How to Create a Productivity-Enhancing Workspace
Productivity is the heart and soul of a company. If you want your employees to improve their productivity, it could be due to the structure and environment of your office. Not only the location, but also the arrangement of office furniture and equipment, the flow between employees' rooms and the general atmosphere of your office.
Fortunately, there are resources that can increase the productivity level of your business and make your office a place where your employees want to do their work. Read on for tips and advice on how to achieve this.
While physical space is certainly important, it is also crucial that you create an atmosphere of productivity in your workplace. This means that you need to generate enthusiasm for your company's mission and communicate to employees that they are essential to achieving these goals.
"In my opinion, making your office more efficient starts with the corporate culture," said Raven Beria, founder of the brand consultancy Brandalaxy. "It doesn't matter what kind of technology or office layout you have if you have not defined the values or clarified the vision of your company," said Raven Beria, founder of the brand consulting firm Brandalaxy.
According to Beria, it's because corporate culture is the foundation of your business. "By focusing on clearly defining your corporate culture, you set expectations for behavior. In summary, efficiency begins with the way you think, communicate and align your culture".
Simon Hansen, founder and blogger of Best Sports Lounge, also believes that efficiency and productivity begin with a strong corporate culture that rewards effort and encourages employee engagement.
"An office is more than just its building. It is important for companies to reward progress, ensure flexible working and promote the key people in their company: their employees," said Hansen.
But sometimes the design of an office is also important. Kayla Pendleton, owner and founder of Coworking Space Her Space, recognized this and integrated it into the physical design of her sites.
"As a creator of a coworking community, it was extremely important to create shared spaces that leverage the best features of flexible workspaces to enhance the community, but also help my members be extremely productive," said Pendleton. "I've learned that if you have an open office space or shared spaces, you also need to have meeting rooms where people can have privacy for concentrated work or for phone calls.
The design and layout of your office also depends on the type of business you run.
"If the workplace is uncomfortable or full of distractions, it can become an unhappy workplace. And if something makes you unhappy, you're just not as productive or engaged as you could be," says Kenny Trinh, managing editor at NetBookNews. "An open office layout, for example, is good for employee interaction, but prone to noise and visual distractions that can make it difficult for employees to concentrate on their work.
Trinh said there is no such thing as a perfect or "best" office layout, but as long as your employees' needs are prioritized, you're on the right track.
"The best thing I can do during a long working day is to concentrate on recognising when I've hit a productivity wall and take many short, quick breaks to gain a new perspective on what I'm working on," said Jamie Fertsch, director and co-founder of Xdesk, a US-based company that manufactures bespoke ergonomic desks using environmentally friendly materials.
Fertsch manufactures a stand-sit desk that encourages people to change position and move around during the workday, but you can also incorporate other movement options into your workspace. Things like placing the copier or telephone on the side of the room opposite the computer and a central water cooler create reasons to stand and move.
"Productivity is not directly related to the time spent on a task," Fertsch added. "It is important to make sure that you recalibrate and refuel from time to time.
Part of creating movement could also mean allowing your employees to work from home or creating flexible schedules if your company allows.
"Think of a workplace that doesn't confine employees to one place and allow them to work from a distance, sit outside, etc.," says Sean Hayes, technical director at Hausera.
No, really! A plant assortment is not only suitable for pretty social media photos. They are also of great use in an office.
"I like to make my room a little more lively," Fertsch explained. She noted that house plants are not a traditional method of creating a productive workspace, but that doesn't mean that their effect is imaginary.
Ron Radu, co-founder of Léon & George, said that plants can create an environment that is conducive to increased productivity.
"Having lots of plants around the workplace helps create cleaner air and motivates employees to be more energetic and creative," Radu said. "Scientific studies have proven the positive effects of more green for offices. From reducing stress to increasing productivity and creativity, plants have tons of benefits.
Smartphones, tablets and other gadgets can help you stay organized and efficient, but they can also be a great distraction and waste of time. For Fertsch, the best way to avoid this waste of time is to find a home for gadgets and leave them there.
"We all have so many screens vying for our attention these days, so create a 'home' for your smartphone, smart watch and other potentially distracting devices," Fertsch said. "Keep them in a special place while you do your work, so you're not marginalized by a constant stream of alerts," Fertsch said.
A good place to store your electronics is a drawer. Out of sight, out of mind.
If you sit in a messy area and think about how messy your area is and how you should keep it clean, you probably won't get much work done.
"Take a few minutes every day to clean up your work area," said Fertsch. "You can do this by throwing away unnecessary items and maintaining the organizational system that suits your style so that these extra distractions and clutter don't get lost.
In addition to cleaning up or organizing her workplace every day, Fertsch organizes her to-do list so that she doesn't lose time at the beginning of her work day. At the end of the day she sits down and writes down what she has to do tomorrow.
"This helps me think about what I have achieved for the day and how I can continue to do great work tomorrow," Fertsch added.
Ron Lieback, founder and CEO of ContentMender, recommended that you treat your desk like a new document - and with this new document you are about to write a blog entry or an email.
"An empty document actually allows your mind to concentrate more. Now imagine that this document is filled with random words and numbers that all get mixed up on paper, and you have to write in between. Your mind will play a trick on you and it will be impossible to concentrate. The same goes for an unorganized office".
Personalizing your space - in moderation, of course - can increase your emotional attachment to your work, but it is important not to let personal touch become the mess Lieback warns you about.
"Even if objects that you don't use often shouldn't take up valuable space on your desk, I still like to personalize my space to appeal to my visual side," said Fertsch.
In addition to a productivity-enhancing system, she keeps a personal desk calendar that helps her keep track of things throughout the work week.
She also recommends choosing personal items that inspire you to be productive.
"I like to have a framed photo of my children on my desk. They're the ones that really keep me motivated all day long."
No two employees are alike; there's no one approach to office layout, design or functionality that works for everyone. If you give your employees the flexibility to be out of the office all day, give them a few plants and personal touches and give them room to breathe, be creative and express themselves, then employees will want to be more productive and it will help them to achieve that goal more successfully.