Take care of your employees to keep them happy and engaged is a no-brainer, right? You want a smile on their faces because they are the engine that keeps your company growing. The office’s physical environment is a top factor in a positive workplace experience.
The physical environment affects how employees interact, perform tasks and are led. The design of a room or meeting place drives productivity and work satisfaction.
A large number of work environment studies point to a relationship between worker satisfaction and specific workplace features. Ambient features in office environments can have a positive influence on employee health and, consequently, on productivity. Pay special attention to:
Ample lighting can help reduce eye strain and overall fatigue over the course of the day.
Environments that are too hot or too cold can be a big distraction and result in higher utility bills. Check in with employees to determine the right temperature. Note that many women are comfortable at a higher temperature than men.
Having a generous flow of oxygen is important for mental sharpness and sustained energy.
Good acoustics help reduce the din that causes a needless elevation of stress levels. Also note whether sound travels through walls, so that confidential meetings and phone calls do not seep through closed spaces.
The effect of poor quality furniture builds over time. Sitting at a desk and performing repetitive movements such as typing can result in pain and posture problems.
Open vs. Closed Floor Plan
Although the open-plan offices were popular in the not-too-distant past, the trend has shifted back to a closed floor plan. A closed office floor plan means each employee has a separate office of their own or there are a few people in each closed office.
Advantages of Closed Floor Plans
While closed floor plans can cost more in terms of amount of required space and furniture, the cost of lost productivity in an open-plan office is much higher. Here are some compelling reasons to invest in quieter, more private spaces:
1. The peace workers need to concentrate on complex tasks
Study after study has suggested that chaotic background noise increases the amount of effort required to complete tasks.
2. Fewer interruptions
Noise and interruptions can interfere with memory. When workers are interrupted, they forget what they were doing and must restart the task rather than work continuously. It typically takes over 20 minutes to get back on track after an interruption.
3. Ease on introverts
While interruptions and noise disrupt the productivity of even the most gregarious among us, the absence of privacy can be a real stressor to introverts. Give them the environment they need to perform at their best!
Over to You
What aspects of your office environment do you find most productive or disruptive? What is something you can’t live with or without?