Every day, businesses encourage employees to be more efficient and productive. There are dozens of ways to make this happen, such as implementing innovative technology and bringing in productivity experts.
However, in an office setting, workspace design can significantly impact small business productivity more than almost any other choice or strategy. Whether you have dozens of employees or work from home alone, setting up an efficient workspace is one of the best things you can do to improve your performance and care for your mental well-being.
Increasing business productivity is a multifaceted process. “Workplace productivity isn’t about getting from point A to point B in the fastest amount of time,” said Jamie Fertsch, director and co-founder of Xdesk. “[It’s about] getting the job done in the most efficient manner possible while still maintaining a level of happiness and well-being.”
Creating a more efficient, productive and innovative office requires attention to several aspects of setup and design:
Here are three steps for designing a productivity-enhancing workplace:
Desks and offices are the first things to consider when you’re designing a workspace. “Your personal workspace is one of the most overlooked factors that affect productivity,” Fertsch said. “Whether it’s rummaging through your drawers to locate an important document or having too many knickknacks, a clean and efficient desk setup is key to [workplace] success.”
Here are some tips for sprucing up individual workspaces:
When you’re designing a workspace for multiple employees, it’s essential to consider how they interact with the whole space. Evaluate where everything is located and how item placement affects how employees move through their day.
Careful resource placement doesn’t mean everything should be so convenient that employees never have to move from their desks. In fact, your workspace design should encourage employees to move around throughout the day to simultaneously reduce stress and boost productivity.
For example, put the copy machine in a separate space or have a central water cooler. A separate kitchen or break room can also give employees a reason to get up and a place to take a break without worrying about who will see them not working.
If you have an open office plan, your employees may need places to focus and finish work without interruptions. If your setup has cubicles or desks near each other, designate private offices or meeting spaces that employees can sign up to use when they must work without distractions.
Designing your office setup isn’t just about where you place the furniture. It also includes the elements that live — sometimes literally — within that design. These elements can significantly impact your employees’ physical and mental wellness and happiness at the office, all of which directly affect their work.
Consider the following tips for an optimal workspace design:
It’s long been known that lighting affects productivity and mood. In particular, the amount of natural light in your office can significantly impact health and productivity. According to the American Academy of Family Physicians, effective lighting can decrease depression and improve energy, mood and alertness.
Additionally, an often-cited study by the Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine found that a lack of natural light exposure in office environments can prompt abnormal sleep activity, creating a tired and sluggish workforce.
When you’re designing your office space, consider how small design elements can affect mood, health and general attitudes about work.
For example, keeping plants in the office or on employees’ desks can be beneficial. Research on behalf of the Flower Council of Holland found that 70 percent of respondents said plants improve the atmosphere at home and in the office, and 31 percent said plants help them concentrate while working. Additionally, a University of Exeter study found that people whose office environment included live plants scored 15 percent higher on creativity than those who worked with no plants.
Your office space could be making you depressed if it includes plain walls, artificial light, noise and a lack of personal space. Rectifying these elements can boost your employees’ overall well-being and increase your business’s success.
A flexible workspace design incorporates many of the productivity-boosting design tips we’ve explored. Unlike traditional offices, flexible workspaces aren’t organized around assigned desks or closed-door offices.
In contrast, flexible workspaces use nontraditional designs to create multipurpose spaces that anyone can use. These may be workstations with desks, meeting spaces, open conference tables, comfortable chairs, private nooks or other spaces where workers can sit (or stand) and do their job.
Flexible offices provide the following benefits: