Production is the ultimate goal of almost all work. Finding ways to help encourage workers be more productive is something most businesses are interested in, since increased productivity generally correlates to increased revenue. From specialized perks like free food and game rooms to flexible schedules and increased time off, there’s almost nothing off-limits when it comes to making employees happier and more productive. But what about the workplace itself? Are there ways to improve the work environment itself to increase productivity?
Design and Productivity at the Office
Here are some ways that workplaces are adjusting their designs to increase productivity for their workers at the office.
Many people think of design as strictly aesthetics, but designs can be beautiful as well as functional. When it’s done well, interior design is more than just paint, furniture, and art. A well-designed space can foster community, increase positivity, and improve overall productivity by creating a place where employees feel engaged, rather than trapped. To be most effective, designs should include splashes of color, open space, and lots of natural light.
Though the concept of an open workspace has been all the rage recently, studies show that workers are actually more productive when they have some privacy. Many employees working in open floor plan spaces report lower productivity because of the feeling that someone is always watching or listening. Many employees in open spaces are also less likely to pursue or discuss radical or groundbreaking ideas in such a completely open forum which can stymy innovation. If you are committed to an open space concept, be sure to add some areas where individuals can also go to have some privacy when needed. It will help everyone be more comfortable and productive.
Noise is distracting. While some workers are better than others at tuning out extraneous sounds, noise is still an interruption that disrupts workflow and reduces productivity. While no one is suggesting that everyone work in total silence, there should be areas that are considered quiet spaces so those who want to can work in peace. When employees can work with fewer distractions, increased productivity won’t be far behind.
Giving employees the flexibility to adjust their work environments is a huge factor in productivity. In addition to options for privacy and quiet spaces, offering other amenities such as adjustable desks, temperature control, different varieties of ergonomic chairs, different lighting options, etc are great ways to allow employees to craft a workspace that truly works for them. Allowing employees to move around and work from different types of spaces such as private offices, open spaces, meeting rooms, collaborative spaces, etc can also improve productivity.
Another way flexibility can be used to ramp up productivity is through flexible work schedules and remote work. Allowing employees to work when and where they prefer is a valued perk that often increases productivity in large percentages. Happy employees are more productive and employees are happier when they have some control over when and where they work.
Design and Productivity at Home
With much of the world working from home due to Covid-19, many people have struggled to adjust to this new way of working. If people didn’t already regularly work from home, finding a way to do so and remain productive might be a challenge. Just like in a traditional office, a well-designed home workspace can make it easier to focus on work and be more productive.
While at a traditional office, many employees like the freedom of choice in where they work, at home the reverse is usually true. Many people working remotely like to have a dedicated workspace in order to more easily switch their mindset from “home” to “work.” If possible, choose a dedicated workspace with a door that can be closed and some amount of natural light. With a dedicated space, it will be easier to minimize the distractions of home to be more productive.
If you’re working from home regularly, don’t settle for the too-small table with the broken office chair. Having a comfortable workspace is essential to productivity. Some companies offer reimbursement for office supplies even when working from home, so see if there’s an available budget to get set up with the equipment you need to do your job most effectively. The investment will be worth it, since being comfortable in your workspace will ultimately make you more productive there, as well.
If you suddenly found yourself working from home, then you might have scrambled to put together a workspace without much thought about design. But if you’re going to be working from home regularly, then it might be time to take a step back and see what you can do to improve the design of the space to make it work better, and ultimately, help you work better. Even small changes, like rearranging furniture, removing clutter, or adding a splash of color can do wonders to improve a space and increase productivity.
How does your current workspace make you feel? What changes do you think would make you more productive?