Redesign Time: Changing the Office Design for Better Productivity
The traditional office spaces no longer serve the modern workforce. People were discouraged from interaction and taking breaks. Now we know that collaboration and regular breaks are essential. They aid creativity and effective problem-solving. The pandemic has also highlighted how much more efficient and productive employees are when working from home. The model of employees needing to be under the eye of a supervisor at all times has shown to be a holdover from an older time.
Businesses need to restructure their workspaces to help employees feel less restricted. They must allow for easier movement and collaboration. Giving employees a more dynamic workspace can help to inspire them to reach for more creative ideas. It can also improve their focus. Studies show that open-plan offices, while physically feel more open, generate too much noise and lead to less focus. Having dedicated and industrial desks can help employees stay at their post for longer. Also, it helps them concentrate better when paired with an ergonomic chair.
Productivity comes through a combination of many factors. Include your senior employees in the decision-making process for how the office space can be improved. They are the ones on the ground every day. They will be able to better advise you on what would help them stay motivated and productive throughout the workweek.
Natural light has shown to be a positive indicator of productivity. It also benefits the well-being of employees. Closed-up spaces with artificial lighting can make people ill and slow their recovery as well. Widen your windows to allow natural light entry. Provide curtains or blinds on a system that allows the employees to adjust them via remote control. This will ensure that they get an adequate amount of sun. They can also avoid getting burned or blinded during the peak sunlit hours.
Make it easier for employees to move within the workspace. Avoid crowding desks together. Setting up a maze-like workspace will make the employees feel trapped. This will cause them to feel relief at the end of the workday and a sense of unease at having to return. It can affect your turnover rate as no one likes to feel trapped.
Allow enough space and a sinuous and intuitive flow of movement within the workspace. This can help to dispel the feeling of being trapped. Employees will find it easier to seek out others and walk to the bathroom or break room. The free movement will make it easier for people to collaborate and think creatively without an unconscious desire to escape.
Provide dedicated meeting pods to make it easier for staff to discuss their ideas and seek which direction to take their collaboration. Meeting rooms are usually reserved for formal situations and generally involve a supervisor. Meeting pods allow employees to focus on their specific situation without a supervisor present freely.
Having a supervisor present may prevent them from delivering their points with enough energy. They may look to the supervisor’s approval rather than choosing a path that takes more risks. Thus, meeting pods that allow people to have informal discussions and work out potential and existing issues will aid productivity. It also allows employees to discuss without worrying about the noise and disruption to their fellow workers.
Alternative Seating and Spaces
People need a break from their regular and assigned desk to help them de-stress and re-focus their minds. Taking their laptop to another area of the office and settling onto an alternate seating option may help them change the perspective they need.
Recliners, bean bag chairs, and standing desks are all great ideas for alternative seating. A designated quiet space for your employees may help as well. Some quiet spaces are provided for people to work on difficult projects without interruption or distraction. The understanding is that no one must disturb them when they enter the quiet space.
Alternately, in high-stress work environments, quiet spaces are provided as a relaxation zone for the employees. People can go there to sit down or lay down in a peaceful environment and choose to meditate, charge their phone, or read without interruption for up to an hour. This can help keep the employees’ general level of mental health stable and help them be more productive outside the quiet space.
No matter how relaxing and inviting your workspace becomes, your employees will still be fully aware that they are inside a building. Help them relieve the stress of being inside for so many hours and improve air quality by incorporating plants into the workspace. Many plants do not shed, have pleasant and subtle aromas, clean the air, and are aesthetically pleasing.
Add recessed lighting and colorful artwork to further make the office space feel open and inviting. Recessed lighting used to highlight a lovely green plant or a pleasant piece of art can help relax employees’ minds when they look up from their desks.