Workplace productivity depends on more than pep talks, motivational speakers, and the occasional pat on the back. While these can help, there are five important Workplace Productivity Considerations to consider when selecting office space that can help boost productivity. As you view your office space, or as you shop around for new space, think about your employees and these five factors:
While no sensible worker expects to have the ultimate in creature comforts at their work station, furniture should be comfortable enough for an employee to work in reasonable comfort for their entire shift. Chairs and desks should accommodate people of vastly different sizes, especially if you have a very tall employee. A worker who is 6’4 will have a hard time sitting hunched over at a workstation that is too short for him. Likewise, an employee who is under 5′ tall will be uncomfortable at a workstation that requires her to have to crane her neck to see see anything. Both of these situations can increase downtime for health issues and result in both reduced workplace productivity and workers’ compensation claims. A height-adjustable workstation is the best solution, but if that’s not possible, furnish your office with chairs and desks that can be adjusted to a great degree.
- Spatial Awareness
Hand-in-hand with the comfort level of office furniture is the amount of space your furniture and other fixtures are going to take up. Many employees do not work well if they are crowded at their workstations. They lose time having to maneuver through a maze of cabinets and cubes just to get to the printer. You need to have ample storage, but you also need to have ample room for that storage. Also be sure you have a conference room for groups to meet in. In a crowded office, even the simple act of three people stopping in a pathway to exchange and compare notes on a project can cause a serious road-block.
- Noise Levels
You can’t get away from noise. Every office has at least a low-level of ambient noise. While noise affects everyone differently, and low-level noise isn’t enough to cause hearing loss, it can still lead to stress. While there are numerous ways to help an employee deal with this, such as allowing personal decor in their work space to help create a “sanctuary”, you can also help matters by making sure that no unnecessary noise intrudes. Noisy areas such as equipment rooms and server rooms should be able to be sound-proofed or have the attendant noise greatly muffled. (Larger server rooms can have decibel levels that exceed those put out by rock concerts measured right next to the amplifiers! Make ear plugs available for those who have to go into your server rooms!)
- Lighting, Natural and Artificial
The relationship between lighting and productivity is well-known. A study published at NCBI shows that a difference of 400 lux (a unit of lumens, or visible light, within a square meter) can affect productivity to a significant degree. A mixture of natural light coming in through windows and artificial light, especially in the form of desk lamps, will help improve productivity. When searching for office space, consider how the light enters at various times of the day.
- Temperature, Actual and Relative
Temperature has the biggest effect on productivity. However, it is quite the juggling act. An employee who spends a good part of the day seated at a desk will most likely feel colder than the employee who is constantly up and moving, who will feel warmer. Some seated employees can feel cold with the room at 84 degrees Fahrenheit! While allowing personal space heaters or fans might not be cost effective (especially when considering energy costs), you might consider this Cornell University study that shows an effective temperature of 77F (no warmer or cooler!) increases productivity and reduces errors by 150% and 44% respectively.
The trick to finding an office space that will suit your needs without sacrificing workplace productivity is to find a partner with the contacts and the know-how to help you get the office space you need. To see how we can help you, contact us today!