It is no secret that the way we work has changed dramatically over the last 18 months. Now, as companies across the UK start to look beyond the immediate return to the office, they are confronted with creating long term plans for the way they work.
The ultimate aim of any office fit-out or refurbishment is to maximise the productivity of your people, both in the short and long term. Over time, a productive office will have obvious and tangible benefits for the profitability of your people and your business.
A well-designed office can increase your productivity levels by 20%. Over time, that can translate into staggering results for your business, whether financial, social, or people-related. According to many studies, the single most important element that determines an employee’s ability to focus is their environment. No matter an employee’s role or seniority, their working environment is of prime importance.
There are many factors that impact the productivity of your people, but we have selected 4 of the most important and explained how they can affect productivity, as well as how to optimise these elements in your own office.
Ergonomics have a direct impact on the productivity of your team. If your furniture has inadequate ergonomics your people will be uncomfortable and unfocused, leading to a severe drop in output. Poor ergonomics will lead to health issues in the shoulders, necks, and backs of your staff. Not only does this lead to long-term physical problems, but the irritation and distractions caused by poor ergonomics further decrease the productivity of your people. This leads to higher levels of absenteeism and engagement in your workspace, causing a devastating downward spiral.
An ergonomically designed workspace can ensure your people have the correct posture, avoiding health issues and so improving focus and productivity. It can also have an impact on the job satisfaction of your people - Ergonomic office design can decrease staff absenteeism by almost 60%.
Not only can investing in an ergonomic workplace eliminate health issues, but it can also improve the wellbeing of your people by removing harmful distractions and frictions throughout their day, leading to higher levels of engagement and throughput. High-quality ergonomic design has significant health benefits for your people, which in turn leads to an average 25% improvement in productivity. When your people are comfortable, they can focus on their tasks, improving their profitability.
The importance of collaboration is not new - it’s a well-worn buzzword in the world of work. However, there is a reason collaboration is talked about so much. As the old saying goes, “if you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.” There are countless studies detailing the close correlation between collaboration and productivity. Without meaningful collaboration, companies aren’t able to maximize their potential and achieve their vision.
Collaboration is the fuel that drives any successful organisation, and creating spaces that people can work together has never been more important in the workspace. After all, the reason so many people and companies are keen to return to the office (full or part-time) is the one element you can’t get alone: true collaboration.
You can increase the levels of collaboration in your office by creating a varied range of environments designed for different types of collaboration. From large group brainstorms to small group analysis sessions, collaboration comes in innumerable shapes and sizes. Maximising the levels of collaboration in your office will have incomparable long-term benefits for the productivity of your teams.
While collaboration is often talked about, its almost-as-important counterpart – privacy – is neglected. This is because, unsurprisingly, the extroverts who favour collaboration are more outspoken on the topic. It’s important to recognise that the chief reason behind the unexpected productivity boom at the start of the pandemic was the privacy that people had when working from home. This enabled them to focus much better on their roles, carrying out tasks with much less time lost due to distractions.
However, it is impractical to think that telling your people to work some days from how and some from the office will fix this conundrum. Your people won’t be as productive as they can be if they are expected to ‘focus’ all day on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, then ‘collaborate’ all day on Tuesday and Thursday.
Ensuring your people have somewhere to focus in peace and quiet when in the office will give them far greater flexibility to fulfil the different roles and tasks they need to. Acoustic pods and booths can create mini havens that enable your staff to disconnect from all that is happening around them and focus on getting work done- the crucial part of productivity.
Technology is also at the heart of making your people as productive as possible. While technology has led to a dramatic rise in efficiency over the last 20 years, it can still cause serious problems. UK workers spend around 2.4 hours a week struggling with inadequate technology. Making sure your technology works properly could make your people 6% more productive!
Technology kept us working throughout the pandemic and is now just as important to bring hybrid teams together. The risk of remote workers feeling excluded and becoming disengaged is very high, and this can have serious equality and inclusion issues for your business. The effective use of technology and workspace design is essential to negate this risk, ensuring all of your people remain productive, wherever they are.
It’s essential to have the different environments that your people require to complete their different roles, equipped with digital tools that empower teams to work together no matter where, when, or how they’re located. A tech-enabled workspace can make your people much more efficient by saving time on repetitive tasks and wasted time. It can also free them up to spend more time on creative and innovative work, generating greater productive returns for your investment.
Productive Office Design
Good space planning and office design incorporate and promote the right technology that will guide your people towards ever-greater productivity. In today’s constantly shifting and extremely competitive markets, a highly motivated and productive workforce will enable you to remain agile and profitable, giving you a cutting edge over the competition.
Looking to boost productivity in your workplace? Get in touch to discuss how you can make your office more productive and profitable. Through workspace consultancy, we can help understand your office and your people, collecting measurable insights into your office space and your people. The results enable you to make intelligent data-informed decisions, helping you to streamline costs whilst creating ensure a smarter, optimised workspace with more productive people.