There are so many things that contribute to the success of your business. Sales, marketing, people, culture, viability, budgeting, supply, and demand … the list is virtually endless. But have you ever considered how much your office environment is impacting workplace productivity?
Have you ever considered your physical office space?
Chances are however, you haven’t put too much thought into your office beyond the investment you’ve already made into office furniture, workstations, software, productivity applications, and other technology solutions that are supposed to make things go more smoothly.
But what about the physical space it occupies? Take a look around, and what are the first three things you notice?
These might be the very elements that are impeding your progress. Even if you don’t feel your progress is being impeded, perhaps a little attention to some of the finer points of your office environment will make things that much better.
Here are three ways your office environment might be affecting your productivity:
Poorly lit spaces can be the culprit for all sorts of workplace complaints: lighting that is too dim causes eye strain and eventually, headaches. Low light has also been proven to reduce productivity. Lighting that is too bright can cause severe headaches and even anxiety in some individuals, causing problems severe enough to derail even the most dedicated employee.
Natural lighting is best, but it’s not always ideal or even possible to rely on natural light. Depending on how your office space is situated, you could try to position your desks close to windows, or if that’s not possible, go for a combination of artificial and natural light. Avoid fluorescent lighting if possible, and think about installing a smart lighting system that will allow you to tune the lighting scheme appropriately and specifically to support workplace visual comfort.
Every office, bar none, has to deal with a fair amount of noise. There are always going to be traffic sounds, footsteps, voices, telephones ringing … and face it, any noise is too much for some people. Tolerance notwithstanding, excessive noise in the workplace can cause distraction, which can be directly related to loss of productivity due to the inordinate amount of time needed to refocus on the task at hand.
Studies show that even high-performing employees need up to 25 minutes to recapture their level of focus. Let’s say they manage to get distracted three times in one day, five days a week … that’s almost one entire work day every single week! Multiply that by X number employees times X number of weeks worked in a year and that’s … a lot of money down the tubes.
Increasing background noise, such as music, or adding white or pink noise helps (sounds like whooshing air) to drown out sudden bursts of noise and makes human voices less intelligible and easier to ignore. Sound absorbing materials such as carpeting, acoustic tiles or cork for the walls or drop ceilings made of sound-absorbing materials can be helpful as well.
3. Air quality
Healthy air quality isn’t something we always consider in modern office design, but poor air quality can be the cause of a multitude of symptoms: eye irritation, allergies, and coughing among them.
In a collaborative study conducted by Harvard University, Syracuse University, and SUNY Upstate Medical, findings proved that better air quality led to superior decision making and test scores across a range of cognitive functions including planning, strategizing, and preparation – all key aspects of productivity in our current economy.
These same studies also showed that the cost of doubling ventilation rates in most office buildings would be about $40 per year. In buildings that already use energy-efficient ventilation, the cost would drop to between $1 – $10 per year. Leveraged against the cost of lost time due to illness and lost productivity, this seems like the proverbial drop in the bucket.
My Annapolis Office: your partner in office productivity
Every business, large or small, is looking for ways to improve workplace productivity, and sometimes those few small changes that elicit the most significant results. If you live and work in the Annapolis area, we would love to find out more about how you stay productive. Drop us a line to introduce yourself, or call today to schedule a tour.