Putting together an inspired workforce takes more than a promising compensation package. Where one works has been proven to have a huge impact on how one is productive during the workday. This means that the design of your workplace—whether it’s at home or at an office environment—is of maximum importance. There are several studies that indicate that the prime factor for employee productivity is physical environment. However, despite all the studies, several businesses and employers don’t think of workplace design as a good business investment.
There are a lot of little things you can do to make your office or cubbyhole less chaotic, like using woven lanyards to organize your keys and IDs or establishing certain work habits. If you’re serious about sprucing up your workplace, here are some proven workplace hacks that promote focus and productivity:
- Sufficient Lighting
This is probably one of the least invested factors in workplace design, despite its effectiveness in boosting morale and productivity. The stereotypical office setup is usually a windowless space lit up with harsh fluorescent lights. This and other bad lighting setups have been known to cause eye strain, fatigue, headaches, melatonin suppression, and irritability. It can also ultimately lead to depression. A sunlit room is the ideal, as sunlight positively affects vitamin D production and the body’s circadian rhythms—qualities that relate to motivation and alertness.
While having wide unobstructed windows is ideal, not all offices have them. The best alternative is to install lighting fixtures that simulate daylight. So instead of halogens, soft and natural-toned bulbs would be better, as well as LED lighting.
- Proper Room Temperature
65-68 degrees Fahrenheit is the average temperature in many work environments—especially offices—but apparently this is not so great with productivity. Studies have shown that increasing the temperatures to range to about 68 to 77 degrees drastically improved productivity.
It’s best to turn the temperature to the colder side as it would be easier for workers to just bring extra layers, but not to dial the crank to intolerable coldness. If you can’t control the thermostat yourself then it would be best to provide portable heaters and fans to employees to ensure their comfort.
- Go Green
Instead of leaving corners and spaces empty, pop a pretty potted plant in there. Studies show that putting plants in a workplace increased productivity by up to 15%. The color green has been said to reduce eye strain, and there are also certain plants that improve oxygen circulation in enclosed spaces. As living things, we are affected by our exposure—or lack thereof—to the natural world. It’s important both psychologically and physiologically, which affects productivity.
If your work space has no windows or access to sunlight that would keep plants alive, then it would be best to bring photos of them. Set lush, natural landscapes as screensavers. Or instead of putting up promotional quotes on the wall, put a framed photo or painting of a plant there instead.
- Diverse Spaces
Collaborative workplaces have been trendy as of late, and while they do have perks (encouragement of communication and brainstorming), studies indicate that they’re actually not ideal for overall productivity. Open spaces with no boundaries or privacy tend to unnerve and disturb employees, especially when they’re trying their best to focus. It also tends to be noisy and bothersome, as movement is more visible to everyone.
It’s important to create a perfect balance of individual privacy and collaborative spaces in any office. Creating a floor plan that strategically sets smart spaces—not to insulated and not too open—is ideal. For long established offices, however, designating comfortable spaces such as private rooms and corners for employees whenever they need to focus is a good alternative. Other solutions include offering employees headphones or enforcing quiet hours.
Investing in improving your office space is a must if you want your employees to be more focused on their work. While this move might entail expenses for your business at first, you’ll stand to gain much more by boosting your employees’ morale and productivity levels.