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The impact of office design on productivity

When faced with lower productivity levels, companies often try to look into its cause and attribute it to lifestyle changes, company policies, the global political and geopolitical climate, as well as personal circumstances. What they tend to overlook is the office itself. Many find it difficult to work in a place that does not induce creativity and productivity, which can cause lower levels of motivation and can drive them to try and work elsewhere. The pandemic has also emphasized the need for an apt work environment, especially since employees have found comfort and a productive rhythm when working at home. A well-planned-out workplace can positively influence individuals to start and complete their tasks efficiently and can influence a better work environment that induces creativity as well as collaboration. In this article, we explore some of the key aspects of office design that have a profound impact on productivity.

1. Common Spaces

Common spaces are areas that are intended to induce group-based productivity and healthy interactions that can create a positive work environment. A well-thought-out workspace should be able to offer a common area where exchanging ideas and developing worthwhile relationships is considered the norm. A few ways to develop this kind of space would include adding in natural or bright lights, comfortable seating that can accommodate groups of individuals, an artistically enhanced space with well-placed artwork and design, and a station to grab food or snacks nearby. Adding botanical elements can also create a more comfortable and less rigid atmosphere that can encourage a balance between formal and informal interactions.

2. Personal Spaces

Personal spaces are undoubtedly the most productive spaces and have a direct impact on performance and employee motivation. A haphazard environment will not induce any sort of productivity, and will instead make it more difficult for employees to focus and tackle their pending tasks. Adding in elements that subtly encourage individual work focus is a great way to incorporate a productive setting into the workspace. Adding in dividers, and sound reducing furniture can induce a calm atmosphere that is more suitable for focused work. Ergonomics is also an important factor to consider when designing the office space. More often than not, employees are required to be seated at their desks for long periods of time. Many often complain of back and wrist aches that, in the long term, can lead to health issues and reduced productivity. Many offices have already begun incorporating ergonomic elements into their office design and have found that adding it in has resulted in higher levels of productivity and an overall increase in job satisfaction. Ergonomic mice, keyboard rests, sit/stand desks and ergonomic seating arrangements all contribute to a healthier and more content personal work environment.

3. Other spaces

Workspaces are not only limited to common and personal workspaces. They include all aspects of the office, and their design and accessibility have an impact in an employee’s satisfaction with the office space. This includes the ambient and natural lighting present throughout the entire office, the placement of washrooms throughout the space, accessible entry points, the visual landscape of the office, and its overall ventilation. All of these factors have a direct influence on whether a workspace encourages productivity or subliminally does the opposite instead.

A well-designed office space is essential for the long-term productivity of a business. It should be able to provide its employees with a variety of spaces where individuals can work, meet, and have meaningful and productive conversations. It can also create a healthy environment that creates a good balance between formal and informal discussions. Taking workspace design into serious consideration can help businesses create the right environment for their employees to thrive both in the short and long run.