Guest Blog | How Workplace Design Influences Productivity

When it comes to workplace design, seemingly trivial adjustments and enhancements can lead to big improvements from a productivity standpoint. If you are interested in approaching workplace design more strategically to ultimately increase your bottom line and improve the well-being of your workforce, the following suggestions will help point you in the right direction. 

Mind Physical Proximity

The vast majority of modern offices have bullpen-style, open floor plans. However, this popular approach to workplace design has shown to be counterproductive. Ironically, this structure actually encourages less meaningful interaction and less productivity.

If you are adamant about increasing collaboration, it’s crucial to focus on the right kind of interaction and decrease futile exchanges. In an open office, people are aware that whatever they say will probably be overheard. This type of communication is often superficial and carries less weight when compared to more deliberate, meaningful interactions made possible by increased privacy.

MIT researchers found that physical proximity has a negative correlation with productivity. By creating a workplace with less interruptions, your employees are also more apt to focus on qualitative work.

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Acoustics

Excess noise in the workplace is an ambient stressor that has been proven to affect both job satisfaction and productivity. Often a result of a reverberant atmosphere, these unwanted levels of ambient noise stifle focus and increase stress among employees.

Strategically implementing sound-absorbing materials such as wall panels, acoustic ceiling tiles, and soundproofing carpet underlay can help create a more peaceful, productive workplace.

Another way to reduce unnecessary noise would be to delegate areas with an open-plan for meetings, and if you really want to go above and beyond when it comes to soundproofing your work environment, you can even provide private, individual soundproof booths for your staff.

Adjustment Options

One of the most significant workplace design components for increased productivity is personalization options for employees.

Adjustable desks, lighting options, temperature control options and work room variation (work room variation includes private offices, different sized conference rooms and collaborative tables) increase job satisfaction and productivity.

Although not all of these adjustment options are viable for all businesses, allowing more choice when it comes to modifying the workplace environment on an individual basis facilitates more contentment at work, increasing work quality and efficiency.

Ergonomic Workstations

An analysis from the Washington State Department of Labor and Industries found that by optimizing workplace ergonomics, productivity increased by 25%, employee turnover was reduced by 48%, and absenteeism was lowered by 58%.

Ergonomic workstations that include smartly designed office furniture improve posture, reduce the risk of back and neck problems, and subsequently enhance employee well-being and productivity.

Office Landscaping

Including indoor plants in the workplace is one of the easiest improvements that has a significant influence on productivity. 

study conducted in three commercial offices in The Netherlands and the U.K. found that adding plants to the workplace increased productivity by 15%.  

Plants can increase the real air quality, as well as the perception of air quality, improving concentration and workplace satisfaction. 

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Remote Work 

Employees who are given the option to work from home are generally happier, less likely to resign, and are more productive overall.  

Remote work may not be preferred by those in leadership positions, but it’s not necessary to be a 100% remote team to experience the productivity benefits. Many companies implement hybrid protocols that involve a mix of remote work and in-office work to experience the best of both worlds.