How Office Design Can Help Maximize Workplace Productivity

July 23, 2020 | Workplace

Every organization wants its employees to be as productive as possible. When searching for ways to improve productivity, people usually think of productivity tools: time tracking software, collaboration tools, desktop sharing software, and others. However, plenty of studies have shown that workplace design has a prodigious effect on how much people get done—more so than productivity tools. Good design pays for itself in terms of financial investment, in the sense of wellbeing of the employees that work there, and in getting valuable things done, which is what can be termed for this discussion as productivity.

Within the past two decades, the modern workspace has undergone numerous developments. Today, the modern office is experiencing a significant transformation. Leader are looking for ways to not only improve productivity but also promote sustainability and flexibility. In other words, decision-makers are asking how they can design today in ways that will make it easier to respond and adapt down the road?

How Office Design Impacts Workplace Productivity

The smallest changes to office design, such as natural lighting and comfortable furniture, can improve how organizations function and keep employees content. We seldom think about how physical conditions influence how well people work. In fact, one study determined that it’s the most significant factor in determining productivity. According to a study published by Gensler, a global design and architecture firm, “ Great workplaces create more engaged employees; and more engaged employees are the key to business productivity and profit”.

Using what Gensler calls the Workplace Performance Index (WPI), data revealed that the most critical factor in workplace effectiveness is employees’ capability to concentrate on work. Over the past decade, the number of hours employees spend on focused work has increased. Reports also show that the criticality of focused work has become a lot more significant than in the past as well. Nevertheless, data has shown that there are few suitably designed workplaces for such high-intensity focused work to get done efficiently. Further findings from Gensler state:

  • Workplace approaches that sacrifice focus for collaboration will diminish the effectiveness of both. As focus effectiveness increases, so does collaboration effectiveness.
  • Concentrating is a complex activity and takes a lot of mental energy, which makes focus-based work the most difficult type of work to maintain. The difficulty is multiplied by the distractions inherent to open-office environments.
  • The increasingly virtualized nature of various work modes is reshaping how workspaces need to adequately support focus-based work. Since more and more duties require digital tools and meetings increasingly involve virtual participants—one in four meetings are virtual—organizations are finding it harder to keep employees focused.

Ways to Improve Focus-Based Workplace Productivity With Improved Office Design

Technological advancements have paved the way for new and innovative office designs. Whatever modern workplace design one chooses, there exists plenty of solutions for improving focus-based work productivity. Here are some great tips and ideas geared toward enhancing employee productivity.

1. Consider the Needs and Challenges of Your Organization

Before fitting out your workplace, you need to contemplate the requirements and challenges faced by your organization. Things to consider first are your organization’s budget, its culture, and the personalities and different working styles of your employees. While this sounds like a lot to figure out, it’s the best method of ascertaining how your office should be designed. For example, open floor offices have long been a popular workspace design. There might be a number of other factors that prevent you from choosing this kind of design as well. Here are some examples of questions you should ask yourself during the design phase.

  • How can I provide private workspaces for my employees while maintaining flexibility?
  • How can I maintain a flexible work environment and provide employees some privacy when they need it?
  • What kind of technology do I want to incorporate into the new design?

2. Design a Workplace That Promotes Deep Work and Collaboration

We all know that a well-functioning workspace allows the people to focus on business priorities. It is free from disruption and has enough storage to keep things streamlined. Regardless of the planned density of an office space, having a system for cable distribution, power integration and other smart building technologies allows the collaboration, the initiatives, and the focus to remain on the work, and not the workspace. An overall sense of progress found in the working environment alleviates the tendency to procrastinate. Good design is a powerful resource. In many respects, it unlocks the potential for realized productivity, something that happens long before people walk through the front door of a business.

3. Design a Workplace That Is Adaptable

Adaptable workplace designs make your space work for you. Office environments are ever-evolving in style and practice, and need to be designed for adaptability. With no way of predicting the design trends that will be popular a decade from now, choosing a flexible design makes sense.

There are several ways to build a workplace design that promotes productivity, adaptability, and future-proofing. Fitting meeting rooms with enterprise-based wireless presentation systems, for example, does away with the need for various dongles and other bulky outdated cabling components. Devices that need cabling, it’s important to have a management solution to streamline the appearance of a collaborative space. Gridd® Adaptive Cabling Distribution System makes it possible to keep cables out of sight and implement an adaptable workplace design, not only in meeting rooms but cross campus in a wide variety of settings. Our Industry-leading solution features Gridd Power and Gridd Mobile, two technologies that make this raised access floor more than a floor—Gridd® is a smart floor.

If you’re in the process of designing a new workplace or looking to remodel an old office, talk to one of the FreeAxez advisors today about office design and workplace productivity.

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