How to make your office space more productive
Offices are central to our economy, but they can actually have a bad effect on staff productivity. They can be cramped, too hot, too cold, too noisy, too spacious… and workers have to put up with these sub-par conditions and maintain focus and output.
If you have a small business, consistent productivity is vital, so here are some easy ways to ensure that your new or existing office space is comfortable, whether it’s a rural converted barn or a commercial property in St James.
Have a comfortable temperature
The most common gripe – and the easiest to fix – is the office temperature. Of course, some people feel the heat or cold more than others, so you should aim to please the majority.
When choosing an office space, ask about the air-con, how controllable the temperature is, and look at where the windows are. If some windows are west-facing, for example, the afternoons may become uncomfortably hot for anyone near them, so think about blinds.
Similarly, if the air-con vents are quite fierce, move desks away from them. Don’t just tell staff to deal with discomfort, as it really does distract them.
Let the light in
Let daylight in rather than relying on harsh artificial light. It’s not natural to be stuck under fluorescent strips all day, so pull up those blinds (in the mornings) and get some rays.
Investigate bulbs that mimic natural daylight and offer lamps rather than just overhead lighting.
Add some colour
A splash of colour lifts the spirits, and after decades of research by psychologists, it seems that colours do have an effect on feelings and behaviour.
- Red promotes energy, passion, enthusiasm and strength, but it can also make people feel aggressive
- Blue is all about serenity, efficiency and communication, but it can make people feel disconnected and cold
- Yellow makes people feel optimistic, energetic and creative, but it’s also associated with anxiety
- Green is peaceful, balanced and harmonious, although it can feel too peaceful (i.e. boring).
No-one’s saying paint all the walls red and yellow – just an accent wall or a big print will do, to break up the uniform white. Check with the landlord first, though!
Get some plants
Don’t turn your office space into a jungle – just a few plants will be enough to filter the air to remove pollutants and to make your employees feel more productive.
You’re asking your employees to spend a third or more of their day in a chair at a desk, staring at a screen. Make sure each of these is suitable for them – back support, reduced glare, the right height, and so on.
If your employees have some duties that can be done from home, offer them the option – and don’t sweat the occasional late arrival if he or she always stays late after work.
If someone asks for compressed hours, allow it, because it’s surprising how much “empty” time there is in 37.5 hours…
Everyone went open plan in the 1980s and it was great – until it wasn’t.
Not everyone will want or be able to have their own space, but if you could arrange some areas of privacy where your staff can focus – or gossip about last night’s TV – everyone’s needs are met.
Photo credit: StartupStockPhotos