Over half (54.3%) of workers say that the design of a workplace impacts their productivity – that’s according to the Leesman Index – a benchmark tool on global workplace strategy, management, satisfaction, and eﬀectiveness.
As an employer, the onus is on you to explore how to create a working environment for your staff which serves to enhance their wellbeing and morale, as well as productivity and performance. After all, research has shown time and time again that when this is compromised, so too is the standard of work. It’s therefore in your best interests, as well as theirs, to look after your staff in this way.
In this blog we’re going to give some pointers to businesses that want to create a working environment for their staff that aids their productivity and creativity.
Making changes to the structure of an office
According to the latest study by Oxford Economics, open-plan offices lower both output and morale in the workplace. This is likely to be a surprise to a lot of companies, as the trend over the last decade has been to open up offices with the idea to encourage interaction between staff.
However, for some people working in an office that is open plan can be a distracting environment. This in turn can impact the ability to get through work – particularly for those that need high levels of concentration for tasks such as writing content. The same study found that millennials find this office structure to be noisy and interrupt their work time, so businesses should take note.
On the other hand, compartmentalised offices can be isolating for some staff, so a balance needs to be struck between encouraging staff interaction, and facilitating those that need some peace and quiet. There are a number of things that businesses can consider to get the right balance and create an environment that works for most of their staff:
Rooms for meetings and group work
In any business, communication is one of the key components for success, and it’s particularly important in companies that need their staff to be constantly creative. While open plan offices are great for teambuilding and can encourage teamwork in general, it’s still important to make sure there are rooms where meetings and group work can take place – so that colleagues aren’t interrupted by the everyday happenings of the office. Equally, you don’t want a lively brainstorm to be taking place in the corner of the office distracting everyone else.
Breakout areas for those who prefer a little privacy and solitude
It’s not always affordable to provide rooms big enough to cater for meetings and brainstorms, particularly if the team is big. In this case, smaller areas in the office could be dedicated to breakout spaces for staff that need to concentrate for long periods of time and be away from the hustle and bustle of a busy office.
Inspiring décor to stimulate creativity
Sitting at a desk in front of a desktop surrounded by grey walls can stifle creativity. Having vibrant colours throughout an office will be stimulating for some staff’s brains and in turn encourage them to be more creative in their ideas. However, it’s definitely worth businesses consulting staff before making big changes to the colour scheme of the office – for some people sitting in a bright pink office could be off-putting.
Smaller changes can help, too
Understandably, it might not always be possible to incorporate all the above into an existing office space, but there are also smaller things that can be done.
In fact, a recent study found that something as small as bringing office plants into the workspace can help improve staff productivity and staff wellbeing by up to 50%. Live plants improve the quality of the air in the room, reduce stress levels and blood pressure, aid concentration, and increase productivity – making them a cost-effective way to improve the working environment for staff.
Other small things such as bringing speakers into the office so staff can play music can also go towards creating a good working atmosphere – as long as noise levels are monitored carefully.
Offices where workers are tied to their desk can sometimes feel suffocating and may smother creative thinking. For many staff, having an hour or two away from their desks – just sitting elsewhere in the office space, can be a great way to get their creative juices flowing. In providing an environment for staff that is designed around them, it increases the likelihood of having a happier, and more productive workforce. And if you’re unable to make structural changes to your workspace, purchasing a few plants can make a really big difference too.
Have you made any changes to your workspace to improve staff productivity and creativity? Let us know over on Twitter @Found_People!