Office design and productivity: making your company efficient through design

Office design and productivity: making your company efficient through design

The need for good office design is often overlooked and underappreciated. A well designed work environment can increase productivity, reduce sick days and improve employee retention.

Research has shown that employee productivity is affected by three factors: noise, air quality and lighting.

Noise is often seen as a negative thing. This is not always the case as complete silence can be just as difficult to work in as a loud racket. The key here is noise reduction. Investing in carpets, noise absorbing furniture and noise reducing ceilings can help keep noise levels to a comfortable level.

Air quality plays a huge role in employee health. With more offices these days being open-plan, the risk of spreading bacteria and viruses between co-workers is very high. Simply opening a window and ensuring a flow of clean, fresh air can work wonders. Offices which have their windows closed can contain more than 10 times the level of air pollutants than office with open windows.

Keeping the temperature comfortable is also important. Good communication between staff and management should be maintained to make sure that temperature is set to an appropriate level.

Poor lighting is a productivity killer in offices. Poor lighting can lead to eyestrain and fatigue. Natural light is preferable to artificial sources, so large windows and skylights are recommended. An office being too bright can be just as bad as it being too dim. Try to keep the lighting soft and natural.

The floor plan of your office can have an effect on efficiency. Open planned offices are the trend nowadays but are not necessarily the best for your employees. Distractions are frequent and this is not ideal if your workers have individual work to be getting on with. A cubicle-only office can make your workers feel isolated and can lead to a breakdown in communication between departments.

A way to get the best of both worlds is to have an open planned office with cubicles which can be booked for when employees have individual work to do.

Suitable office equipment is important to the productivity and health levels of your employees. Ergonomic chairs will help stave off the most common office health complaint: lower back pain. Lower back pain costs the economy millions every year due to sick days. Investment in correctly designed ergonomic chairs will pay for itself in just a few months due to increased productivity and a drop in staff absence.

By following the tips in this guide, your office will become not just a more productive environment, but also a more healthy environment for your staff.

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