Low productivity among workers has been a constant concern for companies of all shapes and sizes. While people are working harder and working longer hours than ever before, productivity seems to be declining. When trying to solve this mystery, management tends to overlook the environment and how office design affects employees. A well-planned workplace will make it easier for employees to finish work faster and more efficiently while promoting collaboration, engagement, and overall health. There are four key aspects of office design that, for better or worse, can affect employee productivity and engagement.
A well-planned office space will have various spaces in which people can work and have the right technology and culture in place to support their work style. Flexible spaces should be usable for lunch breaks, informal catch-ups, and to bring people together for face-to-face interactions. The core workspace for individual employees—their desks—should allow them to work independently but also speak to peers freely. The style and decoration the office puts forth the company’s attitude towards employees, mission statement and position in their industry. That’s why it’s so important to implement modern and sleek office design concepts. It tells anyone that sets foot in there what kind of company they’re dealing with, so it should look sharp and be comfortable.
Once a mystery to the corporate world, the concept of ergonomics is now well-known. Its aim is to improve the physical conditions and comfort under which everyday activities are performed. Making the employees comfortable and preventing back strain, carpal tunnel syndrome, or eye strain are all attainable goals within the office. A poor workstation can lead to numerous physical problems for the average worker.
The actual physical environment that the office creates is important. The temperature, lighting, and noise levels in the office all affect performance. Employees that are constantly cold or hot will focus only on their condition and not their work. Inadequate lighting can lead to eye strain, stress, headaches, and tiredness. Taking advantage of natural lighting or introducing adjustable lighting systems will help alleviate the problem.
The open office concept was introduced to encourage collaboration and face-to-face interactions in the office, but the opposite was true. A study by the Harvard Business Review found that when a business switched to open offices, face-to-face interactions fell by 70 percent. Workers want and need their own space to complete tasks and keep their work organized.