In the era of telecommuters, a lot of people still prefer to work from an office even if this means finding a shared office space in their vicinity. There are many reasons behind this, the main one being the fact that one’s home is designed for comfort, whereas an office is designed for productivity. Well, at least things are supposed to be this way. You see, there are many different ways in which the design of the office alone can make a difference in the productivity of both teams and individuals. For this reason alone, you need to check out options for your office and make it into a productive environment.
What you also need to do is learn how to make this improvement effort as systematic as possible. Sure, some see productivity as an individual matter concerning the person in question, yet, this is not an adequate approach from the standpoint of infrastructure. Think about it, boosting productivity needs to be something that you can rely on, something that you can count on. With that in mind, here are several techniques that reliably boost productivity.
1. Order is pivotal
There are several reasons why the order in the office is pivotal and all of these reasons come down to the loss of productivity. There are various experiments out there that go to show just how clutter and disorganization stand to harm your productivity. Sure, keeping everything organized may seem like too much work but what you have to realize is the fact that this loss of productivity can be quantified and calculated as a direct net loss. If you attempt to do so, you’ll see just how much money you can lose by refusing to tend to such an inexpensive problem.
One of the first advantages that you get from keeping your office well-organized is the fact that your team will have an easier job focusing on the task at hand. The number of visual distractions everywhere around the office is not to be neglected or disregarded and by eliminating all of them, you’re making it easier for your employees to focus on the screen or the file that is on their desk. This also makes your task of switching focus much easier. Think about it, multitasking is stressful and counter-productive, as it is, so why not try to make it at least a bit easier on yourself, this way.
Another massive advantage that you get from keeping the place clean is the fact that less time will get wasted by your employees searching for items they need at the moment. By keeping their desks clean, you’ll eliminate a scenario where they can’t find a crucial document or item due to the fact that it’s buried underneath a pile. The simplest way to achieve this is to create an efficient storage system and reward/penalize the organizational behavior of your employees. For those who believe that this can have a negative impact on their morale, incentivizing might be a better solution.
While you may not be aware of this, the truth is that chaos affects one’s anxiety levels in a negative way. You see, while you may be focused at one item at a time, what you fail to realize is that, peripherally, your brain is trying to process every single item in your field of vision. An inability to cope with this vast input of data in such a short time-span will definitely result in more anxiety. Needless to say, anxiety is a notorious productivity killer.
In the previous paragraph, we’ve mentioned the fact that working in a cluttered and disorganized environment may have a negative impact on your ability to remain calm. Fortunately, the other way around works, as well, which means that by working in a clean and well-organized environment, your employees will feel more motivated for work. The correlation between motivation and productivity is well-known to everyone in the business world, which is why this particular issue doesn’t require any further explanation.
2. Smaller breaks
One of the biggest problems with repetitive work (which is the most common type of office work) is the inability of a person to stay focused for too long. There are some surveys that suggest that our attention starts dropping every 20-40 minutes, which is why taking smaller breaks more frequently is more productive than making a major break at a time. This is also why interval-working methods like the Pomodoro technique are getting more and more popular. Here, you’re supposed to work for 25 minutes and then break for 5 in order to stay sharp for much longer. Every three sessions, you get one longer break (15 minutes) and the cycle continues.
Activities that one partakes in during these breaks also matter quite a bit, which is why the office kitchen is more than necessary. Having good fats (avocados, cheese, dark chocolate, whole eggs) in one’s diet is proven to boost one’s productivity, which is why having cantina that serves meals containing these ingredients might be a great idea.
Also, your kitchen area needs to have a quality coffee maker. Coffee is known to boost productivity in several ways, ranging from increasing alertness and motivation to making one’s brain processing information a lot faster. Due to the importance of this particular feature, investing in an appliance by a renowned brand and providing Lavazza Office Coffee to your office kitchen, might be a major game-changer.
Finally, recent studies have shown that taking as much as 20 minutes of nap time can reinvigorate an office worker, thus helping them achieve a peak in productivity much more reliably. This is why you might want to consider investing in a nap area in your office. Just keep in mind that this room needs to be isolated (away from general break area) and dark, so that you can provide optimal sleep conditions for your team. Since they don’t have the time to fully recuperate, you can at least provide them with the optimal quality of sleep for these 20 to 30 minutes.
3. Invest in health
Sick leave is one of the greatest blows to your productivity and there are several reasons why. First of all, one of your employees will leave (probably in the middle of an important project) and you’ll be left to figure out the solution. This means that you’ll be left either under-staffed or will be forced to find a replacement which won’t be nearly as effective as the person on sick leave. With that in mind and without further ado, you need to do all that you can in order to improve the overall health in the office and there are several things that you can do about it.
A cleaner office space is one with fewer dust particles and fewer bacteria lying around. You would be shocked to learn that an average desktop harbors over 20,961 germs per square inch. There are also 3,295 on the keyboard and 1,676 on a mouse, while an office phone alone is a disaster containing as much as 25,127 germs per square inch. This means that an average office desk contains about 400 times more germs than a toilet seat. In these conditions, is it any wonder that people get sick all the time. Fortunately, with a skilled cleaning agency on your side, this doesn’t have to be so.
The next issue you need to tend to, as well as a matter pivotal for the overall health in the office, is the freshness of the air. Generally speaking, there are three major ways for you to improve this situation. First, you can let the air in on a regular basis, which might be somewhat difficult during the pollination season. Second, you can get a quality air purifier and have it installed in an office. Lastly, you can get some indoor plants that are known for their air purifying properties. We’re talking about plants like Aloe Vera, Bamboo Palm, and English Ivy.
Lastly, your employees spend hours and hours sitting behind their office desk. This means that if the chair and the height of the desk aren’t suitable, they might develop chronic back pain and worsen their posture. These are not just long-term health-related issues but also factors that harm their productivity in the short run. Think about it, will a person that’s suffering from back pain be able to focus on the task at hand, especially if their task requires a certain degree of creativity? For this reason alone, investing in ergonomic furniture might be your best option.
At last, we come to the issue of distractions, which is something that we’ve already discussed to a degree in the ‘organization’ segment. Previously, however, we talked about visual distractions, yet, audio distractions can be even more devastating. Noise is one of the most notorious productivity-killers and there are several ways you can reduce them. From the office-layout standpoint, the traditional cubicle system is known to be less noisy, which is why it might be worth your while to give this idea a consideration. Other than this, providing all your employees with noise-canceling headphones might also do the trick, yet, this is a significantly more expensive solution.
Other than visual and audio distractions, there are several other things that can be quite problematic. First of all, there are tactile distractions, which take place if your work stations are too densely packed. This will make your employees squeeze between desks to travel across the office floor, thus distracting their coworkers. Inadequate temperature (too hot or too cold) can also be quite problematic, which is why various studies suggest that 68-76 degrees Fahrenheit is what you should aim for.
The majority of these design ideas don’t even require a massive investment in resources or restructuring of your business. Keep in mind, nonetheless, that while some of these improvements may seem minor, their joint effects accumulate to create a massive difference in productivity. The benefits that a small business can reap from them are numerous. Increased productivity means that you get to do the exact same amount of work with a smaller team, which is both frugal and profitable at the same time. Therefore, it’s more than worth adhering to the above-listed productivity tips, tricks, hacks, and suggestions.