Turns out that office designs are going through a major renaissance – disrupting the traditional workspace design norms and accelerating towards a more people-centred approach.
There is more conversation about workspace designs that genuinely value employee experience and produce desired productivity outcomes.
But can the design of an office affect your employees’ productivity? How exactly do you optimize the physical workspace to build a more productive and engaged team?
Let’s address these questions one by one.
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How Does Office Space Impact Productivity?
Many leaders need to realize that the productivity of employees is as good as their office design. Some workplaces are more efficient than others because of their plans. Moreover, the physical aspects of such spaces also reflect the values and priorities of their business leaders.
Research has shown that well-organized and comfortable office spaces elevate the overall mood of employees, encouraging them to be more creative and productive. In addition, an inspiring work environment has a powerful impact on the workers’ performance, leading them to derive greater job satisfaction.
Properly-designed offices spark collaboration and innovation amongst the staff. After all, some of the most creative ideas have come from water cooler chats.
Health-friendly designs get people moving and stay active rather than vegetating in one place all day long. Offering them their little spaces to recharge works like a dream in – increasing workforce engagement and productivity, improving the company’s profitability.
6 Ways to Design Highly Productive Office Spaces
Workspace design can help or harm productivity. But you do not have to go to extreme lengths to set up an efficient workplace. Making amendments to office design is an excellent start in itself.
What can follow next for maximum productivity is incorporating the below features within your office design. Every feature may only sit well with some offices’ specifics, but you can always draw some inspiration for yours.
1. A Mix of Workspaces and Seating
Let’s all agree on this: Tying employees exclusively to one desk is no longer effective; rather, it is counterproductive. Plus, changing their position every now and then helps them break the monotony and retain their energy levels.
To achieve this, give your employees an agile work environment through activity-based design. Typically, these are blended spaces with a mix of private, semi-private, and open workspaces. The employees have the flexibility to choose the seating arrangements that perfectly fit their preferences and support the task at hand.
For example, there may be an area for marketing brainstorming, another for collaboration, and yet another for “thinking” tasks. Such autonomy fosters a sense of comfort, making them more focused.
- Incorporate a combination of sitting and standing desks.
- Design a space for solo working.
- Create collaborative spaces.
- Allow the re-configuring of available space with sliding glass partitions and movable furniture. It not only adjusts to their needs but also keeps them fresh.
2. Layout for Free Movement
Besides individual desks, one must also focus on how employees interact with the whole space, where everything will be placed, and how that affects the way your people move.
So should everything employees need be within reach so much so that they hardly have to leave their desks to get the work done? No – it’s the opposite. It should create opportunities for them to get up from their desks and recalibrate once in a while.
Moving around for short periods throughout the day evidently lowers stress levels by giving the much-needed mental rest between work time. Moreover, it improves the sense of autonomy and comfort in the workspace.
Naturally, office layout should be designed for effortless mobility and activity of employees.
- Place copiers, coffee machines, printers, and other shared resources in a separate place.
- A distinct pantry or snack station can also be an excellent reminder to get up and move occasionally.
- Various spaces for different tasks will give them a break from their desks.
3. Space Designated to Inspire Collaboration
Quite often, collaborative discussions are more valuable than individual creativity. No matter how precisely we design our offices to promote individual productivity, the setup is incomplete if it doesn’t create opportunities for employees to collaborate.
Collaborative spaces can be as simple as a corner with a table and few chairs, where people can interact and get new perspectives without pre-booking a meeting room.
Moreover, whiteboards and blackboards across the office make intelligent design features for employees to capture and share the “eureka” ideas on the go.
Huddle rooms are another great option to spur collaboration, especially for the teams using coworking spaces and who want a bit of privacy to perform presentations.
4. Create a Break-Out Area
Any space without a predetermined purpose and where employees can relax or catch up with others is a break-out area. Today, they have transformed from convenience to necessity.
More relaxed vibes of break-out areas make it a perfect place to make calls and meet visitors and clients. In addition, it allows employees across the organization to interact and exchange ideas.
The best part is that you can create one simply by putting together a couple of chairs and a table against a wall. Since such spaces are pretty unstructured in nature, you can also easily modify them in unconventional ways to suit your purpose.
5. Resort to a Greener Way
Try to recall the feeling of tranquillity invoked by lush greenery when you were on your refreshing holiday!
It is no secret that humans have always intrinsically craved for and tried to maintain a connection with nature.
There is a wealth of research-based evidence that presents visible links between plants and an individual’s well-being and productivity. Especially, work settings that expose employees to significant amounts of greenery are found to have a more stress-free workforce than fluorescent-lit, unnatural spaces.
While we must keep the window views of urban jungles of concrete, there are many ways, big and small, to incorporate plants into your workspace design and offer employees the green gateway to productivity.
- Create living walls with plenty of plant options such as moss, climbers, florals, etc. As aesthetic as it can be, it also doubles up as a partition to separate different areas in the office.
- If you have high ceilings, floating baskets or green ceilings help you make the most out of your vertical space.
- Embellish the outdoor area by converting it into a rooftop garden.
- The simplest but just as effective way is to use floor pots and desk plants.
6. Let There Be Light
Raise the blinds and pull back the curtains because natural light has the potential to make employees feel happier and more productive. On the contrary, poor lighting hampers their circadian rhythm leading to negative impacts on health and performance.
An obvious way to make the workplace brighter with natural light is to install or enlarge windows that face east, south, or west. Unfortunately, not every space can allow for enough windows.
So, here are some tricks to help you maximize the amount of natural light in the office:
- Include a colour palette that is bright and glossy so it can reflect the light.
- A white ceiling helps to bring more light into your space.
- Skylights and sun tunnels are effective means to stream in natural light.
- Another trick is to get rid of dark and bulky furniture.
Office design is so complex that we could only scratch the surface. Also, the need to address the unique specifications about the workforce and the workspace, adds more layers to the topic.
But these keys will help the captains of the ship to make conscious decisions whilst getting started with the office designs that let their employees have space to be productive at their best.