People typically spend almost as much time in their offices as in their homes. It therefore makes sense to have office spaces that are as comfortable as possible to boost employee productivity.
Spending all your working days in a dull, drab office can sap your energy, leaving you uninspired and unmotivated. A well-designed office, on the other hand, can get your creative juices flowing, allowing you to get more work done in a shorter time.
Open-office plans versus cubicles
Most offices have already made the shift from cubicles to open-plan spaces in the last decade or two. In the beginning, open offices were hailed as a great thing because they encouraged transparency and collaboration among employees. However, despite their obvious advantages, open-office plans are also linked to poor employee focus and privacy. Employees in such offices often find it harder to concentrate on their solo projects and suffer constant interruptions, intentional or not, from their colleagues. This, of course, has a direct impact on their productivity.
Cubicles on the other hand risk making employees feel detached and disconnected from each other. The physical separation can lead to division amongst the ranks and can make it difficult for people to collaborate on team projects. Once again, this leads to poor productivity. As you can see, the best office space needs a balance between these two common office plans.
Productive office spaces
Designing a productive office space calls for more than just arranging and rearranging workstations, you should take the lighting, ventilation and other things into consideration.
Here are some tips on how to go about designing an office space that boosts productivity:
* Keep the noise down.
Loud noises, traffic, constantly ringing phones and even the low hum of conversation can be distracting. These sounds can cut into your concentration and prevent you from carrying out your duties. Even worse, noise can cause headaches, fatigue and irritability. To avoid this, you need to find ways to absorb or block extraneous noises. Acoustic ceiling tiles, for instance, are ideal for sound absorption while dividers placed between work desks can minimise employee exposure to noise.
* Provide adequate lighting.
The right lighting in your office can improve visibility, concentration and lift your mood. Conversely, poor lighting will make you strain your eyes, eventually leading to eye problems and headaches. Since nothing is better than natural light, your office should have large windows to let in as much sunlight as possible during the day. You can have bespoke window shutters made for your windows to give you the freedom to control how much light you want in the office. Additionally, you can use ‘daylight’ bulbs at night as these are gentle on the eyes.
* Consider office ergonomics.
If you and your colleagues sit for long hours at a time and regularly complain of neck pain, backaches, eye strain and other body aches, then poor ergonomics could be to blame. To ease your pain and improve your productivity, you need to ensure that the desk and computer you use are at the right height for you. You should also get an adjustable chair that provides adequate back support to keep you from slumping as you work.
* Reduce clutter.
Thanks to computers, offices now no longer have the ubiquitous filing cabinet that used to take up one office wall. These days you have multiple monitors, printers, telephones, photocopying machines and other gadgets to help you work faster. Unfortunately, these come with clutter of their own from tangled connecting wires and power leads. A cluttered office can
create confusion and can make you waste precious time as you try to locate any items you need for work. The solution to this is to encourage employees to store things neatly once they are done using them. Wires and cables should be kept out of the way by fixing them along the walls or placing them underneath desks where they’ll be less of a hazard.
* Ensure the temperature is right.
A cold office can have you shivering too much to concentrate while a hot one makes you sweaty and drowsy. Both temperature extremes are uncomfortable and can affect your ability to work. While some people might tell you to simply put on more – or less – clothing, the solution might be as simple as adjusting the office AC. Although the right room temperature for the office differs with location, a temperature of 21-23 degrees centigrade is ideal for most places.
An employer who wants to get the most from his employees should make a point of designing a comfortable and productive office space. This will boost productivity as well as improve morale and motivation among the employees.