Creating a productive work environment takes planning and innovation – you need to know how your staff work to create a space that’s suited to their needs to encourage productivity and keep your employees engaged. But it’s no easy feat when you factor in budgets, available space and changing work habits.
The best course of action is to optimise your space for flexibility so you can adapt as your business evolves. Here are a few handy tips to help you create a stylish yet practical office.
Consider your seating plan
Where you seat your staff plays a big role in how productive they are, so consider not only departments within your team but also personality types, the need for supervision and mentorship, and skill sets.
You might be planning on bringing on interns or entry-level employees who will need to be near someone they can turn to if they need assistance. Similarly, you might have a group of staff with the same skill set who should be together to encourage idea generation and co-working. Environmental factors also play a part, such as lighting and temperature.
Simply grouping everyone by department might not be the best use of space and it could hinder your growth as a business when it comes to engagement and productivity.
Break up the floor space
Creating hubs for collaboration and quiet work allows staff to move between areas as they see fit depending on what they’re working on. Office partitions are a useful way of breaking up an open-plan office and can be moved around as needed as your team grows or the requirements of your business change.
By partitioning the space, you can maintain a bright and open feel but still have dedicated areas to work in that are best suited to different tasks, whether it’s meetings, brainstorming activities or peaceful spots to get your head down and achieve work to tighter deadlines.
Clear high traffic areas
It’s easy to go overboard with office furniture, but too much and your office could quickly look cluttered. Make sure that as you’re planning your office, you’re considering ways to keep the spacious, open feel while also providing staff with the equipment and workstations they need.
One way to do that is to keep high traffic areas free from furniture so that there are plenty of areas for people to walk, gather for a chat or even relax if need be. It stops the office becoming chaotic and prevents staff disturbing their colleagues when they’re moving through the space.
Pay attention to lights
Lighting might seem like just a necessary part of the office set-up, but it actually contributes to productivity more than you realise. Light intensity and the colour temperature of lights can affect human behaviour so to keep your staff happy and motivated throughout the day, you need to pay close attention to the lighting you introduce into the space.
It’s not just the workstations that need to be well lit but the whole office – avoid dark spots and shadows as they create a cosy ambiance which isn’t what you want in a workplace. Brighter lights, and as much natural light as possible, will keep everyone pumped up and alert rather than drowsy and lethargic.
Don’t focus solely on work
Yes, an office is meant for achieving business goals and getting work completed. But if you neglect the sense of community within your business, you’re at risk of losing staff and fostering low morale. Having areas where staff can interact and talk is just as essential as having areas where they can work hard, as it all impacts communication, teamwork and happier employees.
When you’re planning the layout of your office, think about how you can accommodate collaboration with meeting rooms and relaxed open spaces that are best for casual chats. You should also have break rooms or areas where people can grab a coffee, eat their lunch or simply take ten minutes to refocus.
It’s well known that business owners need to provide a safe work environment for their staff, but they also need to keep the space conducive to their team’s best work. Optimising the office for productivity, collaboration and a positive work culture can do wonders for your business as a whole, making it time and money well-spent.