Having just opened an office outside of the home, I want to make it the best space possible. If you’ve worked in the corporate world for at least 10 years, you’ve probably seen all types of trendy and experimental office layouts. You’ve endured everything from sky-high cubicle walls to open-concept table clusters.
Each iteration was intended to encourage increased productivity, for employees. While it’s true that no one particular style suits everybody, there are some principles that are generally good practice for creating an environment that stimulates better productivity.
Position desks near natural light. Ever notice how energized you feel when you go outside for a walk? Positioning desks close to windows or sky lights will allow employees to have more exposure to natural light and give them a boost to stay alert and more productive. I specifically choose this office space for the windows!
Allow for work time in enclosed spaces. There are times when you just need to get things done in a quiet space. It’s amazing how much can be accomplished when you are intensely focused – undisturbed – for short periods of time. This works especially well when you are on a tight deadline. It’s like having a temporary office all to yourself! We are fortunate to have a couple rooms where we can pop in sometimes to avoid distractions.
Get comfortable. While we don’t want to get too cozy at work, it’s still important that work stations have good ergonomics. Having your chair height and screen position in the right place will help reduce muscle tension – which may cause discomfort and contribute to lower productivity. It may be worthwhile to consult with an ergonomics expert.
Blow off some steam. There is a current trend towards office spaces that include recreational areas. It’s not uncommon to see ping-pong tables in a lunch room or a tv screen with a local newsfeed. These elements provide a great mental and physical shift to break the intensity of the day’s work and help employees to feel refreshed when they return to their desk. Well, ok, I don’t really have the space for a ping-pong table, but the boardroom has a TV for just chilling.
Personalize each workspace. Essentially, a workstation is a “home away from home” and its where employees spend most of their time each day. Why not encourage them to personalize their desk so it’s more of a happy place! This includes everything from adding a lamp for warm lighting, to incorporating small plants and vacation photos. Working in a space that is personalized increases motivation to get things done! I admit, I’m not so great with live plants, but fake ones work just fine!