Boosting Productivity in the Workplace

Boosting Productivity in the Workplace

From time to time on this blog, we allude to the important role that office design plays in fostering a creative and productive work environment. Most recently (June 2015), we reported on a study that found that the physical office environment has a significant effect on employee wellbeing. Even if this is something that many of us suspect on an intuitive level, it's still reaffirming to see assertions like this spelled out in clear, empirical terms. It lets us know that we're on the right track when we go above and beyond to create a positive work environment.

However, knowing that your office design has an effect on productivity is not the same as knowing which approach to office interior design is actually going to create a more productive atmosphere.

We've noticed that there are plenty of interior designers in London quick to point out that design matters. However, many of these would-be experts have less to say when you actually ask them what realistic approaches to design are going to have the most beneficial effect. Saracen Interiors has been in the industry 30 years and has formed many close relationships with its clients helping them to identify the best concepts and designs to boost productivity in the workplace.

With that in mind, we are going to go one step further. Rather than simply assuring you that design matters, we're going to actually show a few concrete ways we have discovered with our designers, project managers and clients that your company can rethink its interior office design with the hopes of creating a more productive environment that your employees will actually enjoy working in.

  1. Introduce more natural light.
    This one simply cannot be stressed enough. A substantial body of research has linked the advent of artificial light to significant disruptions in our circadian rhythms (the natural release of hormones in the body triggered through well-timed exposure to light). These disruptions have been linked to everything from obesity to cancer—and they can all be traced to a reliance on artificial light.

As it turns out, depression also correlates to excessive exposure to artificial light. With that in mind, office interior designs that let in more natural light—thereby cutting back on the need to rely on excessive fluorescent light—could actually help modulate employees' moods. They are likely to sleep better night and arrive at work better rested, ready to tackle the day's workload.

  1. Reduce noise pollution.
    In modern London interior design, open-floor workspaces are all the rage. There are certainly some benefits to an open plan—not least the sense of community, togetherness and mutual accountability that everyone experiences. However, low-level ambient noise is also a product of this style of workspace.

A study published by Cornell University found that employees who were exposed to low-level noise on an ongoing basis produced more stress hormones (in this case, epinephrine) compared to others who worked in a quiet environment. Stress erodes productivity and also leads to a generally less satisfying work life for the employee.

With that in mind, the best commercial office design will at least have quiet workspaces available when needed. Your team may collaborate on an open floor plan, but have the option to retreat to more modular cocoon-style workstations for independent work, analysis and other tasks that require a higher level of concentration. This is something that you can talk to your designer about—and it may even be possible to introduce spaces like this to an existing workspace without having to undertake a complete redesign.

  1. Take time to properly fit desks and chairs to the employees that use them.
    Every employee body is different. Unfortunately, most office desks and chairs are purchased in bulk with a one-size-fits-all mentality. If your employees spend significant time sitting at a desk while carrying out their daily tasks, then the fit of that desk is extremely important.

When you are in the midst of an office design and fit out, it is worth speaking to the project manager about the options that are available to you. This person is going to be able to make specific recommendations regarding desks and chairs that are easier to adjust, versus those that come in fairly rigid configurations. Above all, you want to invest in furniture with an ergonomic component.

To begin with, try to achieve the following specifications:

  • The chair should be adjusted to such a height that the feet lie either on a foot rest or on the floor.
  • A slightly reclined posture in the chair reduces pressure on the spine, thereby minimising lower back pain.
  • The person's eyes should be located in a comfortable range set back from the computer monitor between 60 and 90 cm.
  • The top of the computer monitor should be at or below eye level.

When you purchase new desks and chairs, set aside time to bring a consultant on board to help individual employees make personal adjustments in the equipment they use. Productivity is likely to go up as a result.

  1. Pay attention to colour.
    We're not going to spend a lot of time belabouring this point, only because we could write a whole series of blog posts on colour theory. Actually, we already wrote a post on this idea back in May, so you can have a look at that for more in-depth information.

The central takeaway is that colours schemes in your office matter, and they definitely correlate to the level of productivity. The best thing that you can do is speak to office interior designers in London for specific guidance in this department. They'll be able to provide you with specific tips and direction based on your existing design as well as any goals you have for the office interior.

Conclusion: Boosting Productivity is a Proactive Endeavour

There you have it. Office productivity is directly linked to the interior design scheme—and that's something that you can actually control. We are amongst the most experienced office designers in London today, and we take issues like this seriously. If you would like to learn more about how you can influence in-house productivity through more proactive design, don't hesitate to contact us. We love talking about modern design theory. Take a look at one of our most creative projects completed for a design agency in London "Creature of London."



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