We spend around a third of our lives working. Imagine- that’s about 1,500 Mondays! To make these almost endless days a bit more pleasant, people working in office buildings often add personal touches to work desks and walls. Whether working from home or in a large corporate office, the right environment can improve your productivity and overall mood. And there are simple ways to do so. So here are nine tricks to tweak a workplace and boost productivity.
Use colours to your Advantage
There is a lot of research on the influence that colours have on our day-to-day lives. Let’s be honest, though- no one has the time to read an entire book on colour psychology to learn how a particular colour can impact a specific human behaviour. Quick advice: if everything in your office is either “hospital” white or “concrete” grey, it’s time to grab the brush and paint.
If you can’t afford to repaint or you’re just not allowed, talk with your office manager about maybe changing the furniture and adding some cool art or decor in stimulating colours. There are plenty of ways to spruce up an office space, as long as you have the imagination for it.
So, what colours stimulate productivity?
Looking at the primary colours would be a good start. According to Fantastic Handyman, red is known for its use to encourage people physically and keep them alert, while blue boosts focus, and yellow increases creativity. They also mention that the secondary colours purple and green have a calming effect on people. White is great for minimalist designs, commonly implemented in limited space offices, making them look bigger. However, in that case you would need to decorate a bit more so it doesn’t have that “hospital” look.
Optimise the Office Space
According to research done by the University of Technology Malaysia, employees are a lot more active when they are satisfied with the physical work environment. This includes having special break areas and certain facilities such as coffee corners, comfy meeting rooms, and even a playing room or a fitness area. It might seem weird and unnecessary to add those but it’s actually very beneficial. Fitness areas help people stay active during the long work day and a playing room will help them rest their minds during the breaks.
Distractions are necessary in order for people to keep being productive and not burn out. With that being said, don’t forget to add important items such as vending and water machines, and disinfection stations.
Opt for natural Light
Lighting also has a significant impact not only on work performance, but our personal lives, as well. According to a study conducted by Philips, there is a strong connection between light and biological clocks, which control sleep cycles. Good lighting can improve employees’ productivity, state of mind, attention, and energy. Poor lighting at work, on the other hand, could lead to health issues such as strained eyes, drowsiness, migraines, and headaches.
Natural light is probably the best solution for work environments, especially for employees, whose jobs require continuous work on computers. In case natural light is not an option, task, accent, and ambient lighting are also great alternatives.
Invite Nature in
The biophilia hypothesis, which was first introduced by Edward Wilson, suggests that people seek connection with nature at all times. It’s not just a new interior design trend. The philosophy behind it has proved that connecting with nature boosts physical health, mental well-being, productivity, morale, and creativity.
In an office environment, you can do this by placing potted plants. Office managers can provide company plants and motivate the employees to help out with taking care of them. If you don’t want to buy plants, you can always invite the workers to bring a plant from home.
With plenty of green life in the office, you will enjoy a purer air and a splash of colour and life in an otherwise grey business environment. Some companies even allow an office pet, which can be great unless there are allergic people, of course.
Invest in quality Furniture
Sitting down all day, every day, can be extremely uncomfortable and can, without a doubt, reduce the motivation, productivity, and attention of employees. Therefore, the right office furniture is really important for a productive team. Ensure your employees are satisfied and comfortable, so they can have an easier time focusing on and achieving the company goals and objectives.
Examples of furniture known to be boosting productivity are conference tables, standing desks, ergo chairs, as well as exercise, modular and storage furniture. Make sure to colour-coordinate the new items with the already existing environment.
Decorate the Walls
Research conducted by the University of Exeter shows that people, who work in decorated offices, tend to be 17% more productive. It’s also stated that, if allowed to add a personal touch and control over the layout and design, employees would be happier and healthier, and productivity is expected to increase by almost double to 32%.
Apart from boosting productivity, wall art can help with focus, inspiration, creativity, and can brighten the atmosphere of the workplace. And the great thing is that it doesn’t have to be Gogh, Monet or Picasso. You can purchase artwork from local communities, painting walls as a team-building activity, adding interesting calendars, hang framed team photographs, different style clocks, etc.
A great idea is to take your team to a charity event and choose some wall art together, while helping local organisations.
Make sure there is enough Storage
Messy offices, resulting from poor storage practices and the lack of designated for the purpose spaces, can prevent people from performing up to a high standard. To prevent this from happening, start by throwing away unnecessary items and clutter. Next, organise all important documentation so that it’s easily accessible by everyone.. Consider using storage bins, containers, boxes, etc. for all office essentials.
Finally, don’t waste the empty space on the wall and use it to your advantage. Besides cool wall art, you can also install vertical storage options to help the employees in keeping their desks clear of clutter.
Keep it minimalistic
If you work in a small or narrow office space, there is a big possibility that the options are quite limited when it comes to making it comfortable and motivating. However, a lot of people confuse customizing their work area with cluttering their work area. Imagine this- a clock, a calendar, a bookshelf, a whiteboard, a stapler, notebooks, a water bottle, phone, pens, pencils, highlighters, post-it notes, and so on. Workers are probably used to having all of these items at arms’ length but they are oftentimes unnecessary and never used.
It’s the office manager’s job to help create a comfortable, balanced and practical workspace.
Use Scents to your Advantage
Aromatherapy can play a powerful role in the work environment. Even though they are not the most common way to boost productivity, scents can have an influence on people’s mental, physical and emotional state. When in a positive state of mind, people experience higher levels of not just productivity, but also creativity, self-belief, concentration and can improve social behaviours.
In fact, a Japanese study shows that diffusing lemon essential oils increases typing accuracy by 54% and that the mix of rosemary and lemon, or lavender and orange essential oils can improve cognitive function. Other scents that help with productivity are peppermint, also known for its refreshing and energising abilities, and cinnamon, for concentration. Oils are low-cost, effective, and easy to find. Placing the right scents across the office can change the game of that horrible Monday morning feel.
Just make sure that no one is allergic to anything.
So it’s pretty obvious- feeling motivated, productive, creative and energised all result, to a big extent, from the work environment and the office surroundings. Now, when you’re done going through the above-mentioned tricks, think about what you can add, change or move in order to organise and decorate your workspace to meet your goals and suit your needs. Don’t forget to consult any big changes with your colleagues. Even if the vision in your head looks amazing, others might not agree. It’s important to think of solutions that will help everyone and not hinder the working process.