On an average, a person spends around seven to eight hours in the office each day. Therefore, the office environment can greatly influence the productivity of the workers. A growing body of research and studies indicate that a well-designed office is more important than other irrelevant elements like plants, location of cafeteria when it comes to worker productivity.
If you take adequate time and effort to design a well thought out office space, you will benefit greatly and reap exponential returns for your effort. According to Kutlo Mokgosana of FMA Architects in Gaborone, an office should not depress employees. The designer is of a take that a boring and uninspiring workspace can have employees dread going into the office.
When they drag themselves into their cubicles, their motivation to work drastically decreases, he says. As a result, productivity plummets and the company suffers because of a mismatched colour scheme or lifeless environment.
He advises that at the core is the office space. “It should be spacious to allow movements around,” he says, adding that it will also allow the facilitation of the exact culture that the employer wants to establish. Another important element is the flow of natural light inside the office. This, as explained by Mokgosana, will ensure that employees do not feel imprisoned inside.
Failure to allow natural light inside will make the room dark and also pose the risk of employees feeling sleepy every now and then. Mokgosana suggests that the office should have more windows to allow the flow of light. When it comes to temperature, it is advisable that the office should not be too hot or too cold. Normal temperatures are recommended from morning to evening.
Gaborone-based designer Feng Shui of Sheree Diamond states that your office should exude a feeling of success and should support your career goals. To do that, she advocates using artwork that is inspirational, displaying items that highlight your achievements, and creating a space that’s highly motivational. “This design tip will make your office a more pleasant place to be and, in turn help you get more out of your work day,” he says. US-based interior designers Heather Perrillat and Brooke Butin of Heather Brookes Interior Organisation believe that without organisation, any office design will suffer. They advise creating storage solutions that not only store items you do not use regularly but that also manage day-to-day clutter. If that seems overwhelming, start small, focus on problem areas, and create routines that make it easy for you to keep things neat and clean.
One of Oprah Winfrey’s favourite organisation gurus, Peter Walsh, says in O. magazine that attention should be paid to colour. Whether red makes you feel angry or energised, it is hard to argue that colours do not elicit emotional and physical reactions from us when we are around them for an extended period of time. That is why it is essential to choose a colour that works for you for the walls in your home office. He cites some of the best colours for offices as greens, neutrals, and purple, though individual reactions to colours do differ. Psychological studies throughout the years have repeatedly shown that our environment plays a strong role in how we feel and that, in turn, plays a strong role in how we perform. A well-designed office will not only raise employee productivity and boost communication, it can also reduce overhead and lower employee turnover. After all, part of our job satisfaction is directly linked to our working environment.In the 1990s, Thompson Legal and Regulatory Group’s headquarters were typical of most legal tax and information firms: drab grey colours with just a splash of colour in wallpaper and carpeting. As far as layout was concerned, it was efficient, but that was about it. Then the company decided to undertake an office refurbishment designing cubicles that balanced the need for privacy with the need to move into a team environment; adding soft seat areas that invite impromptu meetings and brainstorming sessions, and creating a ‘Main Street’ to draw employees from the various departments together into one centralised hub.
The company even added a coffee hangout to their traditional cafeteria. Café.com gave employees a relaxed environment where they could conduct business. The results were highly satisfactory: employee satisfaction ratings improved and staff turnover fell from 13.9 per cent in 1999 to seven per cent in 2001, resulting in a better bottom line for the company overall.