How Your Office Environment Can Enhance Your Productivity

bright office space

A well designed office has been found to improve productivity by 20%.

We all have days when we struggle to get motivated. Simple distractions can quickly send us off track from the task in hand. So as an important deadline looms, is procrastination to blame or could our surroundings have a part to play in our lack of focus?

Various studies over the years have arrived at the same conclusion; your office environment has a huge impact on how you work and your productivity. A well designed office has been found to improve productivity by 20%. However, many employers are still sceptical and do not consider investment in workplace design as a priority.

Whilst cost is obviously an important factor, in many cases, only slight adjustments or additions need to be made. So, what can we do to make improvements to office morale and our productivity?

What Workers Want From Their Office Environment

A Human Spaces worldwide study of 7,600 office workers from 16 countries looked at the impact of the office environment on employee wellbeing. When asked what they wanted from their office environment, these were the top 5 requirements:

  1. Natural Light
looking out the office window

Natural light can increase alertness and give a boost to your attention span

Nearly half of the workers surveyed in the Human Spaces survey had no natural light in their workplace. Natural light can increase alertness and give a boost to your attention span. Even if you are not lucky enough to sit by a window, take regular breaks and look out of a window for a few minutes to boost your productivity levels.

Where natural light is not an option, full spectrum lighting can be used to improve visual clarity, mood and alertness. Light boxes have been proven to aid people who suffer from Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) during dark winter months.

  1. Indoor Plants
office plants

Plants increase creative performance and innovative thinking

A study carried out at Texas A&M University found that plants increase creative performance and innovative thinking. Sick leave can also be reduced as rooms containing plants contain 50-60% fewer airborne moulds and bacteria.

  1. Quiet Working Space

In our previous article Turning It Up to 11: The Problems of a Noisy Office we described how 7 out of 10 workers in open offices said they were affected by noise in their workplace. Noise is distracting and as a consequence it can raise stress levels. Noise cancelling headphones, low panels between desks and quiet spaces and rooms can all help workers find their concentration in busy and loud environments.

  1. View of the Sea
office by the sea

Yeah, we wish…

OK, we know, not feasible for every office. Instead, change your screensaver to a beach scene or hang a picture on the wall to compensate.

  1. Bright Colours

Colours affect our mood and our brain function. Choosing the right colours within the work place can have a significant impact on performance. Research carried out by upwork.com concluded that:

  • Blue – Stimulates the mind and aids productivity
  • Yellow – Encourages creativity
  • Green – Helps people to relax
  • Purple – Helps problem solving
  • Red – Commands attention

It may not be practical to paint an entire office with all these colours but you can add colour to your workspace in more subtle ways.

  • Use coloured files and desktop accessories to brighten up your desk.
  • Hang pictures that are dominated by a specific colour to change the mood of a room or office space
  • If you have a favourite colour, place items on your desk in this colour to inspire you during the working day.

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Michelle Roper-Shaw