The Effect Of The Office Environment On Employee Productivity
How the environment really affects work productivity
You might be of the opinion that employees are individually motivated, that their work ethic comes only from within and the surroundings in which they happen to work make little difference.
If this sounds like you, maybe it’s time to take a fresh look at what management and leadership gurus have learned about the relationship between employee environment and productivity.
Sound and lighting
While surround sound might be wonderful for your home entertainment system or in a movie theater, a lack of sound control can cause a real problem in the workplace.
Some business leaders opt to install sound-absorbing panels if a workplace is really noisy, for example if it’s a communal, open-plan space and everyone uses the phone a lot. Others agree to a mutually acceptable playlist to keep employees motivated, or permit the use of personal headphones if that suits some individuals.
Good lighting is key for making sure employees are energized, and therefore productive. Daylight compact fluorescent light bulbs are a great idea, or if you have the opportunity to introduce real natural light, you should consider installing bright and cheerful wooden window shutters. They can be adjusted and modified to control the level of daylight entering the office environment as well as to protect privacy.
Like an architect, you can argue forever about whether form follows function or the other way around, however the surefire solution for a good, productive office hangs on certain key principles. Leaders and managers who want to be accessible to their employees, but on their own terms, need to create a space for themselves that is visibly welcoming, like when the door is open, and decidedly private, like when the door is shut.
The ideal office environment for productivity also needs to be task-focused. Whether you have opted for shared hot desks or individual cubbyholes, your employees need to be close to the equipment or appliances they use most frequently, not so far away that they constantly disturb other people when trying to get to the franking machine or the scanner.
To share or not to share
In all the arguments about whether shared or private offices are best, it has to be noted that most business leaders prefer not to have to mingle with their employees all day, every day.
If space is at a premium you can stick with the hot desk policy but allow your members of staff to personalize the office or their section of a shared desk with photos or occasionally small items that make it feel more like their own space. Smart leaders watch how their staff work and the rhythm of their productivity and then suggest possible options afterwards.
Finally, current wisdom has it that zoning your office space is a great way to designate some spaces as workstations and others as chill-out places. The easiest option is to pay attention to (and adjust) the kinds of furniture you use in each case. Relaxing spots also benefit from some indoor greenery and calming colors.