Productivity and Your Workspace
Where you work has an enormous impact on how you work, on your ability to focus (and stay focused) and your overall ability to be productive. That means the design of your office, whether you work at home or in a larger company environment, is of supreme importance.
According to studies done on productivity in the workplace, the most significant factor in determining an employee’s ability to focus is their physical environment. A well-designed office can increase your productivity about 20%. However, despite the studies and statistics, nearly half of the employers interviewed don’t consider workplace design a good business investment.
The following physical and psychological tips can help you discover how to utilize your office design for maximum productivity best:
1. Room Temperature
Most offices keep their temperatures around 65-68 Fahrenheit, but it turns out that this might not be good for productivity. Warmer rooms make people more productive. It’s recommended to keep the temperature between 70 and 73 Fahrenheit.
2. Windows and Lighting
Lighting is one of the most important factors in staying focused and feeling inspired to create, yet it’s one of the most overlooked and least invested area. Bad lighting can cause fatigue, eyestrain, headaches, depression, and overall irritability.
Make a note of how much natural light the office receives and if there is any way to increase or make optimal use of it. You could try positioning desks so that they receive a good amount of natural light. Using natural elements to decorate the office can also help compensate for a lack of natural light. You could also consider decorating with photos of natural landscapes, small indoor plants, and reflective office furniture to help create a light, airy feel.
If you have to set up in a windowless space or receive very little natural lighting, there are other ways to up your light intake. Artificial lighting is your new best friend. If you want to mimic the look of natural light, use full-spectrum bulbs that simulate daylight to keep the light soft and warm. Direct overhead lighting can aggravate employees, whereas indirect light such as lamps and other light fixtures can be considered more soothing.
If you work in a company office: You probably have no control over your general lighting so bring in your own, if need be. Consider using natural light bulbs or a light therapy device.
If you work from a home office: Open the windows and let natural light inside. Use lamps in a variety of areas for cloudy days or when it’s dark.
3. Add a Splash of Color
The colors around us all affect our moods and brain function. Colors evoke both a physical and emotional response. So, choosing the right colors for your workspace can affect your productivity.
If you work from a company office: Bring in items from home that are a certain color that inspire you and keep you focused. Use postcards, magazine cutouts; even just blocks of color will do.
If you work from a home office: If you work from home, you have much more control over the colors around you. Consider repainting a wall, adding color to the table you work at, or hanging pictures that are dominated by a specific color.
The Psychology of Color
Different colors can have different psychological effects and can impact the way people think or feel on a subconscious level. It is possible to influence your employees by using the right colors in your office design. But mind you, too much of anything can be overwhelming, even color.
Red. Associated with power; connotes strength, warmth, energy, and stimulation. It can also bring to mind aggression and defiance.
Red is an emotionally intense color. When people see the color red, their reactions become faster, and they gain an energetic boost. However, this feeling is likely to be short-lived, and ultimately red reduces analytical thinking. Red is also known to stimulate appetite, which is why it is used in many restaurants and fast food chains. The color red could become distracting in an office environment if over-used. Consider applying this color to areas like the kitchens or common spaces reserved for socializing.
Blue. Associated with intellect; connotes communication, trust, efficiency, and serenity. Blue has a positive impact on productivity and is the most common “favorite color” around the world. Blue is calming, and it typically makes us feel stable and at peace.
Yellow. Associated with emotion; connotes optimism, confidence, extroversion, and creativity. It can also bring to mind anxiety, irrationality, and fear.
Green. Associated with balance; connotes harmony, balance, rest, and peace. It can also bring to mind boredom and blandness.
Research has linked green to broader thinking, and for that matter, more creative thoughts. The color of nature, green is associated with growth and promotes feelings of balance. So if you want your employees to be more productive, consider painting green work areas. Ultimately, when deciding what color to use in your office, an obvious choice might be to go with your brand colors. However, it might instead be worth considering the connotations and psychological effects of those colors, to check that they are in line with your employees’ aims and objectives.
4. Focus on Physical Comfort
Your employees will spend an inordinate amount of time every day sitting at a desk. Making sure that their office furniture is designed for comfort is essential to keeping employees happy, healthy, and productive.
Poorly designed office furniture can lead to an increase in workers’ compensation claims for everything from carpal tunnel syndrome to slipped discs. Health issues do kill productivity. While it may not be necessary to purchase every employee a $1,000 office chair, investigate options that are designed for comfort and health. In recent years, the benefit of standing desks has become common knowledge and might be an even better option for you and your workspace. Just make sure your employees still have the option to sit too.