Consider Your SetUp When Improving Productivity

Since the early years when we shifted to computers there was one type of enclosure that had become the standard (for better or worse)… the cubicle.

Office cubicles

Mocked in countless movies, discussions, and shunned by many modern businesses, it is the cubicle, as we’re finding now, that actually disrupts productivity and by ditching it, you could see better engagement and commitment with those working at your business.

The cubicle is not the only culprit that is leading employees to do sub-par work. There are many other items scattered throughout the office, reminiscent of older business ideals, that do not necessary fit in with the modern workplace environment.

Want to know how your business can change its layout to improve worker productivity?

A. Flexible Environments

Instead of a cubicle it may be best for your business to implement an open-concept layout where people can choose where they would like to work. Ways of doing so may include creating spaces that have open areas with desks that may overlook the views from outside, a relaxation area for fun & games to unwind, secluded areas that are very quiet, or no particular assigned locations (so they may even choose to work outside, in another office, or even from their home).

An open plan office space
photo credit: / Flickr

B. Mobility

Long hours sitting at a desk can take an incredible toll on your spine and posture. Sitting too long contributes to a slow death due to an increase in heart disease, cancer, diabetes, and more. Productivity is certain to tank if the employee is feeling un-well from developing one of these issues.

Forward thinking businesses have begun to notice this issue and have implemented office furniture that aids in mobility and keeping the individual active. One such shift has been to standing desks. There are many benefits of a standing desk whether it’s the fact that an employee isn’t in the slow, debilitating position of sitting or the fact that it allows them to move around, burn calories, and ultimately lose weight which leads to a healthier, active lifestyle.

C. Lighting

There are many studies that have linked the use of fluorescent lighting to depression and a lack of energy. It’s unfortunate that these are common staples for lighting in a workplace environment due to their ease of installation and cost but it has dark, long-term costs from building stress to eye strain, problems with sleeping, and anxiety.

Consider switching the lighting to those bulbs that provide natural light. Alternatively, create an incentive program for people to work outside or at least take breaks to get in the much needed sunshine that will charge their energy.

D. Plants, Colors, and More

Grey cubicles lined up against grey walls set atop grey carpeting can get boring very fast and cause employees to zone out because there is no liveliness in the workplace environment.

Productivity spikes when the workplace feels exciting.

There are a few different (very easy ways) to liven it up:

  • Include plants around the office to give it an outdoor feel (which also helps with circulating the air so it’s fresh and nice to be around).
  • Allow employees to place posters, repaint their offices/cubicles, or entire sections of the business so it’s not the same, drab color stretching across the floor.
  • Consider allowing employees to bring in their pets; their happy nature will cheer up those that may be going through a rough day which naturally shifts their mood and their productivity.

Think of the workplace environment you may have now and then image it feeling organic. Organic in the sense that when employees are doing their work they feel relaxed and gain inspiration from imagery.

Google Office Zurich
Google office, Zurich – photo credit: andrewarchy / Flickr

E. Unwinding

Long hours at the desk with just a few minutes for breaks in between doesn’t do much to re-energize the employee. The problem is the lack of options for employees to unwind when they’re on break. Standing around, perhaps having a smoke, or grabbing a snack doesn’t feel like you are able to get away and clear your head before coming back to do the work.

Begin offering new ways for your employees to unwind such as creating an entertainment room where they may play video games, shoot a game of pool, kick back and watch some shows, or work on a hobby. Another potential idea is to create an incentive for those going on break, working on personal projects, where they are given resources for side-projects they may not normally have time for while working at the business (but would love to explore).

What ideas come to mind, after reading this, that you believe you could implement around the office to improve workplace productivity?