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Why Office Design Improves Productivity

Updated: Oct 23, 2023

Improving Staff Productivity

Do you want to improve the productivity of your people? Are you aware that your people aren’t performing as well as they used to or need to, and are looking for ways to get more from them? Today, we’ll be going through the 4 major reasons that office design improves staff productivity. We’ll also explain how you can apply these at your company to improve the productivity of your people.


By the end of this article, you’ll understand exactly why office design affects the productivity of your staff. You’ll also be on the path to improving productivity at your company, armed with the knowledge of how to make your people more productive.


Why Office Design Affects Productivity

When we’re working with our clients to design their new or refurbished office space, one of their most common concerns is improving staff performance. It’s obvious why. Companies with highly productive staff are 30-50% more profitable than their average competitors. However, in the last few years, most UK companies have seen a 3-6% drop in staff productivity.


The 4 pillars of productivity are training, wellbeing, goals, and work environment. When improving staff productivity, many companies look at “soft” factors like training and goals. However, the environment your people work in also has a huge impact on their performance. This can be both physical and psychological. Here we’ll focus on the psychological aspect – the why. For a more tactical “how and what” approach to improving staff productivity with your office design, read this article.


Engagement

The importance of staff engagement is often talked about. Few people, however, know what it actually means, and what you can do to improve it in your office. Employee engagement is the nature of the relationship between your company and your staff. An engaged employee is someone who is fully absorbed by and enthusiastic about their work. As a result, they take positive action to further the organization's reputation and interests. An engaged employee has a positive attitude towards the organization and its values.


The impact of engagement on their productivity is huge. According to research by the Harvard Business Review, an engaged employee is 45% more productive than a merely satisfied worker. An inspired employee — one who has a profound personal connection to their work and/or their company ― is more than twice as productive as a satisfied worker. However, Gallup studies have reported that as much as 87% of the world's workforce is not engaged.


How to Improve Engagement

So how can you improve your staff’s relationship with your company through office design? It is crucial that your office is a welcoming, enjoyable place to be. If your office is a drab, dark place filled with desks, how will your staff have a good relationship with your company? It simply won’t happen.


Your office also needs to reflect your brand. Many companies think of branding as a logo in the reception and a couple of walls in the brand colours, but an on-brand office is much more than that. it includes the entire experience your people have whilst in the office – from the atmosphere to the seats to the coffee. It all affects the mindset of your staff. Making sure your office is on brand is crucial to improving the relationship between your staff and your company.


Wellbeing

Many company leaders think of wellbeing as contradictory to productivity. The reality is good staff wellbeing is crucial to their long-term productivity. Yes, they may be more productive in the short term if you force them to work from desks all day every day and put them under a lot of pressure. However, over time, their motivation and performance will drop. Your best people will also leave. Workplaces with poor wellbeing tend to have high absenteeism. Workers in the UK lose an average of 30.4 working days a year due to sickness, or illness-related underperformance, costing the economy £78bn.


Personal health and wellbeing have risen up on staff priority lists in recent years, and are now among the top concerns of office workers. However, only 21% of firms say their workspace is designed around wellbeing and the workforce experience.


How to Improve Wellbeing

To improve well-being in your office, biophilic design is crucial. Biophilic design maximises the use of natural resources and materials in your offices. This includes everything from natural light to wooden surfaces. Modern offices maximising biophilic design have reported a 30% decrease in sickness-related absences. They also reported an increase in cognition and sleep quality.


Another important part of productivity in your office is the use of ergonomic furniture. The use of sit-stand desks and ergonomic task chairs, as well as ergonomic collaboration furniture, is essential. High-quality ergonomic design has significant health benefits for your people. This in turn leads to an average 25% improvement in productivity. When your people are comfortable, they can focus on their tasks, improving their profitability.


Creativity

Creativity is another skill that can sometimes be seen as conflicting with productivity. 80% of staff feel that their employer pressures them to be productive rather than creative. However, being inventive and original is crucial to long-term performance and productivity. Companies that invest in creativity are 78% more likely to increase productivity. These companies will also see other benefits such as innovation and improved profitability.


While there are many factors that impact staff creativity, one of the most important is their environment. If your office is a drab and uninspiring desk farm, their ability to be creative will be severely constrained. Meanwhile, an inspiring, on-brand workspace will encourage them to be more innovative and to do it in a way that aligns with your company.


How to Improve Creativity

To improve creativity at your company, you need to cater to both team and individual creativity. At a team level, providing informal collaboration spaces is absolutely essential, and we’ll cover that in more detail shortly.


There are also several things you can do to encourage individual creativity in your office. Customisability is crucial. It is more than just providing a variety of environments. Customisability allows your people to adapt their environment to meet their needs even better. Modular or moveable partitions and furniture will allow your people to work in a space that perfectly suits their needs, improving creativity.


Collaboration

While personal performance is important, the productivity of your staff as a whole is far more important. To do this, you need to combine personal productivity with effective teamwork. Hybrid working has completely changed the way we use the office. With its lack of distractions, home working is perfect for individual work. As a result, the office is no longer the only place to work, but it’s now the best place to collaborate.


To do this, having people together is far more effective. According to recent research, remote meetings generate on average 10.43 ideas, while in-person meetings generate an average of 13.36. In-person collaboration is not only more effective but leads to better business outcomes. High-quality collaboration spaces that enable your team to work well together are an essential part of the modern office.


How to Improve Collaboration

Collaboration spaces are more than just meeting rooms or kitchen areas. 3 years ago, most offices featured about 10% collaboration space. Today’s office designs feature between 30 and 45% collaboration space. If your office is still all desks and boardrooms, communication and collaboration will be stifled. This will make your teams less creative and efficient, which will drag down company performance.


Collaboration is not one size fits all. It happens in a wide variety of ways, with different numbers of people. To cater for this, you need to make sure your space is as adaptable as possible. There are a wide variety of movable and modular furniture solutions available from seats to presentation boards. Your people need an easy way to congregate and share ideas, so every collaboration space looks different.


Designing Your Office For Productivity

Productivity is essential for business performance. Making sure your staff are engaged and connected with your company and workspace will make them far more productive. An office design that maximises wellbeing will ensure the physical and mental health of your staff so that they can be as effective as possible. Creativity will help ensure the long-term performance of your company and people alike. Facilitating collaboration will allow them to work together will mean your company is performing as well as it can be.


To learn more about how you can improve the productivity of your people, download our new ultimate guide: office design and productivity. It’ll cover everything you need to know about office design and productivity. Included is why office design matters for productivity, office environments that improve productivity, and design features that improve productivity. Download it here.


For a more tactical explanation of office design & productivity, head on over to our blog “How to Maximise Staff Productivity with Office Design”. There, you will get a better understanding of the top 10 factors that can improve your staff performance, and how to implement them in your office.

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