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Poor Office Design Can Damage Staff Productivity. Here’s How To Fix It

Updated: Apr 25

Office Design and Productivity

90% of company executives think that a successful office design is crucial to increasing the employees’ productivity. However, productivity has long been a concern for companies. The last few years have seen a 3-6% drop in staff productivity. The sad reality is, that most offices are damaging the performance of their people.


As an office design & build company, we often speak to companies that are looking at ways to improve their staff productivity. When surveying their offices, we often find the same 5 things that are holding their people back. In this article, we’ll go through those 5 factors, as well as how you can resolve them in your workspace. By the end, you’ll be able to identify if you are suffering from any of these factors, and you’ll be able to fix them.


To learn more about office design and productivity, download the Ultimate Guide to Office Design and Productivity. We’ll give you the full breakdown of the why, the how, and the what of staff productivity and office design. First, we’ll explain why office design has such a big impact on the performance of your business. We’ll then go through the types of spaces you need in your office to maximise your staff productivity, and finally, the specific design features you need to do that.


How Office Design Damages Productivity

No Variety

One of the most common ways that office design limits staff productivity is by not having a variety of spaces that match the way staff work. If all your office offers is rows and rows of desks, your people will struggle to collaborate. They may also not have enough privacy to focus on deep work without distractions. A lack of focus space is the 4th most common reason office design limits staff productivity.


Bland Design

If the design of your office is bland and generic like so many other offices, your people will find it an uninspiring place to work. Unfortunately, this is the case for a lot of offices. 48% of office workers feel uninspired by their workplace design. Even worse, 42% say their office doesn’t make them feel valued. This is very detrimental to their productivity.


Noise Levels

The second most common reason office design limits staff productivity is noisy colleagues, with 34% of staff saying this affects their performance. If your staff are packed too closely together or the acoustic design of your space is poor, then this will be a major problem. As well as lowering performance in the short term, it will also lead to a long-term loss of job satisfaction.


Poor Ergonomics

Over a third of UK office workers have suffered back or neck issues as a result of ergonomically poor furniture. If your staff are affected by this, it will not only be reducing their performance, it may well lead to time off work. This would further lower their productivity – quite aside from the impact on their health.


Outdated Technology

Technology is another common cause of low staff productivity, with nearly 30% of staff saying it limits their output. Workspace technology has changed rapidly over the last 5 years. If your own office technology hasn’t improved in this time, then it will be holding your people back.


How to Fix Poor Productivity With Office Design

Include Different Environments

Improving the variety of office environments is about much more than reducing the amount of desks in your space and adding a collaborative working area. You need to study how your staff work, and then create spaces that match their different working styles. Collaboration spaces are essential, but they also need to be tailored to how your people work in teams. Focussed spaces where staff can work without distractions are essential. To learn more about the different types of spaces to include in your office, read How Much Office Space Do I Need?


Culture-Tailored Design

If your office is just another bland design, you won’t get the best out of your people. Your people need an inspiring environment that brings your company culture to life. This is about much more than cosmetics, like decoration and signage. It includes the entire experience your people have in the office – including the location, the layout, the environments and the design features. To learn more about creating an office that reflects and enhances your company culture, read How to Create an On-Brand Office.


Consider Wellbeing

To optimise the productivity of your staff, optimising their physical and mental health is essential. This goes further than ergonomic furniture, though that is obviously important. Air quality and temperature is the most common cause of low productivity according to office workers, so you need to make sure this is optimal. Daylight-balanced LED lighting can improve staff productivity by 20% compared to outdated systems. Office plants and other biophilic designs can also improve the wellbeing and productivity of your people.


Improve Technology

Technology won’t improve staff performance by itself. However, it can limit their output and create a very frustrating workspace experience. To complement a variety of working environments, staff need portable technology that allows them to work from anywhere. They will also need effective hybrid meeting technology to collaborate with remote colleagues.


Improving Productivity in Your Office

Staff productivity is crucial to the success of your company. Without effective and motivated staff, your company will be much less efficient and innovative. Companies with productive staff are 30-50% more profitable than their less productive competitors. However, the role of office design in productivity is often neglected. Many offices are substandard, which limits the performance of their staff.


Now you know the 5 common reasons why poor office design damages staff productivity, you can look at your own office and survey your staff to see if your office is affected by any of these issues. If so, you can look at how to fix those issues, improving the overall performance of your company.


To learn more about office design and productivity, download the Ultimate Guide to Office Design and Productivity. We’ll give you the full breakdown of the why, the how, and the what of staff productivity and office design. First, we’ll explain why office design has such a big impact on the performance of your business. We’ll then go through the types of spaces you need in your office to maximise your staff productivity, and finally, the specific design features you need to do that.


To go even further in improving your staff performance in your office, read How to Maximise Productivity Through Office Design. You’ll learn about the 10 factors that can improve your staff performance, and how to implement them in your office.

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