Four ways your work environment affects your productivity

We all know that the design of an office matters – you could argue that nothing kills innovation and productivity more than a cubicle! As a result, non-traditional workspaces have grown in popularity among entrepreneurs and start-ups. Flexible work stations, private conference rooms, appealing breakout spaces and the like provide teams with unique amenities which can suit the ethos of the company and help drive innovation.

So, which details make the biggest impact on energy and creativity? Well, some are obvious: it’s difficult to be productive with temperamental internet access and holding a conference call in a coffee shop can be fairly distracting. But what about the less obvious factors which play an important role in productivity too? Details such as office layout, wall colour, and type of desk may seem frivolous, but they can be used to provide immediate boosts to efficiency.

It seems that office wallpaper can have a profound impact on our mood. A recent study found that grey, beige, and white offices induced feelings of sadness and depression among employees. Similar studies indicate that colours can also impact other areas: low-wavelength colours like blue and green improve efficiency and focus; medium-wavelength colours like yellow create a sense of happiness and creativity and high-wavelength colours like red increase heart rate and boosts energy.

Apparently, if we’re feeling stressed, a colourful workplace emits feelings of calm. So, a workplace that features a variety of vibrant shades and hues helps to brighten the mood and drive productivity.

The shape of your work environment can also influence productivity. Many work places have relaxation rooms or breakout spaces offering a quiet place to relax or even nap – to keep people feeling fresh throughout the day – a twenty-minute power nap could be the difference between a productive afternoon or not. Even just having a quiet space to relax boosts energy levels. These informal, multipurpose breakout spaces in the workplace provide the opportunity to recharge.

Obviously, when designing an office space, it can be difficult to account for every worker’s individual needs. Some people work better in quiet while others need music to concentrate. Providing a work environment with a variety of spaces helps keep people productive, no matter their work style. Private spaces are essential to employees who need to make frequent calls and experts agree that collaborative workspaces improve overall team performance.

It seems that interactions among co-workers which have the most impact happen near group desks or meeting rooms. A simple standing desk allows workers to gather around, share ideas, and collaborate. Placing these desks in high foot traffic areas encourages workers to meet, greet, and mingle.

And as we know, sitting for too long can create health issues. Poor back support or an uncomfortable seat can leave people feeling drained at the end of the day. As a result, adjustable desks have become commonplace. Electric, rise-fall desks allow workers to stretch their legs without sacrificing productivity. Choosing chairs designed with the human body in mind helps workers stave off burn-out, just as ergonomic keyboards can prevent wrist injuries.

So, on balance, it appears that investing in a team’s comfort and environment can reap many rewards, paying dividends in terms of overall company productivity – not to mention making somewhere a great place to work.

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