The physical workplace plays a vital role in the overall productivity of employees. Our working environment and workplace design can have a huge impact on our performance and productivity. Let’s look at a few productivity pitfalls in office design and how we can fix them.
Lack of natural light
Natural light is one of the key factors that impact our productivity. As humans, we are designed to be exposed to natural light and work our best when we get plenty of it. One of the biggest office problems is the lack of natural light exposure that they offer the employees. If an office lacks windows, roof lights, and other installations the occupants are being denied daylight which can affect their productivity.
Lack of natural light can also cause anxiety, negative mood, and other health issues amongst occupants.
It’s important to ensure that the working space has plenty of windows and other glass installations. If you are about to renovate your office space then prioritize the inclusion of natural light as much as possible by installing windows and getting rid of partitions.
If you are renting an office space and are not able to make a lot of changes then choose an office that has glass installations. Maximize natural light in interior spaces by providing workstations around the periphery of the glazing.
Consider human circadian rhythm while installing light fixtures such as the color of the light, the temperature of the light, and proper lux levels. These can greatly help in utilizing the democracy of light.
Improper Space utilization
Well-designed office space is important these days, especially amongst the younger generation – gen z crowd. They want to work in a fun office space that also takes care of their mental health and well-being,
One of the most common reasons for moving offices or redesigning them is the lack of proper office space utilization. Workplaces that are not customized as per the people using them or if there is not enough variety in the types of setting lead to poor workspace utilization. Be it the lack of personal space or collaborative space, poor office space utilization can hamper the overall productivity of your employees leading to reduced happiness.
Workplace space analysis – Conducting a workplace space analysis will help you understand the space utilization of your office. It will help you understand the design features that will match your office and unlock any underutilized space. Convertible spaces are the latest trend. They add value to the space by using every inch of it. For example, if large meeting rooms are only used for one/two meeting calls, then you can convert them into smaller individual booths for better space utilization.
Workplace consultancy is about understanding people, their choices, analyzing the current space utilization, and coming back with data-backed solutions.
Imagine working in a zen state of mind and a sudden jarring noise disturbing your concentration; this can happen if auditory distractions are not taken care of in office environments. Persistent noise levels can be distracting for most employees and can hamper productivity.
An office that does not dampen noise from loud machines or staff can reduce efficiency. Regularity is another important factor when it comes to noise in offices. A regular noise such as a clock ticking is easier to get used to v/s a jarring irregular noise of a machine or someone’s speech. While offices with an open plan seem visually appealing, not having a quiet space can be pretty distracting for most people.
While the most effective solutions for reducing noise would be based on your specific office design, some solutions can be used in a variety of situations. If the problem lies on a foundational level, where there are too many people working at the same place or using noisy tools, then installing a sound dampening system is advisable. It can be a good idea to introduce soundproofing to your working environment.
Introduce simple elements like acoustic boards, carpets, and cloud ceilings to your workspace. They help in minimizing the noise levels to a great extent, leaving your employees in a happy state of mind.
Separating rooms for solo work or creating the very popular ‘pods’ for quiet areas can be a possible solution. Encouraging staff to use these spaces more often when they need quiet time can also help boost employee morale. Once you know where the noise is coming from you can isolate them in separate spaces wherever they are less likely to distract others.
We all know that we don’t work for the entire 9-5 period that we are in office. We often take small breaks in between like coffee breaks, lunch breaks, or just some downtime to look out of the window, etc. These mini-breaks help you rejuvenate and power through your workday with ease. If something distracts your line of sight constantly or intermittently then it can be a problem.
When it comes to visual distractions it is difficult to figure out exactly what’s causing the distraction and the design elements that are a problem.
But there could be some errors that can be easily identified such as-
1. An artwork or wall design that’s too much on the eye might be catching everyone’s attention.
2. Work desks that can be getting maximum traffic due to their location and placement.
3. Overuse of glass in the office space can lead to everyone seeing what others are doing.
4. Televisions or screens in front of workstations.
It’s important to do a check of all the visual elements that could be causing distractions. Once you have identified these, you can look at the remedies.
Try to ensure that desks and workstations are positioned in a way that they do not cause a distraction to employees. Consider using dividers that can seclude workspaces to maintain some privacy between workstations.
When it comes to visual elements it’s best to ensure that colors are not too jarring and are subtle on the eyes.
Screens must always be away from workplaces as these can be an unnecessary distraction. You can install screens in meeting rooms, canteen or places where people usually collaborate.
Lack of culture
Working in an office that doesn’t inspire you can make you feel like a culture-misfit. A workplace that doesn’t foster a healthy culture or a community feeling can be detrimental to the productivity of its employees. While perks are mislabelled usually as office culture, office designs can be incorporated to make people feel welcomed and part of a community.
As companies are now returning to work post covid, offices should be seen as places for collaboration and culture exchange.
While every company has different culture and values, these should not be merely written on the walls but must be incorporated in the workplace.
It is essential to ideate your office culture. The design elements you would like to add, how you would like people to collaborate and socialize, how people should go about setting up their workstations – all these are important questions to incorporate as a part of your company’s culture.
Once you have the vision for your company’s value it will be easier to maintain a company culture that people would want to be a part of.