Should Office Spaces Affect Work Productivity in the Office?
Should office spaces affect work productivity ?
Following our verbal discussion last week, you have been instructed to move to the first office by the entrance of the ground floor with immediate effect.
These were the words Nene’s eyes scanned through in disbelief. True to the HR’s words, she had been foretold about her office relocation but did not think it would eventually materialize. Nene Apata had been an employee for 2 years and counting now. She had enjoyed her office on the 3rd floor with colleagues whom she has made friends with outside the office environment.
There was a peculiarity attached to this office. The warm paint colors, decorations and spacious cubicle arrangements were enough to place sheepish smiles on faces from the entrance. Do not get her started on the views. The ‘’chill spot’’ as it was fondly called was where they all got to relax after a long day or to ease off during work hours. Ugh! The views from the balcony was to die for. You could basically feel the serenity the surrounding has to offer. All the highlighted points aided her productivity. She barely leaves the office with a task unticked.
The ground floor in turn had nothing to offer except for the incessant distractions from vehicle honks, remarks from passersby and the click sounds of the automated company’s door at every entry. To add to these, the office was ‘’bleh!’’
‘’Why should the office be occupied by anybody, anyway?’’, she mumbled with tear filled eyes as she began to scribble on her sticky notes. She scribbles whenever she brainstorms or receives a call from her Mom, who constantly reminds her of the ‘’tick tock’’ sounds her almost invisible ‘’biological clock’’ makes.
Nene contemplated on whether to make the HR see reasons with her on the unconducive situation of the newly allocated office. How could she possibly win this argument when the HR’s office was on the ground floor?
She sighed again.
According to Forbes,
‘’The physical workspace is the one we can see, touch, and taste, and smell. It’s the art that hangs on the walls, the office floor plan, the demographics of the people we work with (old, young, diversity, etc), and any physical perks we might get such as catered meals in a beautiful cafeteria, an on-site gym, or a lounge area that employees can use to unwind a bit.’’
Employees who enjoy and like the environments they are a part of will be more engaged, productive, happy, and healthy.
Below are some factors of office design that can affect productivity:
1. Personal spaces
The more chaotic and disorganized personal spaces are, the more it becomes more difficult and time consuming to tackle daily tasks and assignments. In software you iterate, make changes, upgrade, and evolve. The physical space needs to be thought of in the same way. Offices should learn to test new office layouts and environments to increase innovation in employees.
Ergonomics is the science of designing the workplace, keeping in mind the capabilities and limitations of the worker. Poor worksite design leads to fatigued, frustrated and hurting workers. This rarely leads to the most productive worker which eventually leads to absence and associated costs to the organization. The aim of ergonomics is to prevent and minimize work related accidents. According to CIPHR, Ergonomic considerations for different types of workplaces vary significantly. For a typical desk-based office role, consider:
- Using a laptop or screen support so the monitor is positioned correctly, enabling you to adopt the best possible seated position
- Using a footrest if your feet cannot comfortably rest on the floor naturally
- Using rests for the keyboard and mouse to ensure your hands, wrists and forearms are not under strain
3. Workplace design
The environmental design of offices has been found to affect the health well-being of employees. According to CIPHR, the following factors impact work productivity.
- Poor ventilation and heating/air-conditioning systems can lead to discomfort and health problems
- Inadequate lighting can lead to eye strain, tiredness, stress and headaches. Try to take advantage of natural lighting as much as possible, and introduce adjustable lighting systems if you can
- High noise levels can make it difficult for employees to concentrate, and to talk to their colleagues – both in person and on the phone – leading to lowered productivity and morale. Creating a range of working spaces – such as informal meeting areas and quiet nooks for deep work – can make a big difference
- Offices lend themselves naturally to sedentary behavior; equipping yours with facilities such as bicycle parking and showers will encourage people to walk, run and cycle more.
In conclusion, go beyond the basics of what people need to make your organisation run smoothly and efficiently and think about what makes them feel more creative, inspired and engaged at work – whether that’s a splash of colour or some simple comfortable seating areas.
What do you think? Should office space affect work productivity? Should Nene negotiate her office space? What other factors affect work productivity?
Author: Oluwaseyi Efuntoye
Photo Credit: Freepik.com