How to set up your office for optimal productivity

Anabelle Smyth | 18th May 2017

As adults in the workforce, we spend about 40 percent of our time at work.

Some people work outside and don’t have a traditional office space. But for the rest of us, going into the office to work an eight-hour day at our desks is the norm.

It can be difficult to maintain your productivity being in one place for so long. As business leaders, it is your job to ensure your people are their most productive selves. It takes more than micromanaging the task-fulfillment-process, we need to provide an environment that exudes performance and productivity

Our office space is our second home, so why not make the most of it?

Below are some tips and tricks on how to organise your office to increase engagement and productivity.

Use the Right Lighting

A recent study just came out of Northwestern University in Chicago about the benefits of natural sunlight in the office. One of the co-authors of the study, Ivy Cheung, concluded that there are many benefits to having natural light in the workplace.

“The extent to which daylight exposure impacts office workers is remarkable,” said Cheung. “Day-shift office workers’ quality of life and sleep may be improved via emphasis on light exposure and lighting levels in current offices as well as in the design of future offices.”

If you are in the process of looking for a new space, consider one that has many windows. Unfortunately, many of us can’t afford to uproot the business and move. However, there are other solutions. Consider investing in light bulbs that mimic natural sunlight. Little changes like this can really boost your office’s productivity.

Time to Stand Up

The trend of standing desks has become more common as we start to understand how bad sitting is for your health.

These types of desks can be quite an investment for your company to make, but they can drastically increase both productivity and wellbeing. Standing up can help improve focus, alleviate back pain, and offer a healthy break from hours of sitting.

Standing desks are well worth the investment and the gesture will not go unnoticed by your people. Positive change like this can help your business move one step closer to promoting wellbeing and health – as well as productivity.

Colour Me Productive

It is important to consider the colours of your office carefully, as each colour can project a certain message and affect the way your people work.

The science behind colour psychology is very interesting and lengthy. Here’s the gist, different colours affect our moods and attitudes. For instance, red is often associated with energy, strength and power. Yellow can be linked to feelings of joy and happiness. Choose the colours of your office according to the type of energy you’d like to promote, or whatever aligns best with your company culture and branding.

Maximise everything and use your space 

Normally each area or piece of furniture in an office is designed for one purpose. This is not very resourceful and it will not help to boost everyone’s productivity. Multi-purpose offices will maximise space and cater to everyone’s working style.

Consider installing drawable walls and watch your people get creative and share their ideas and innovations with you. Use your seating area as the meeting room, relaxation room and interview room. Add plug sockets to some arm chairs so your people can work from the laptops in comfort. You could even install phone chargers too and create an entire workstation from a chair! The choice is yours…

A Change of Atmosphere

We all take breaks, and we should! Working constantly is impossible, your brain needs a rest. Let them know they should schedule the time to rest and recharge. These breaks don’t need to be super long, just something that will break up the work day.

By allowing your people to take short breaks, you will help them to recharge their batteries and tackle their work with a new boost of energy.  These breaks don’t need to be very long, just something that will break up the work day and allow your people to have control over their duties and time.

Employees that take breaks are often more effective than others who don’t. Taking breaks will aid everyone’s creativity and ensure they want to come to work – which will be reflected in their output.

Bring Your People into the Conversation

This final tip is based more on communication than the environment, but it is significant enough to be mentioned.

Many companies just expect their employees to put their head down and get to work. By creating open lines of communication with everyone and responding to their feedback, you will be able to gauge the sentiment of your people and create action plans to improve engagement and productivity. This will also bridge gaps and create a culture of openness and honesty.

Many companies just expect their employees to put their head down and get to work. Productivity is much more complicated than that.

Gather your employees and discuss strategies with them to increase productivity. Do your best not to come off as condescending, but rather as helpful and insightful. Make it clear that you are open to different, creative ideas on how to best increase productivity. There are multiple ways to increase efficiency.

The one piece of advice that is more valuable than any of the tips on this list is: find out what works for you and your employees. Everyone is different and there is no “one-size-fits-all solution.” Try different things until you find the best solution for everyone.  Embrace change and don’t be afraid to try something new.