If you have ever tried to work in an office that was disorganized and dull, you are well aware of the effects that your environment can have on your productivity. Whether it is in the office or in your home, our mind and our body react to our immediate surroundings. Even if we follow all of the right productivity tips and do all of the right things, we can still feel groggy and unproductive because the office environment that we are in.
It is only in the past decade that companies have begun to invest some serious money into researching the ways in which office environment impacts worker productivity and the steps that can be taken to optimize their surroundings. Everything from desk layout to the color of the walls has been extensively tested in several studies. When you are a company looking to get an edge over your competition, you are willing to tweak any little thing that will ensure your success.
However, you don’t need to worry about micro-managing every little thing about your office environment. In fact, it will take no more than a few major changes to see a big difference in productivity among your workers and in yourself!
Create a hybrid between open spaces and closed spaces.
There has been a big debate among productivity experts regarding the advantages and disadvantages of open spaces and closed spaces. If you take a look at any modern startup, you shouldn’t be surprised to find several open spaces in which there is room for collaboration and interaction among workers. This is a sharp contrast to the typical office design where everyone is in a closed space and shut off from contact with other people.
The truth is that there are a time and a place for both spaces. An open space is useful when people want to get together and collaborate on solving a difficult problem. It is also beneficial for socialization and relaxation during the day. The disadvantage with this type of layout appears when it comes to individual worker productivity.
It has been shown that workers are unable to focus and concentrate in open spaces as well as they can in a closed space. This is because they are forced to deal with constant distractions and interruptions from the people that surround them.
A closed space offers the advantage of getting some serious work done. Whenever you need a few hours of interruption-free time, there is nothing that boosts your productivity more than closing a door and sending a signal to others that you are not to be disturbed.
The downside to this is that you will find it hard to be creative when collaborating or problem-solving with an individual through a webcam. This kind of activity is better done when the interaction is face-to-face and you have access to a whiteboard.
Therefore, the solution is to have both kinds of spaces available in your office. You need closed spaces for when deeply focused work needs to be done, and open spaces for when collaboration needs to take place. Within a typical working day, there is a time and place for both kinds of activities.
Offer healthy alternatives for food and drink.
It is typical for an office to offer several treats to their workers in the form of sodas, candies, donuts, and other processed food. The problem with this is that it creates a culture of unhealthiness among workers. When you eat those foods, you tend to feel sluggish, and it is difficult to get work done. Add on to the fact that most people tend to live sedentary lives, and you have a recipe for lowered productivity.
Ditch the processed foods and start offering healthier alternatives in the kitchen area. Vegetables, fruits, cold cuts, healthy drink options – these are the foods that will keep your workers feeling energized and alive. When you start off by making this change, it sets the tone for other workers to follow suit and rethink their health habits. Healthier and happier workers are always more productive.
Purge the clutter.
Have you ever noticed the difference in your productivity when you work in a clean and organized space versus an area where everything is disorganized and cluttered? It’s not just you – this is a widespread effect that has led to the rise of consultants who specialize in helping people deal with their clutter and their trash.
It is relatively easy to organize your surroundings and get rid of anything that is not of immediate use to you. If you are really focused, you could probably knock this task out in a few hours. You can start by organizing your network cables so that you know where each one is located and what purpose it serves. You can take all of the papers lying around on your desk and see what can be processed or thrown in the trash. You can return borrowed items to their rightful place. Get creative!
As you can see, these productivity-boosting office tricks are quite effective when applied, but, more importantly, they are very simple to do. The best way to instill long-lasting change is to start small and work your way up from there. You might notice a difference in the quality of work that you get done, and so will everyone else.