a client meeting space by using temporary but classy partitions, and a relaxed, chill-out area with bean bags and games tables.