Did you know that the most significant factor in determining employees’ ability to focus is their physical environment? In fact, it’s been said that a well-designed office can increase productivity by about 20%. A few low-cost improvements, such as those that follow, can make a very positive difference.
Adjust lighting. Bad lighting can cause fatigue, eyestrain, headaches and irritability, while dark spaces can actually produce depression. Consider using natural-spectrum lightbulbs, and make windows available and inviting.
Reduce clutter. A messy, disorganized workplace is unlikely to be as productive as a neat one. Encourage employees to keep their own environment tidy by providing plenty of storage space and organizers. Consider setting aside a day each month for office cleanup, placing large recycling bins around the workspace to encourage decluttering.
Get out the paint. The color of office walls — boring white, beige or gray — can lead to sadness and depression, says a recent University of Texas study. Try refreshing your walls in blue — considered an excellent color for productivity. Bits of orange and other bright colors add visual interest and stimulation. If your workplace focuses on physical activity, give red a try. It has been shown to increase heart rate and blood flow.
Check the temperature. You might think a slightly chilly office would induce activity. But it turns out that warmer workspaces make people more productive. Ease off on the air conditioning. To accommodate personal preferences, map out your office to seat heat-lovers in the warmest area and those who prefer a chill in the air elsewhere.
Reduce noise. Collaboration is critical to a successful business, but work environments that encourage collaboration at the expense of distraction-free, focused work may be harming both. If possible, provide separate areas for active collaboration and others for quiet, focused work.
Boosting productivity isn’t so much a matter of cracking the whip as it is providing your employees with a comfortable and pleasant working environment. Luckily, you don’t have to break the bank to do it.
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