7 Ways To Make Office Environments More Productive

Posted On 7 Oct 2016

7 Ways To Make Office Environments More Productive

7 Oct 2016
7 Ways To Make Office Environments More Productive

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7 Ways To Make Office Environments More Productive

Is your office designed to optimise productivity? Unsurprisingly, office environments have a profound impact on the way businesses function. If designed correctly, they can promote collaboration, improve concentration, help to alleviate depression and allow workers to complete their tasks as efficiently as possible. When given little thought, poor office design compromises the ability of staff to work to their full potential.

If you think your office could do with a little improvement, the good news is that small changes can often solve any issues you may be facing. Keep reading for our top seven ways to make your office conducive to productivity.


Harness natural sunlight

Maximizing natural light is one way to make working environments more pleasant and productive at almost zero cost. Studies have linked natural sunlight to heightened concentration, higher energy levels, lower blood pressure, improved moods and even stronger muscle and bone structure (thanks to increased vitamin D levels).

For those of you with windows in your office, maximise natural light as much as possible by moving anything that obscures the windows and ensuring that the windows are kept clean. Even a thin veneer of dirt can turn pure, bright sunlight into a foggy murk, which is much less conducive to productivity.

Are your workstations fit for purpose?

If asked to name the most important items in any office, most people would point to computers or the company service, but in our opinion, computers and chairs are the foundation of any business. After all, if your workers develop eye strain and back pain from poorly designed workstations, it doesn’t matter how powerful your systems are.

Some general rules about designing workstations apply to almost all offices. For example, try to ensure that screens are between 60 to 90 cm from the faces of employees and that the top of the screen is positioned roughly at eye level. Chairs should be adjustable so that workers can see their screens without straining, while slightly reclined chairs are easier on the spine and have been found to limit the risk of developing lower back pain in the medium to long-term. At EST10, we’ve also embraced the standing desk and yoga ball chair, giving our team the option to alternative between time spent sitting and standing.


Smart storage makes everyone more productive

Items like stationary, electronic accessories and files should always have clearly labelled, easily accessible storage locations. There’s nothing worse than being interrupted ten different times a day with the question “where’s the paper for the printer” when a centralised system could prevent this from happening.

There is a lot of debate about whether a clean or slightly messy desk is conducive to productivity and creativity, but at the end of the day, files need to be easily accessible so start organising and labeling. It’s also a good idea to label your recycling bins to collect paper, plastics and e-waste and empty them regularly to prevent over-spill.


Make access easy to avoid complications

In every office there will be shared devices that almost all employees require access to, whether these are printers, coffee makers or photocopiers. In a well designed office, the most commonly used devices are also the most accessible. They tend to be placed in central locations that all corners of the office can reach, instead of being tucked away at the edge of the room. In this way, people and materials can move smoothly around the office and everyone can see when equipment is in use.


Color can be crucial

Have you ever sat in an office and felt uncomfortable for no apparent reason? It may well be that you simply couldn’t adjust to the color scheme used by your company.

Color can have a massive impact on the way we think and act. Plain white or grey interiors may be simple and efficient, but they often don’t inspire the mind to heights of creativity. Research has found that blue interiors are conducive to concentration and productivity, so it might be worth experimenting with the paint scheme your workspace. Don’t go overboard though… garish tones won’t make anyone focus!


Turn up the heat?

It might sound counter-intuitive, but studies have found that increasing the temperature in an office can have beneficial consequences. Researchers from Cornell found that 25°C is the optimum temperature for conventional offices, with typing accuracy at 25°C being dramatically higher than accuracy at 20°C.


Strive for tranquility to help workers focus

Noise is probably the most common office distraction, particularly in contemporary open-plan offices with ten conversations taking place at one time, phones ringing and printers whirring into action. As such, it’s a good idea is to provide a guaranteed “quiet space”, perhaps a side office with comfortable chairs and desks where conversation is not allowed. On the flip-side, you could include spaces where noise is actively encouraged so that heated conversations are diverted to enclosed spaces, instead of the main office.

Another option is to include more soft surfaces in your offices. You can source padded wall panels that absorb sound instead of reflecting it back into the office. The same applies to ceiling tiles, which can be made from acoustic foam. Plants can also have a noise-dampening effect, so why not add some low-maintenance, attractive foliage to your office?


Keep things interesting

At the end of the day, no matter how well designed your office is, everyone has the tendency to get tired of the same thing day in day out and this can have a serious impact on productivity. Don’t be afraid to shake things up every now and again and introduce a few fun initiatives. At EST10, we’ve introduced a communal fruit bowl, nibbles in the fridge for the occasional late night, office drinks on a Friday and weekly team lunches. We also love visits from our Managing Director’s Staffy Daisy… her boundless energy and affectionate grin can make even the most challenging days an absolute pleasure. These might seem like little distractions (this is certainly true in Daisy’s case!), but a brief respite provides the opportunity to refresh and reset in between tasks, reinvigorating you for the next thing on your to-do list.