How can you improve your office space to increase productivity
An office space does a lot of things. It gives you and your employees a place to work, allows for a consistent environment for employees, and gives you somewhere to meet your clients and customers. Depending on your industry, you may have different needs for your workplace – a retail store has a very different list of priorities than an office building, which has a completely different concept than a manufacturing plant.
How can you improve your office space to increase productivity?
Create intentional collaboration spaces
There was a period of time where businesses seemed to focus on keeping employees as separate as possible. Cubicles with high walls were supposed to push employees to focus on their computer screens and never on each other. Some people can work that way, but many others prefer to branch out, talk to their co-workers, get input on projects, and be able to share the workload.
When you plan for a space that facilitates collaboration for those that want it, you're enabling them to do their best work, and making sure that they're getting maximum satisfaction from their jobs, which will definitely help them increase productivity.
Plan for different body types and ability levels
When you look around your office space, consider: how would someone who was disabled navigate this space? Could a wheelchair fit through there? Would a crutch or cane trip on that cord? Could this desk be lowered or raised to accommodate someone's need to sit or stand?
When you organize your office space with flexible materials and designs in mind, you're signaling to your employees that you care about how they feel in the workplace. Even if they are able-bodied, they see your commitment to diversity and know that they would be supported if their situation were to change tomorrow. This will allow them to work with greater commitment to the cause of your business.
Consider the décor
It sounds silly, but the environment we're in definitely affects how we feel about what we do and how we go about it. While some pieces like color choice, change quickly and seem to be affected by trends, other pieces are more universal and long lasting. Bright, natural lighting, greenery, and high quality furniture can all enhance a workplace.
When we're in a pleasing, well organized space, most people feel more comfortable, can focus better, and are more productive.
Fix things that are broken
Does the copier jam every day? Are computers out of date and painfully slow? Is furniture old and worn out, making it difficult to upgrade to the most current technology? All of these things will decrease productivity, not just because they take time away from tasks, but because they increase your employees' frustration and irritation, which makes them less likely to do their best work.
Besides, when employees see you fixing things that break, instead of letting them just sit around being "quirky" for years on end, they know that you care about the business, and can extrapolate that you care about them. Again, this increases their commitment to the company.
Encourage employees to personalize their home base
Even if you're planning for collaborative work, everyone has a space where they check their email and change their shoes. Encourage them to make that space personal in small ways, like bringing in small plants, hanging up family or vacation pictures, or even posting artwork. When employees feel like they have ownership of their space, they feel more invested in the business overall, and feel less like they need to conform to a metric in order to succeed.
Create quiet work areas
While some people excel in noisy, collaborative environments, others want a space where they can hyperfocus on a task and just get it done. Sometimes, the same people feel differently on different projects. If you have most of your office laid out to benefit collaborative work and use an open floor plan, it's a good idea to give employees the benefit of an office door that closes. Perhaps they can sign up to use one of several rotating office spaces as needed.
While improving work environments can boost productivity, not enough employers pay attention to their workspace. By being deliberate about creating a space where work feels fun, engaging, powerful, and playful; we boost creativity and get better results from our work.
What have you done to improve your office environment and boost productivity? What can you do this week to make a better workspace for yourself and your employees?
Margarita Hakobyan is a businesswoman and an entrepreneur that is addicted to creating. As an owner of several businesses she brings a wide range of education and experience including business strategy, business ethics and leadership. Founder and publisher of Solopreneurs, online...