Increase Productivity with Workplace Design

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Have you ever been to someone’s office or work space and left wondering how they got anything done in it? Some people are just messy; combine that with a stressful-looking environment and all the components are there for a dysfunctional office space. In a 2012 study, What signals exist within our workplace data?,scholars analyzed employees who gave confessions on job performance, and published the findings to aid managers in creating a positive work environment. The information here is built upon those recommendations in the context of office design to help craft a space that's organized and results in productivity.

Keeping Organized

The kind of person described in this article’s introduction resonates deeply with me because when things at my business get stressful, I can actually witness that my desk gets cluttered and my office more messy. Though I get the work done, I know I am not always the most efficient at working in such a space. Here are some tips I have found which are the most helpful to keep an office organized.

First, take 20 minutes a day, 10 in the morning and then 10 before you leave, which are simply dedicated to tidying up. This doesn't necessarily mean cleaning with a vacuum, but throwing away lunch waste, recycling, or filing paperwork.

Make sure everything has a place. In my office, everything has a place. Seriously, every pencil, stapler, ruler and supply has a designated area from which it must be taken and replaced. I find when a busy time comes, I just throw things in the general area of where they should be, but it's imperative to your own productivity for things to be placed where they are meant to be.

Once a month, I purge my work space of all things that have sat unneeded for a certain amount of time. For the sake of being able to actually work, I need space. Having extra things around taking up that space isn’t conducive to doing my job. Therefore, once a month throw your clutter out. You will feel so much lighter when you do!

Use Natural Lighting

A woman working at a home desk in front of a window.

Even when I was a little boy, whenever I went to a shopping mall or big-box store at night, I got an instantaneous sense of drowsiness. It wasn’t until recently, when doing research for an article on the importance of natural lights, that I found research that places florescent or artificial lighting as a deterrent to human productivity. This is because such light sources have the potential to manipulate Melatonin production in the brain, altering one's internal clock, creating sleepiness. Therefore, when designing an office space, it is imperative to allow for as much natural light to be let in from the outside as possible. Don’t have a corner office? It is said that natural light bulbs are a strong second choice that, even though artificial, still positively work within the body to keep productivity on point.

Make Use of Mobile Furniture

This one is easy! A giant trend in office design right now is making furniture mobile. From desks and chairs to even equipment (iPads, laptops, printers) and cubical walls, managers are making everything mobile to allow for greater employee collaboration. Further, the larger things that are less able to be moved are either being placed centrally in the office itself or eliminated fully (filing cabinets are being replaced with cloud inspired storage systems).

Avoid Neutral and Bright Colors

A desk and chair in an empty home office with blue walls.

It's long been known that color has a great impact on human mood and emotion, which in an office environment can unknowingly be an aid or a determent to work productivity. When deciding on a color scheme for a new office space, medium-shaded colors should be used, which are pleasing to the eye without being overbearing. Colors of vibrancy, such as fire engine reds, oranges, and hot pinks are not ideal as they exude passion and fire — things not conducive with collaboration. Colors such as gray, white, and beige should also not be used around the office as they have been scientifically shown to educe moodiness and boredom. Yellows, blues, and greens, however, hold the most promise as they create a sense of happiness and creativity wherever placed, all of which in turn increases work ethic and overall worker productivity.