We spend close to seven hours a day, five days a week at our office, so it stands to good reason that our workspace should be an environment we are comfortable in. It is also important that things like office layout, lighting and acoustics are taken into consideration so that they don’t hinder productivity. We’re going to take a look at these three factors specifically and see how each of them affect workplace productivity and how you can use them to enhance employee performance.

Office Layout

Office design is often a great indicator of work culture. A well-designed space affords employees privacy while also improving engagement and productivity. It is key to remember that different departments have different needs with regard to their workspace. For example: the marketing team would need a meeting room with a board where they could get together and brainstorm, while an artist would need a large desk to work on. While earlier it was norm to have everyone separated in booths, unable to interact with one another and hence distract each other, now it’s more commonplace to see couches and open layouts that allow employees to commiserate over their work easily. Facebook and Google are examples of companies that believe in making their offices the place of utmost comfort for their employees so they look forward to coming to work everyday. Facebook offices usually provide food, have a game room with video games, pool tables and foosball and also break rooms with an assortment of refreshments and snacks for their employees.

Take a look at your company profile and the kind of work culture you would like to promote. Planning your office layout around this will help put your employees in the right mindset while also helping them work more efficiently.

Lighting

It’s common knowledge that working in the dark can be bad for your eyes, but the effect of lighting goes far beyond that. According to a study by the American Society of Interior Design, more than 50% of employees complain about the lighting in their offices. Dim lighting has negative effects, yes, but when lights are too bright they can hinder work as well. Dim lighting can cause drowsiness and a lack of focus, while harsh lighting can lead to migraines.

Nowadays with options like LED lighting and CFL (Compact Fluorescent Lights), it’s easier for companies to save costs on lighting while also ensuring enough light is provided for their employees to work efficiently. CFLs and LED lights are more energy efficient and have a longer life. Where normal light bulbs last around 1,200 hours, CFLs and LED lights last 8,000 hours and 25,000 hours respectively.

The addition of natural lighting is also a possible solution to the above problems. Introducing natural lighting has often resulted in more satisfied workers, less illnesses and less absenteeism. Not only would your electricity bill go down, but your overall productivity would increase.

Acoustics

Noise can play a huge role in enhancing or deterring the productivity of employees. Funnily enough, having architects and designers come up with a quiet space for an office, usually ends up causing more noisy distractions to employees. This is because the silent acoustics end up making ‘conversational distractions’ louder. Research shows that a loud office environment can affect an employee’s ability to retain information, their work quality and their concentration levels. Taking this into account is important when deciding on the layout for your office. For example: there are some roles in the office that require an employee to be on the phone constantly, it’s important to ensure that these employees aren’t seated next to employees that need to concentrate when they work.

Noises from outdoors, like construction machinery or traffic, can also affect workplace productivity. Possible solutions for this include providing noise-cancelling headphones and sound-proofing meeting rooms.

What are some other factors that you’ve come across that affect workplace productivity? We’ve only just scratched the surface here!

References:
http://www.businessnewsdaily.com/7456-workspace-design-productivity.html
http://www.andrewjensen.net/how-office-lighting-affects-productivity/
http://www.british-gypsum.com/evidence-space/work/the-impact-of-noise-on-business-productivity
https://www.speechprivacysystems.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/10/Productivity.pdf