How Your Office Layout Can Boost Productivity

Posted by on October 1, 2013 in Business Management, Business Start Up Advice [ 0 Comments ]

interior design productivityIt’s in any office manager’s best interest to make sure employees are working at their full potential. Employee salaries are, after all, one of the top expenses of any office. Though many elements influence employee productivity (such as intrinsic motivation, salary, and challenging job responsibilities), there are a few simple changes that can be made within the office to foster productivity. Here are some elements you may want to consider for getting the most productive work from your employees.

Related: Designing Offices with Productivity in Mind

Office Layout as a Tool

Office layout is the underestimated warrior of workplace productivity. It has the power to either stimulate or undermine the ability for an individual to work at their best. Rows of grey cubicles can stifle creativity, while an open-concept office can be an invitation to distractions. Though there’s no correct answer, the most recent trend is to work in an open-concept space. Here are some suggestions for maintaining productivity while working in an open-concept office.

Make Room for Privacy

In an open-concept office, one of the biggest challenges is balancing the openness and availability with the need for privacy. This can be done in a few ways.

  • Avoid putting workstations back-to-back. Stagger workstations, so that if you lift your eyes from the computer, you’re not looking into a colleague’s face.
  • Ensure personal space around each employee. Don’t overcrowd a table, just because you can fit that many computers at it. Giving employees a buffer zone allows them to get in the zen of their own personal space, which is necessary to get into the flow of things and to feel independence in tasks.

Related: Find office furniture for your new space.

Pay Attention to Noise

Noise levels are an important factor to productivity. Recent reports have found a direct correlation between productivity and ambient noise. Ambient noise helps the brain remove itself from the surrounding environment and focus more attention at the task at hand. However in an open-plan office, noise like conversations, phone calls, keyboard tapping can be distractions.

Try putting on some neutral music as background noise to mute daily office sounds that can distract you from your work.

Open-Plan for Collaboration

An open-concept office removes barriers for employees approaching another for help or collaboration. It fosters a sense of unity, both with each other, as well as with the company itself. Bring it to the next level by having management participate in the open-concept floor plan, making the feel in the office more accessible, friendly, and equal.

Related: How to Choose the Right Office Furniture for Your Business

Pay Attention to the Details – They Add Up

  • Ideal working temperature is 72° F (22° C). As the temperature increases, productivity steeply decreases.
  • Plants reduce stress and increase productivity. Might as well have a few around the office for calm and some extra oxygen.
  • Make room for relaxation – regular breaks are necessary to rest your mind, reset, and get itself ready for the next task. It’s always good to have a space to leave your desk, make a coffee, and relax your eyes from the stark computer.
  • Color of the walls – avoid glossy paint finishes, as they can reflect light and cause headaches

All in all there are many things you can do to make your office the best working environment to create the most productive work. These are some easily-made changes that can help you make your office work for you.

About the Author: Julia Gifford is a Canadian-born Latvian technology enthusiast working for DeskTime, the time-tracking and productivity software company.

(Image: David Castillo Dominici via

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