5 Ways Your Office Environment Impacts Employee Productivity

Believe it or not, your office environment plays a major role in employee productivity. It this article we explore the impact of ergonomics, organization, greenery, temperature and open office layouts on employee productivity, health and happiness.

Ergonomics Matter

According to the American Academy of Othopaedic Surgeons, workers are more productive if their workstation fits their body. Make sure employees have the right chair. That means proper lumbar support, seat height and seat depth. These will increase comfortable sitting time, improve output and reduce back pain.

Desk, monitor and keyboard positioning are also important elements in a comfortable workstation.

  • An employee’s desk height should be about elbow level when they are sitting.
  • Position monitors so employees’ necks are straight when viewing them. The height of the top of the monitor should be at eye level. Monitors should be one arm’s length away.
  • Keyboards should be positioned so arms, wrists and hands are lined up.

Keep It Neat and Organized

According to a study published by the Journal of Neuroscience, a cluttered environment overloads your brain. Thus it has a hard time finding and processing information. A cluttered environment also tells employees and visitors your office lacks detail orientation. By comparison, a tidy office space inspires by creating positive first impressions.

Maximize employee productivity by keeping common spaces neat and organized. Periodically encourage employees to clean up their own workspaces. Of course, this includes their physical space. Employees should also focus on digital organization. Employees should organize files, folders and emails, rename files so they are easier to find, uninstall unused programs, organize bookmarks and clear their cache. Best yet — combine the two. Employees should declutter by digitizing as many paper files as possible.

Add Some Nature

Several research studies suggest having plants in the office boosts employee productivity. A 2011 study showed the presence of plants prevent fatigue and increased attention capacity. More directly, a study published last month showed 15% productivity gains stemming from the presence of plants. The effect increases when employees have both plants and outdoor views. Plants also make staff happier.

It appears that in part this is because a green office communicates to employees that their employer cares about them and their welfare.

Make The Temperature Comfortable

To maximize employee productivity you make your office very cold, right? Or should you make it hot?

The Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory conducted a meta-analysis on the impact of temperature on office work performance. They conducted a statistical analysis of 24 different studies.

Their first finding was to confirm temperature does seem to impact productivity. Further, they found employee productivity is greatest when the air temperature is between 71 and 72 degrees Fahrenheit. While too hot or too cold might work in the short-term data suggests employee productivity will decline over time.

71 degrees is not a one-size-fits-all answer however. There were variances in the research. Some of the difference was attributed to type of work, general office attire and internal air speeds.

Build a Productive Office Layout

If you’ve visited a fast growing startup recently you probably noticed the open office layout. Like cubicles on steroids, this modern office design approach has its benefits. They require less space than traditional office layouts. Open layouts also convey organizational unity.

Open offices spaces have many negative impacts on employee productivity though. Clearly, they reduce privacy. And less privacy has a negative impact of job performance. It also increases noise distractions for employees. Sick day are also higher in open office layouts.

To maximize employee productivity, space permitting, give employees as much privacy as possible.

Image credits: Mike Licht (ergonomic workstation), Loozrboy (open office layout), Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (temperature chart), Mackenzie Kosut (office at night), Gabriel Saldana (bonsai plant)

Originally published at www.greetly.com.



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