The average full-time employee spends around 40 hours a week in the office. Add that up over a year and that’s a lot of time spent in one place that isn’t their home. After all, they didn’t choose the color of the walls, the style of chairs or the hideously patterned carpet. To them, it’s just a working space where they work.
But why not make your office space different? Office design can be a low priority in a business, but a little consideration can go a long way. By making big or even small changes to employees' surroundings, the impact on productivity can be huge.
Designing an office to promote employee performance can be approached in a number of ways and with a number of budgets. So why not experiment to see how much office design could improve your workforce’s productivity? Here are five ideas on how certain design elements can impact employee performance.
1. Welcome staff into work with an inspirational view
Whether employees have rushed into work after a long traffic jam or they’ve woken up on the wrong side of the bed, making them feel welcome as soon as they step through the door can set their day back onto the right foot.
You wouldn’t welcome a colleague with a blank stare, so why would you offer them blank walls to greet them in the morning? Wallsauce.com have a stimulating collection of office wallpapers. Their designs won’t only give employees a metaphorical morning wave but keep them motivated throughout the day.
From mountain, forest or lake wall murals, landscape feature walls are also excellent for office spaces - especially if they have little natural light or lack a view. If you want to get creative, you could even install a window-effect wallpaper to maximize the feeling of space.
2. Brighten their day with natural lighting
Lighting is key in creating a refreshing, air-filled working environment. Instead of synthetic electrical fixtures, natural light from windows is great for keeping employees energized. It’s good for the carbon footprint, keeps them in sync with their natural time schedules, and decreases the cost of the monthly electrical bill.
Not only do they encourage light, but windows offer somewhere for your employees to rest their eyes. Perfect for giving their eyes a break from staring at a screen. Sometimes these little pauses for thought lead to those all-important lightbulb moments. Something that every business wants to reap the benefits from.
3. Keep minds fresh with air purifying plants
Plants aren’t just ornamental in office design. Of course, they’re pretty, but they have underlying factors that are far more important when it comes to employee performance.
In recent years, we’ve seen a burst of biophilic design in office spaces where on-trend living walls have become a popular choice. There’s also been an influx of hanging plants suspended from ceilings to give the workplace a hip, boho look.
But style isn’t the number one priority when it comes to incorporating plants into your office design. Many studies show that plants in the workplace can have a positive influence on employees. Plant life not only improves concentration but productivity as well as memory. Having plants in your office space is a no brainer: plants are really rooting for you.
4. Declutter the office to declutter employees’ minds
They say a tidy home is a tidy mind and it’s just the same when it comes to office interior design.
Thanks to the rise in technology, endless dust-smothered filing cabinets are becoming a thing of the past - and it’s really for the better. Instead, offices are more agile and have less furniture. Many businesses are encouraging employees to have more liberty to work where they want and as a result, are more productive. Say goodbye to the days when sitting at the same desk for 40 years was the norm and you can definitely start saying farewell to cubicle desk areas.
But keeping employees’ desks uncluttered can still be a problem. Some colleagues like to have endless frames of their loved ones or others tend to hoard endless containers of empty porridge pots. Try to promote keeping desks tidy among employees and to ensure nearly every object on their desk is functional. That being said, feng shui teaches us that it’s incredibly important to have different elements at your working area. Two of those are having at least one personal object such as one framed photo and a natural element, such as a plant. It’s all about being selective and minimalist in your approach to desk arrangement: clearing away clutter clears the mind.
5. Open team’s ideas by surrounding them in open spaces
Research shows that open space interior design is highly beneficial to our health and wellbeing. The lack of walls and clear space allows natural light to stretch further into the room, brightening up the office as well as our mood.
Even if you have a small office, embracing open spaces can be achieved by opting for open-plan office design. Breaking down partitions and creating more of an agile space can also break down barriers among employees. It improves communication, develops a culture within the company and allows creativity to flow.
Instead of cubicle desk mazes, businesses are beginning to create separate work areas for specific types of work. These zones also consider the needs of every employer so that they can choose where they work most productively. From collaborative workspaces for the next big idea and quiet zones for deep concentration, office design is changing.