How does office design affect performance?
The simple fact is that employees who are happy and comfortable in the work place are more productive. Contemporary UK office design can boost morale, increase engagement and improve employee wellbeing. This may seem like a big promise but it is proven that addressing a few factors in the workplace environment can help to optimize the performance of its workers.
So whether you’re working out of a fully serviced office in Bank or a coworking space in Shoreditch, it’s important to make sure that the design of your office space reflects the values and culture of your business. Read on to find out more.
Lighting is a key factor in the basic working environment and will have a massive impact on productivity. Long gone are the days when dim florescent lights will do, as it not only hinders productivity but also can have a big effect on employee wellbeing. Getting it right means choosing a lighting solution which promotes a happy and comfortable working environment.
Natural light should not be overlooked, as the days can be long for workers if they never have a glimpse of the outside world. Optimising the use of natural light available can help to promote a bright and happy working environment. Tips to make the best use of what you have include:
• Keep blinds open as wide as possible to invite natural light into the room.
• Keep windows clean as it is surprising how quickly dirt can build up and the impact this has on the level of natural light which passes through. Ensuring they are cleaned regularly will ensure that as much light as possible will pass into the room.
• Check the room for dark spots as depending on the structure of the building, there will be dark areas in the room which natural light will not reach. Think about your office layout so employees do not sit in these spots if it can be avoided. Instead use them for storage or office equipment such as printers and copiers.
Nothing will cause a debate in the workplace quicker than temperature. An office needs to be warm enough to be comfortable, but too warm or too cold and you will soon hear the complaints start to flow. Ensure the thermostat setting is reviewed on an ongoing basis to match the season, and review the placement of any air conditioning fans as even on the hottest days any employees sitting directly below one is sure to be cold.
Open plan offices are great to encourage collaboration and engagement between team members, but it can also generate an elevated level of noise. Some people thrive in that environment but many will find it distracting and difficult to concentrate. Design the office layout and placement of workers with this in mind, and ensure that there are rooms available to book should employees need a quiet space to concentrate on a specific piece of work.
UK office furniture needs to be chosen with comfort in mind, not just style. UK office workers will spend a large percentage of their time at the same desk, sitting in the same chair. Therefore, thought and consideration needs to be given to ensure that all furniture is not only functional but also comfortable to users as well. For example, chairs with proper back support will not only be more comfortable, but will also prevent injuries to workers such as neck and back strain. If a worker is going to be productive then they also need to be comfortable.
It doesn’t just stop at chairs though; UK office furniture needs to not only be chosen with comfort in mind but ergonomics should also be considered. The office layout is especially important to ensure the working environment not only meets safety standards, but also does not feel too crowded and claustrophobic. Desks should be set at the optimum height for comfort and adjustable chairs positioned to ensure the best working position. Screens should be position at the correct height and angled to avoid neck and eye strain. Footrests should be used for any employees whose feet do not rest naturally on the floor when seated in this position. Wrist supports can be added to support users when using the computer keyboard and mouse, and ergonomic keyboards and other office equipment can also be ordered for employees that already suffer with wrist pain. If an employee is uncomfortable or in pain then not only are they not productive, but you are also failing them in your duty of care for their well-being.
UK office design is not just about the cosmetic look of the room or the ergonomics of the workstation though. It is also about the placement of employees and equipment. Open plan offices are great for facilitating communication between employees, but important decisions need to be taken as to where to place each worker. For example; individually, people need to be close to the colleagues and teams they interact with most. There is also little benefit in placing someone who works paper free next to the office printer, and someone who needs to continually print an audit trail on the other side of the room. The design in an office space should support employee workflow, not hinder it.
In conclusion, there many elements in the design of a UK office space which will impact on an employee’s performance. By addressing each of these factors, you will be able to ensure that not only are you able to make UK office working environments as comfortable as possible for employees, but you are also optimising their productivity.