Business owners are being warned to ensure their offices feature seven important elements if they want to maximise their employees’ productivity and efficiency in the workplace.
The office experts behind LondonOffices.com have researched and revealed the seven most important must-have features of ultra-productive offices.
With the average Brit spending around 81,000 hours, or the equivalent of a full nine years of their lives at work, business owners will want to ensure that this time is spent wisely and isn’t being wasted due to sitting in a bad work environment.
From providing wind-down spaces and plenty of access to natural light, to offering quality, supportive chairs and decorating with pictures and plants, these are the features which help to increase productivity and motivate people whilst they’re at work.
Chris Meredith, CEO of LondonOffices.com, said: “A lot of business owners seem to assume that all their employees’ need is a computer, desk and a room to sit in, and that’s enough for them to get on and do their best work – but this couldn’t be further from the truth.
“This archaic way of thinking will cause you to lose thousands of wasted hours each year due to your staff becoming unfocused and lacking productivity throughout the day.
“In actual fact, a good, well thought out office plan will directly impact employee morale, causing them to naturally up their productivity and efficiency because they will feel motivated to do their best.
“So, if you haven’t already, you should really consider bringing in these simple but extremely effective features – and pronto.”
1. Quiet spaces for private work
Employees won’t always require privacy, but they need to know the option is available for those times they do. Although open-plan office spaces have been trending for some time and are great for improving communication, they can also be the reason for high noise levels which zap productivity.
If a worker needs to focus on an assignment or take a personal call, they should have somewhere to go to do so. So, if possible, try to create an office with a balance between individual and collaborative workspaces.
2. Wind-down spaces
Similarly, providing a place to escape office stressors is crucial to get the most from employees. These spaces – like lunch spots and informal meeting rooms – can also be used to relieve eyestrain from staring at a screen or neck and back tensions from sitting in the same place for extended hours at a time.
3. Access to natural light
Harsh fluorescent lighting has been associated with UV-related eye disease, sleep-stealing melatonin suppression, and the exacerbation of epilepsy, lupus and certain skin conditions – so it goes without saying that natural light should be prioritised.
Significant links have been found between daytime sunlight exposure and productivity. Sunlight affects circadian rhythms and vitamin D production, which has a knock-on, positive effect on alertness and motivation.
Research suggests that objects like plants, photos and other mementos in workspaces encourage more psychological engagement that empty, sterile spaces, so getting pictures up on the walls is a must. On the most basic level, adding personality to your workspace can also inspire and motivate you to do better work.
Live plants can also promote healthier indoor air, which has some effect on cognitive functioning in the workplace.
5. Comfortable and supportive chairs
As a business owner, you will want to be smart and savvy with your business’ cash, but one thing you must never scrimp on is quality office chairs.
Thousands of office workers will suffer from lower back and neck pain at some point in their careers, which can result in lost hours of productivity from taking time off for doctors’ appointments or simply from being too uncomfortable and achy to concentrate.
A good, ergonomic chair will allow employees to adjust it to suit their requirements, as well as provide lumbar support and armrests.
6. Moderate temperatures
Temperatures play a biological role in circadian rhythms, which affect alertness and tiredness. They can also be a subject for heated debate with colleagues arguing over whether the office should be warmer or cooler.
Since it’s often easier to add a clothing layer than take one off at the office, it might be best to keep temperatures on the cooler end of the “ideal” range. If you don’t have control over the thermostat, desk-friendly heaters and fans are another option for employees’ personal comfort and productivity.
7. Size and location
You could provide all of the above but if your office is out in the sticks and a pain to get to every morning, you could find that your employees are running out of steam before they’ve even walked through the doors.
Similarly, you want to ensure that your office isn’t too cramped and each worker has plenty of personal desk space and room to breathe.