Five Ways to Optimize your Employees' Workspaces
As a manager, you always want to ensure that employees are at their most productive and in a genuine way, not just forcing them to work against their own well being.`
Traditionally, employers and managers have seen workspace optimization strictly from a cost point of view. As long as it brings costs down, that was the best and perhaps the only way to really optimize employees' workspaces.
But optimizing workspaces shouldn't just be done from the management's point of view. If you save money by implementing low-cost optimizations at the expense of employee productivity, that's a lot of lost money in the long run.
These tips will give you ideas on how best to optimize your employees' workspaces in ways that are cost-efficient and increase productivity.
1. Get good lighting
Lighting is one of the most influential factors in workspace productivity. If it's too bright or dark, employees will find it much harder to focus on their tasks. It's important to strike the right balance for office brightness to ensure that everyone's minds are in tip-top shape.
Brightness is not the only thing you'll want to consider when it comes to optimizing workspaces. You'll also want to consider the proper warmth. If the lighting is too warm, employees may find themselves dozing off even when the workday has just begun. Too cool, and it will feel like a sterile hospital room.
And, of course, the best artificial lighting is nothing compared to good natural light. Too much artificial light can cause eyestrain and headaches and ultimately reduce everyone's productivity.
Natural light is much better at improving everyone's state of mind, so take a look at those windows and see how you can adjust the office to maximize natural lighting.
2. Plan your layout according to your office needs
There are certain things to keep in mind when planning the office layout.
First, you'll want to keep communal office items like printers and photocopy machines in locations that are accessible to everyone without being too distracting. Since everyone can be expected to use them, you'll want these to be easy to reach, so workers don't have to spend too much time walking back and forth.
Next, you'll want to decide between cubicle and open layouts. Cubicles promote privacy and can create quieter conditions. However, they reduce socialization and collaboration because everyone can feel boxed in.
On the other hand, open layouts can promote more collaboration at the expense of privacy.
There is no right or wrong answer between closed and open office layouts. It really depends on your office's needs and the nature of employees' work.
Open layouts will benefit you more if you're in a creative industry that requires brainstorming and interaction. On the other hand, those in the more formal sector like accounting and law might benefit from cubicle layouts to allow people to focus while they're working on important documents.
3. Consider the colors
You might think that the color of your office walls doesn't play a part in productivity, but it does. By a lot.
Like layouts, the "correct" color for your office will depend on the kind of work that people do there.
There's no need to paint your entire office white or a light shade of gray. You're not a hospital, and you don't always have a need to see each and every stain on the walls. Instead, try putting in some colors.
Warm colors like reds, oranges, and yellows are typically associated with creativity, which gets people's juices going. Marketing, advertising, and other creative industries work best with warm colors.
On the other hand, cooler colors like blues and greens are more relaxing and inviting. These colors are best for strenuous jobs that require focus. Green colors are also associated with nature, which is why some home offices have plenty of plants to keep that relaxed atmosphere going.
4. Encourage your employees to do some personalization
We've all heard the horror stories about companies that allow too much personalization, only to have visitors and clients see inappropriate stuff posted on the walls.
But putting in a total ban on customization can make your office a dreadful place to work. Your employees have their own lives outside their office jobs, and allowing them to put a little life in their workstations can do wonders in making work feel less like a chore.
You don't have to allow anything and everything. But small plants, family pictures, and even allowing small images to go with their post-it notes can play a huge part in boosting employee morale. So tell them to personalize their own workspace and let work be a little more manageable.
5. Consider how airflow and temperature affect productivity
Lighting and physical layouts are not the only things that affect individual productivity.
Airflow and temperature can play crucial parts in employees' physical and mental health.
Allowing air to move through the office can help decrease humidity, making the office a better place to work. Workspaces that feel humid and cramped can affect focus, even when the outside temperature is not too high. This is why it's important to invest in quality air conditioning, heaters, and ventilation systems.
The bottom line: There's so much more to workspace optimization than physical layouts. Your employees may not bring it up so often, but it's always good practice to try putting yourself in their shoes and ask yourself how enjoyable the current working conditions are.
The best companies invest not only in expensive equipment but also in the health and wellbeing of their employees. High office morale can lead to increased productivity, which is much better for your company in the long run.
Optimizing employee workspaces is not all about the dollars. A high-cost solution now may prove to be more cost-efficient later on, so make sure to constantly check in with your employees on how they feel about the workspace. If you need more help, give us a call at Planwell Strategies. We are here to help!