There are countless studies that prove that a happy environment relates strongly to a productive one, ranging from everything from the hours people work to the lighting within the office. Increase your team’s productivity with these 3 design tricks
Creating an environment that your team want to spend time in, where they feel comfortable enough to express their ideas and confident enough to collaborate with their peers can be a difficult task and may initially seem overwhelming.
Whilst each business is different in its specific needs and the needs of the people within the office, there are some simple fundamental design tricks that can help to boost productivity and can help your workplace to thrive.
1) Create an amazing quiet zone
Whilst open office designs can reduce design costs and increase office capacity, there are a number of research pieces that suggest it can actually be detrimental to productivity. There are times at work when we need to collaborate and interact with others, but there are also times in which we need to focus on an individual task without the disturbance of a busy office happening around us.
(There is a reason that the quiet carriages on trains are often filled with the noise of laptop keyboards tapping away while people strive for the time to focus on tasks they may not get the chance to complete once the distractions of the day begin).
An effective quiet space means more than simply putting blinds on one of the old meeting rooms, it takes careful consideration and complimentary design to ensure it achieves its purpose.
Whilst a great quiet zone is much more than simply the removal of background noise, the location you choose to position your space is obviously very important. You should ensure it is accessible for all but partitioned from the main office space enough to remain silent enough for employees to concentrate without distraction.
After all, you want all employees to benefit from the space without it being assimilated into one department’s zone and become completely underutilized. It should not fall victim to a regular stream of passing traffic that can often cause visual distractions, an equally disruptive factor as sound but often overlooked in favour of minimising sound.
The furniture and colours you choose within this space should also compliment the feeling you are looking to create within your new quiet zone. It’s always a good idea to remember that we have multiple senses and the notion of ‘quiet’ should involve designing a space that has a calming effect each of our senses.
2) Design vertically to declutter
As anyone with young children will attest to, clutter and mess can be the biggest threat to productivity and be one of the largest challenges we face in creating a productive office space. Whilst it is easy to advocate a minimalist office design with large expanses of open spaces and zero storage, in the real world this may not be fully practical for the way your business is functioning right now and you need to ensure your impromptu clear-out doesn’t cause more problems for productivity than it solves.
One amazingly simple and effective design solution to minimise clutter is to begin to think about your space vertically as well as horizontally. The majority of cluttering within an office comes from horizontally scattering of all your work-related paraphernalia across the vast expanses of desk spaces that inadvertently fill our eyelines when we need to focus on a task at hand.
Whilst desk space is, in most cases, a functional necessity, the reality is that minimising your horizontal desk spaces and re-designing your storage needs vertically can help your office to retain the clean and functional feeling that can drastically boost productivity. Examples of effective vertical storage include floating shelves, under-desk storage, hooks for utensils or corner shelving.
3) Invest in the right tools
As the old adage goes ‘a workman is only as good as his tools'. This not only applies to the tradesmen looking for the correct size spanner for the job, but it is also highly relevant when it comes to how productive your team can function within your office.
You may have the best and brightest workers in the world, if they spend more time troubleshooting their laptop issues or resetting the Wi-Fi password then don’t be surprised when stress levels go through the roof and deadlines start being missed.
With agile workspaces in increasingly high demand, the need for faster Wi-Fi, laptops and team collaboration software has become ever more important to a workforce looking to maximise their output.
Equally as important is the furniture you supply within your office. It is safe to assume that the majority of your employees will be seated for long periods of the day so providing comfortable, adjustable and ergonomic seating is very important in minimising discomfort and the risks associated with poor seating.
Not only will this minimise the inevitable sick days associated with bad backs, promoting good posture and comfort will boost employee wellbeing immeasurably. As a good rule of thumb, remember that happy employees are more productive employees.