June 25, 2024

Productivity is the heart and soul of a business. If you want your employees to improve their productivity, you may need to rethink your office’s structure and setting. Location isn’t the only factor. You should also examine the layout of office furniture and equipment, the flow between employee spaces and your office’s overall vibe.

Luckily, there are ways to boost your business’s productivity and make your office a place where employees want to focus and succeed.

How to improve workspace productivity

Consider the following six ways to boost productivity by improving your workspace.  

1. Establish a strong culture, then look at your office layout. 

Your office design and layout are crucial. However, cultivating an atmosphere of workplace productivity is the first step. Here’s what you should focus on:

  • Define your company mission: The first step to creating a workplace that fosters productivity is generating excitement about your company mission. The best way to get your team on board with your goals is to let them know they’re integral to the organization’s success.
  • Define your company culture: After generating excitement about your company mission, you must foster a strong company culture. Company culture is the foundation of your business, and it influences office efficiency significantly. The organization’s values and vision must be established before you focus on an office layout or implementing new technology.
  • Set behavioral expectations: After clearly defining your company culture, you must set expectations for ethical behavior and excellent communication. Efficiency starts with cultural alignment, which is reflected in the overall company mindset and how it communicates.

After setting the correct mindset in your organization, you should examine your physical space. There’s no one right type of productive office space. Various businesses require unique office designs and layouts. First, your office space must be comfortable and set up to limit workplace distractions. 

“If the workplace is uncomfortable or full of distractions, it can make for an unhappy workplace. And when something makes you unhappy, you are simply not as productive or engaged as you could be,” cautioned Kenny Trinh, founder and CEO of Prospr Ventures. “For example, an open office layout is good for employee interaction but prone to noise and visual distractions that can make it difficult to focus on their work.”

You may want to research or experiment with various office design types, including the following: 

  • Open offices
  • Private offices
  • Combination spaces with community areas and private offices
  • Co-working spaces with meeting rooms and private areas

Consider your business, team members and industry before deciding on the best office layout for productivity. Do you need free-flowing, effective employee communication and collaboration? Are private spaces necessary for client phone calls? There’s no perfect or “best” office layout. However, as long as you meet your employees’ needs, you’re on your way. 

If you decide an open-office layout is necessary, it’s crucial to implement open-office etiquette practices, such as respecting privacy and keeping spaces clean.

2. Create opportunities for movement in your workspace.

No matter what type of physical office layout you decide on, creating ample space for movement can help your team focus and be more productive. 

“The best way that I stay focused during a long day of work is to acknowledge when I’ve hit a productivity wall and to take lots of short, quick breaks to gain a new perspective on what I’m working on,” shared Jamie Fertsch, director and co-founder of Xdesk, a United States-based company that creates customized, ergonomic desks out of environmentally friendly materials.

Fertsch’s company makes stand-to-sit desks that encourage changing positions and moving throughout the workday. However, there are many ways to build opportunities for movement into your workspace. For example, encouraging employee breaks and creating opportunities for movement can boost productivity. You could place the copy machine in a separate space so employees can get a change of scenery when they need to make copies. Alternatively, have a central water cooler to create a reason for your team to stand and move.

“Productivity is not directly correlated with time spent on a task,” Fertsch explained. “It’s important to make sure that you’re recalibrating and refueling once in a while.”

“[Consider] a workspace that doesn’t confine employees to one spot and gives them the option to work remotely, sit outside, etc.,” advised Sean Hayes, chief technology officer of Sensaria.

3. Incorporate plants and greenery in your office environment.

An assortment of plants isn’t just about creating attractive social media photos. Plants and greenery can significantly enhance an office environment. 

“I like to make my space feel a little more alive,” Fertsch explained. According to Fertsch, while houseplants are not a traditional method of creating a productive workspace, that doesn’t mean their impact is imaginary.

Ron Radu, co-founder of Léon & George, agrees, saying that plants can create an environment conducive to increased productivity.

“Having lots of plants around the workspace helps produce cleaner air and it motivates employees to be more energetic and creative,” Radu explained. “Scientific studies have proven the positives of more greenery for offices. From reducing stress to increasing productivity and creativity, plants have oodles of pros.”

4. Give tech gadgets a home.

Smartphones, tablets and other gadgets can help you stay organized and efficient. However, they can also be huge distractions that create clutter. In particular, smartphone-addicted employees can lose valuable work time without even realizing it. 

For Fertsch, the best way to avoid the temptation of wasting time on mobile devices is to find a home for gadgets ― and leave them there.

“These days, we all have so many screens competing for our attention, so create a ‘home’ for your smartphone, smartwatch and other potentially distracting gadgets,” Fertsch advised. “Keep them in a dedicated place while you do your work so you won’t be sidelined by a constant stream of notifications.”

A good place to stash your electronics is in a drawer. Out of sight, out of mind.

5. Keep your workspace clean.

If you’re sitting in a messy area thinking about how cluttered your area is and how you should clean it, you’re probably not getting much work done.

“Take a few minutes every day to tidy up your workspace,” Fertsch recommended. “You can do this by throwing out unnecessary items and maintaining whatever organization system suits your style, so those extra distractions and clutter don’t bog.”

In addition to cleaning or organizing your workspace daily, Fertsch advises professionals to organize their to-do list for the next day at the end of every workday, so they can hit the ground running in the morning. “This helps me reflect on what I accomplished for the day and how I can move forward to produce great work tomorrow,” Fertsch added.

Ron Lieback, founder and CEO of ContentMender, recommended treating your work desk like a blank document on which you’re about to create important work. 

“A blank document actually allows your mind to focus more,” Lieback explained. “Now, picture that document filled with random words and numbers all cluttered onto the paper and you have to write in between this. Your mind will play tricks on you and focus will be impossible. The same goes for an unorganized office.”

While some personalities may thrive with a messy desk, a clean environment can set the tone for meeting deadlines and behavioral expectations and foster goodwill among co-workers.

6. Personalize your office space.

Personalizing your space ― in moderation, of course ― can increase your emotional connection to your work. However, it’s important to display personal items sparingly so they don’t become clutter. 

“While items that you don’t frequently use shouldn’t take up valuable desk real estate, I still like to tailor my space to appeal to my visual side,” Fertsch shared. For example, in addition to a productivity-boosting plant, Fertsch keeps a personal desktop calendar, which helps her stay on track throughout the workweek.

Fertsch also recommends choosing personal items that inspire you to be productive. “I like to keep a framed photo of my kids on my desk. They’re the ones that really keep me motivated throughout the day.”

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