Designing a great office isn’t just about looks—by paying attention to design elements and other factors, you can boost employee morale and output. In today’s competitive market, most business owners are more focused on price, and they pay less attention to design and function. Below, you’ll find some small and relatively inexpensive ways to boost your office’s productivity.
Lighting and HVAC
Too-hot or too-cold office temperatures are a common complaint among workers, but thankfully it’s an easy
fix. When looking for new office spaces, one of the first things you should find out is how the HVAC system works and how issues are handled. It can be hard to make everyone happy as far as temperature is concerned, but lighting is easier to handle. Each employee should get some natural lighting, or common spaces should have it. You’re no longer limited to fluorescent lighting—there are plenty of other choices that are easy on the eyes and the wallet.
Wide Open Spaces
Gone are the cube farms of the 60s and 70s! The standard office configuration may have worked in the past, but today’s workers find that it stifles creativity and lowers productivity and client response times. From workstations with lowered panels to all-day café/meeting spaces, more open floor plans make interoffice collaboration easier.
Make it Flexible
Fixed offices are widely accepted, but flexible floor plans are gaining in popularity. To increase flexibility,
workspaces should be common in size with customizable parts. If offices are kept the same size and components are easily moved, position changes take less time and waste fewer resources. Conference rooms aren’t just for meetings anymore—they can grow with your company.
Build a Sustainable Space
“Sustainability” isn’t just a trendy buzzword. For a few years now, office workers have reaped the benefits of carpeting, ventilation and paints that don’t emit VOCs, but sustainable offices are so much more.
Expanded recycling programs, the use of local and renewable materials and the incorporation of natural lighting all serve to foster employee pride and productivity.
There’s been a lot of research on how desk height, seating and phone use impacts employee health and comfort. Your company can greatly benefit by hiring an ergonomic design consultant, who will suggest improvements that will reduce employee discomfort (and downtime due to sickness and discomfort).
If you can’t afford a consultant, take a survey of your employees. Ask them what you can do to make their workspaces more comfortable.
Along with the flexible workspace, the right technology is probably one of the best ways to boost productivity. You aren’t limited by the location of a network connection or electrical outlet—you can set up your office to support telecommuting and easy file access.
If done right, the design of your office should reflect your company’s culture and philosophy. Décor, technology, lighting, environmental controls and arrangement can augment your brand by making your employees more comfortable. Most of us spend a third of our days at work, so the office should be equal parts inspiring and comfortable.