Old philosophies espoused the notion that offices should be designed to increase productivity — think of the original cubicles designed in the 1960s that appear countless times in the movies, with hundreds of employees working away. Hence, the term rat race. And while modern life demands no less, there has been a shift in the relentless pride of productivity culture.
Now, it’s about providing a congenial environment that promotes a different type of productivity; one that caters towards employees’ job role needs, as opposed to designing a one-size-fits-all solution. Here’s how to make an office more productive and conducive to 21st-century work demands.
Today’s office spaces use design as a retention tool to bring workers in and keep them happy enough to stay. Efficient office design reflects working culture and productivity. So, while ambiance may not directly affect productivity, it impacts workplace satisfaction.
A well-planned workspace makes it easier for people to complete tasks quickly, work collaboratively and creatively. Workplace strategy expert and psychologist Ron Friedman recommends identifying key activities employees perform and customizing spaces to fit their preferences, like social collaborations spaces and private booths to enhance productivity. Therefore, efficient office space is simultaneously comfortable and functional.
While experts are yet to reach a consensus, most advocate for work breaks every 50 to 90 minutes to increase productivity and prevent burnout. Some recommend working for 52 minutes and then breaking for 17; the gist being that breaks should be integrated into a typical working day.
But, it’s not just about taking a break. A few years ago, HootSuite CEO Ryan Holmes published a provocative essay on Medium about why companies should pay employees to work out. The familiar benefits of exercise include; reduced stress, improved brainpower, better memory, increased energy, and creativity. While this view may seem radical, no one can refute the importance of exercise.
At work, there are tons of movement opportunities that don’t require a gym. It could be as simple as stretching every so often, or initiating walking meetings, for example. Some offices and coworking spaces have fitness facilities, making it easy to implement a lunchtime or before-work movement routine.
Replacing desk chairs with a mobility ball or using a standing desk can also contribute to overall health. Most quality stand desks have electric controls, making it possible for workers to adjust the height of their desks from standing to sitting and vice-versa. Experts recommend the ideal ratio is to spend one hour standing for every one to two hours of sitting.
Space For Collaboration
Harvard Business Review succinctly sums up collaboration in the contemporary workplace:
‘“There’s a natural rhythm to collaboration. People tend to focus alone or in pairs to generate ideas or process information; then they come together as a group to build on those ideas or develop a shared [perspective], and then they break apart again to take the next steps. The more demanding the collaborative task is, the more individuals need moments of private time to think or recharge.”
It’s important to think about the nature of the work when creating a productive workspace. Since the inception of Silicon Valley’s co-working space, “collaboration” can feel like an over-hyped buzzword, but at its core, it’s about equipping employees with the spaces and technologies that best support their working needs.
For instance, most co-working spaces are designed with collaborative areas, private phone booths, and meeting rooms to allow professionals to complete a variety of tasks; working together, having confidential calls, and hosting meetings.
How to create a more productive office space? Don’t neglect the lighting! Numerous studies have concluded that the lighting effect of natural light helps regulate the body’s natural circadian rhythms, improving productivity and satisfaction. Light temperature also plays a role in comfort, as does ambiance.
Be sure to check overhead lights for flicker, as prolonged exposure can cause eye strain and headaches. If possible, use energy-saving LED bulbs, and have a combination of both overhead and ambient light at different working areas. Diffused light also works best in space where employees use their laptops, which already emits a fair amount of bright light.
There are many reasons biophilic interior design has become increasingly popular over the past few years. With an increase in urbanization, work-from-home offices, coworking spaces, and pandemic restrictions, we are spending more time indoors. In fact, the average employee working a modern desk job may spend as little as 15 minutes outdoors during the day.
Workers exposed to nature were 15% more productive compared to those with minimal contact. This can be attributed to various factors, including better air quality, an improved sense of well-being and concentration levels, and efficient office design, which produces a more enjoyable work setting. Home magazine House Beautiful recommends air plants, Devil’s Ivy, Jade, and Spider plants as suitable office choices.
Perhaps the first answer to “how to create a productive workplace?” resides in keeping it tidy. Fascinatingly, cluttered spaces can have negative effects on stress and anxiety levels and the ability to focus, eat healthily, and sleep well. People who work at a tidy desk can work for 7.5 minutes longer without losing focus.
Depending on the nature of work, it may be impossible to get rid of all clutter; think of important files and physical paperwork. This is where efficient office design can include a workspace for storage to help keep desks free from clutter. Some dedicated desks in coworking spaces come with private filing cabinets or lockers to serve this very purpose.
The secret to how to make your office space more productive lies in major and minor design choices. Optimal workplaces are always comfortable and calm. For anyone to do their best work, they need to be happy or at the very least satisfied with their work environment.
It’s crucial to choose the right office before turning it into a productive environment. If you’re looking for a co-working space, dedicated desk, or private office, then be sure to check out our offices for rent in River North, Chicago, from 620 N LaSalle. Contact us today!
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