How does office design impact productivity?
An Article by David Carter, Marketing Manager, Office Freedom
As businesses emerge from the ravages of the pandemic there is a greater desire for organisations to refocus on their people and productivity. Nowhere is this more evident than within the workplace where office requirements and their designs are under scrutiny.
According to industry experts at thehrdirector.com, “workers want to feel they’re looked after by the environment they’re in, as much as by the company they work for. That’s why people-centric layouts, and fit-out, are so crucial. Small, stuffy offices with inadequate lighting and poor facilities are now unacceptable as they are (rightly) perceived to negatively affect physical and mental wellbeing”.
87% of workers would like their employer to offer healthier workspace benefits
A carefully considered workspace design leads to a less stressful and more productive office. Employees need to feel calm and comfortable in their working environment to produce their best work. According to the Fellowes Workplace Wellness Trend Report employees want a healthy working environment. 87% of workers wanted their employer to offer healthier workspace benefits such as wellness rooms, sit-stand desks, ergonomic seating and healthier lunch options.
An overwhelming 93% of workers in tech said that they would stay longer at a company that offers healthier workplace benefits.
Flexible offices lead the way in considered workspace design
Flexible offices have some of the best examples of considered contemporary office design optimised for productivity, and are experiencing strong demand once again as people return to the office.
In recent years offices have favoured open plan designs but the pandemic has fuelled interest in flexible private offices and brought into focus the need to balance productivity and wellbeing. Many flexible offices offer private workspace and quiet spaces along with comfortable breakout areas that foster collaboration.
Key elements of design that help productivity
Flexibility – The key to a well-designed office is flexibility. Ideally you want different types of space for people to work in, dependent upon the task at hand. For example, if the main workspace is too noisy there should be a quieter space like a room, booth, or pod where workers can retreat to.
Room to move – Office workers are at their most productive if they have reasonable room to move around freely. A cramped and disorganised workspace will impact workers’ happiness and productivity. Staying put at a desk for extended periods without breaks is counter-productive and impairs the ability to concentrate, so freedom to move and alternative space is key.
Breakout Space – Breakout space is important for employee wellbeing and offers a change of scenery and a place to switch off. Breakouts spaces enhance communication and foster collaboration, offering a different environment in which to work. Breakout spaces can provide a haven, free from distraction and a reason to move around away from the desk.
Adequate storage – Office designs that provide adequate storage for personal items will reap productivity benefits. Keeping desk and floor spaces clear of clutter makes us feel at ease and we can more easily locate the items we need. For example, many Central London flexible workspaces provide space for secure bike storage, lockers, coat racks and allocated draw units for each workstation.
Access to tech – no-touch room access, super-fast Wi-Fi, wireless monitors, video conferencing and interactive whiteboards are just some examples of the technology you will find in a modern flexible serviced office. Apps that smooth operations and do tasks like facilitating fast booking of meeting rooms, are also helping improve productivity bit by bit.
Bring the outdoors indoors – It’s a fact that people are generally happier when near outside space. Therefore, offices that maximise natural light, use natural wood and textures and utilise plants have seen increases in productivity. Many flexible offices are developing that idea further by providing outdoor space as part of the working environment. Flexible offices with incredible roof terraces, courtyards and gardens are now commonplace.
Colour me happy – Office designers invest enormous thought into colour schemes as they know it can affect how we think and feel. Neutral and blue shades are thought to help concentration, whereas yellow is believed to stimulate the thought process.
In addition to the psychology of colour, the use of colour can greatly affect our perception of a space. For example, dark colours in a small space will make it seem even smaller. Flex office designers are aware of the impact of colour and tend to use a combination of bold and neutral shades to optimise the workspace colour palette.
Climate and air flow – The indoor climate can greatly influence how comfortable we feel in the office. The chilling impact of sitting on top of an A/C unit will be familiar to many. Flexible workspace providers have invested millions into climate control systems to create an optimal environment and much focus has been put on maximising fresh air flows during the pandemic.
Controlling noise – Noise is recognised as the number-one disturbance factor in an office and the acoustics of the workspace play a key role in staff wellbeing and productivity. Adding acoustic panelling to walls and ceilings absorbs sound and thereby helps reduce distractions.
By contrast, some workspaces can be too quiet for individuals, making them feel self-conscious and unwilling to vocalise ideas or make calls. These factors are careful considerations for flexible office providers.
Take a fresh look at flexible workspace
Before you embark on making a significant investment in redesigning your office to aid productivity and wellbeing, take a look at the flexible workspace alternative. Flexible workspaces are designed with productivity and well-being at their core and have gone to extraordinary lengths to provide an optimal working environment with a long list of amenities on tap. There’s a flexible office to suit every type and style of business from small start-ups to large corporates and there are some great deals available currently.
View the world of flexible office space here.
Talk to an experienced broker like Office Freedom if you’d like to discuss your office needs and review your options.