Office design has a profound influence on the quality and speed of peoples’ work – even if they are not aware of it.
Linda Trim, Director at workplace design specialists Giant Leap said: “Studies examining productivity at work have shown that the physical space in which people work has the biggest impact on their ability to focus on getting work done. In addition, improving workplace design can increase a worker to be more productive, by 20 to 30 percent.”
Here are ‘commandments’ of design to make workspaces much more comfortable and productive spaces:
Be colour clever
Different colours have different effects on how we feel.
“For example, yellow has a relaxing effect, while blue has proven to create a productive attitude, as well as to create the impression of professionalism,” Trim noted.
This doesn’t necessarily mean that all of the walls in your office should be blue, but it wouldn’t hurt to include blue in your overall colour scheme.
“Unfortunately, when most offices are designed, light is one of the last things to be given consideration. This is why many office spaces are lit with harsh fluorescent lighting,“ said Trim.
The results of bad lighting can be headaches, difficulties with visibility, and poor mood. It’s best to try bulbs that mimic natural lighting and provide each work area with its own source of light that can be adjusted for both brightness and placement.
If they are available, encourage open blinds to let in natural light whenever possible.
The recent trend towards open-plan workplace design makes it tricky to block out other peoples’ noise.
“While this design may be budget-friendly, it certainly isn’t conducive to productivity or a productive environment. If the budget won’t allow everyone enclosed workspace, consider adding a few private work areas for people who work on tasks that require a lot of focus,“ Trim advised.
Air quality is a design choice
Poor air quality can result in stuffy, stale air that creates an uncomfortable work environment for anybody, but it can be particularly hard for people who are asthmatic or prone to upper respiratory infections.
“Poor air is also directly attributed to the increase in sick time and results in a less productive atmosphere,’” said Trim.
Fans, air filters, and open windows can help a lot. If windows cannot be opened, then an air filtration system could be considered. Live plants are all a good way to clean the air and produce oxygen.
Comfortable & customisable individual workspaces
One of the most important considerations when designing a company work environment is providing tables and chairs that are comfortable for everybody in the office. “Of course, the only way to accomplish this is to provide adjustable chairs to accommodate personal preferences and varying heights. If possible, also provide desks or tables that can be adjusted for height and allow employees to have a say in how their workstations are configured,” Trim advised.
Too much clutter creates a kind of visual pollution that many people find distracting, making it nearly impossible for some people to be productive.
In a workplace with many people, clutter can also create resentment towards messy people from those who are tidy.
“Problems with clutter can be mitigated with policy, but it is also important to provide people with plenty of storage space,” said Trim.
Provide different work areas for productive morale-boosting
There is simply no one workspace that is appropriate for every task for employees.
“It is, therefore, a good idea to provide a variety of work areas. It will be helpful for an office to have a couple of open areas with big tables for collaborations, a few smaller enclosed conference rooms, and quiet work areas. Even adding a few colourful couches is morale-boosting and great for less formal chats, ” Trim advised.