Creating a Productive Office Space
The past year and the huge disruption imposed by the COVID-19 pandemic has transformed the way that businesses of all sizes, and across all industries, are approaching the workspace. For 12 months, employees have been forced to work from home; turning living spaces into productive offices and putting the kettle through its paces by brewing a multitude of teas every day to support both home working and home-schooling.
Now, as offices prepare to open their doors again and companies ready themselves to welcome employees back into a central working environment, it’s more important than ever to create a productive office space that supports the modern worker.
This article looks at some of our tips to enhance the productivity of your office space. Offering you inspiration on how to spark motivation and drive in employees who haven’t had to commute into the office for almost an entire year.
Create Clearly Defined Breakout Areas
There is nothing worse than having a morning meeting or a client call interrupted by a colleague’s discussion on the latest TV show that they watched last night. Creating clearly defined and segmented breakout spaces is key to ensuring that work and play are kept separate, both for the benefit of an employee’s own concentration, and that of those around them.
If your office is a single space and you don’t have a multitude of rooms to play with and separate into different working spaces, consider investing in an internal boardroom built with soundproof glass, which creates a quiet working space for those who need to take important calls or have private meetings during the standard office break times – i.e., lunch.
Another option is to break individual desks up with fabric-covered separators, which absorb sound and create more private working areas, as well as giving colleagues somewhere on which to pin reminders and important documents. Or you can simply place a table and a few comfy chairs in a far off corner of the room, to create a designated break spot.
Freshen up the Office Space
There’s nothing a lick of paint and a few new office plants can’t fix. When it comes to freshening up an office space, you would be amazed at the difference a few aesthetic upgrades can do for the transformation of a space, with everything from new carpet tiles to a few new pieces of art serving to create a space that colleagues want to be in.
And it’s not just aesthetics that an office refresh should do in terms of enhancing productivity.
This is where you really get an opportunity to consider the small changes you can make to the office space which will mean something to and support your employees and colleagues, for example:
Creating a corner of the office or a separate workspace which is designed for quiet working only.
Installing a small fridge in the office where colleagues can store their own food and drinks.
Investing in some wall art and office plants that will add life to the office.
When in doubt, ask colleagues what matters to them, and what they want to see in their office space to encourage productivity and drive motivation.
Introduce a Clear Desk Policy
This is a super simple one, used by many companies in support of their hotdesking layout. However, we tend to find that a clear desk policy can be just as beneficial to those with their own designated desk, purely because it allows every employee to put their work away at the end of the day and start every day afresh. They say that a clear space equals a clear mind, and there is little more as productive as starting the day with a clear and fresh mind.
One of the best ways for businesses to implement and support colleagues in sticking with the initiative is to give every employee their own desk tidy for stationary, and a document tray with a couple of different levels – one for pending work, one for completed work, and one for miscellaneous documents and files.
Choose Colours Wisely
We often see companies and organisations leaning on their branding when it comes to office colours, picking out the different shades from their company logo and branding guidelines in order to add vibrance and colour to the office space. However, these colours are not always conducive to a productive and calming area.
We recommend that, as a business, you choose the colours present across your office space wisely, with a focus on colours that inspire, relax, and motivate.
Think about Office Acoustics and Lighting
Creating a productive office space is not all about the look of the space – in fact, the way that light is used, and the acoustic environment are just as important in supporting your employees as they work.
Employees need to work in a space that is well lit, and which benefits from ample natural light as well as an array of smaller internal lights. In terms of acoustics, there are steps that any office or business can take to improve the acoustics of their office, including separating break spaces from working spaces and utilising soft furnishings and furniture to absorb excess sound.
Consider Other Factors Which Support Productivity
And then of course there are all the other things you can do to support the productivity of employees both inside and outside of the office. If there’s one thing that this year has taught us, it’s that flexibility and a strong work-life balance is integral to really achieving the best from every member of the team. Therefore, businesses should strive to continue to maintain that balance for the good of the business.
Consider initiatives such as dress down Friday, allowing colleagues to enjoy a drink in the office in the last hour of the working week on a Friday afternoon, and put more time and energy into team building activities and days spent together outside of the office. You cannot downplay the importance of motivation when it comes to great productivity and business success – so don’t ignore it.
Stories Flooring is the UK's leading flooring supply specialist. Working with experts in the field, the team at Stories have helped create high-performing office spaces throughout the UK.