What if your office environment could play a huge part in increasing the productivity of your team? Well, hold onto your hats because it can – and we’re about to tell you how.
Whether you’re designing for a big or small space, the ability to get the most out of the working day really is greatly impacted by the interior design of the office. Promoting and boosting physical and emotional health is all about the way the office works for those spending time in it.
A dedicated break room like this one we worked on for Harworth in Leeds is exactly the kind of thing that allows staff to relax and socialise during their breaks, returning to their work refreshed and ready to go.
The most productive workplace designs are comfortable, efficient and visually appealing. (That’s right, being functional doesn’t have to mean you forget all about the beauty of the space!) Rather than just a place for head-down work, this is a destination for people to collaborate, socialise, solve problems together and thrive. Let’s look at the ways you can encourage that with the design of the space.
A sterile space isn’t an inspiring space. If you want people to be happy, you’ll need to give them a space that makes them feel happy and creative, not depressed! Think bright colours, personal touches, plenty of light and plants – we’ll go into these aspects a little more in a minute but first, let’s take a moment to focus on colour.
We couldn’t talk about colour without mentioning Circus PPC! You couldn’t fail to feel uplifted in this space!
It’s something we’ve covered previously here but the best colour and specific shade for you often depends on the nature of your work. Blue is usually best for mind-intensive work while red is better for physical work. Green creates a sense of balance or stability but yellow is great for creative work and for encouraging collaboration. Perhaps think about how different colours will work harmoniously together in your space, to influence your productivity in different ways.
So next on our list was light. Natural light is best but if that’s not easy for your location, get creative with a mix of transparent materials to share the existing light around and utilise artificial light to keep things bright and cheerful. Afterall, no one wants to work in a gloomy dungeon of an office, do they?
Natural light in particular has been shown to boost wellbeing and productivity, promote better sleep patterns, and reduce the chances of a variety of health problems, as we’ve discussed in more detail here.
Plants in interior design – referred to as biophilic design – is a great way to add a little pep to everyone’s step. It has been suggested that plants indoors help purify the air, lower stress, remind people of the great outdoors and lower anxiety. Not bad for a little leafy desk buddy or two. For a few more tips, tricks and details on how to choose the right plant for you, check out our post on Plants = Productivity.
Blueline Taxis wanted to make an impact with plants in their call centre space, particularly as a lot of their team work well into the night.
In fact, let’s go one better. We don’t just want your furniture to be comfortable, we want it to be the most ergonomic furniture possible. A bad desk setup can lead to back and neck pain, migraines and lower overall wellbeing over time, which certainly won’t be productive. Have you ever tried to work through a migraine?
Encouraging neutral posture when working means your body is aligned correctly and no stress is being added to one particular area or another. Allowing for a more ergonomic working area will mean the workplace becomes far more efficient.
Factor organisation and storage into your workplace design early on, right from the very beginning of the planning stages. You won’t regret it. A tidy office means a tidy mind for most of us, and if things have a place to be tidied away into it certainly makes it a lot easier! Incorporate shelves, drawers, and cubbies to create logical, easy-to-access spaces for everything.
In commercial office design, we find this extends to your floor plan and how you arrange communal items, like the coffee machine, snacks, or the TV in a conference room too. A design partner or interior designer can help you work with your space to create a floor plan beneficial to the way people will naturally move in the space.
Space for downtime
Productivity doesn’t just magically increase by making people work more. It’s all about the balance. Breaktimes are crucial if you want to keep performance at a high level, so factoring in lounge space to relax and socialise is vital.
Relaxation doesn’t have to mean just sofas either! We gave West Barn Co. a swing to chill out on, and their team love it!
It’s just a fact that humans tend to be happier (and therefore more motivated) when they can interact and take a little break at work. This enables everyone to go back to their work post-break feeling more refreshed and re-energized.
We already should know that noise is an added psychosocial stress. When we’re trying to work, other conflicted loud noises are unwelcome and unhelpful. This will massively impact your office productivity, but installing some clever and well-thought-out acoustic panels to buffer the sound, or using strategic placement of different zones in the workplace can neutralise this.
With noisy interruptions reduced or removed, employees reported a 25% increase in satisfaction with their overall work environment and a 27% reduction in stress. Check out our past post for more tips and tricks for ways to help combat sound becoming an issue.
Keep an eye on the overall temperature of your workplace. A constant supply of fresh air through open windows is glorious but if it’s getting too chilly you might need to consider installing some air con to gain a little more control over the office climate. You ideally want to keep a consistent and comfortable temperature all year round to get the best out of your team. They’ll struggle to work as well if it’s too hot or too cold. Think about wall insulation, double glazing, fans and air con as ways to keep control. Check in with your employees on a regular basis to make sure they’re happy.
Large windows and doors are a great way to let fresh air and natural light into the office, just like this example in the BoxClever offices.
Hopefully this guide has been useful and highlighted how important it is for employers to invest in creating a more productive working environment, one which results in greater employee satisfaction and, therefore, improved performance.
If this is something we can help with, why not give us a call? We’d love to chat about ways your office could be improved for you and your team.