Office Space Designs and Policies to Improve Productivity

In recent years, employee-oriented business policy and office space design have taken over as the primary recommendations from business consultants for employers who are looking to increase productivity in the workplace. With volumes of emerging research supporting a positive relationship between pleasant work environments and higher performance, more and more business owners are asking how they can best use business policy and design upgrades to increase employee satisfaction without spending more than they stand to gain from these investments.

Professionalism vs. Fun: Where is the balance between diversion and distraction?

How employees spend their downtime can have a large impact on the quality and quantity of their work. The following two suggestions place the focus on both improving the environment during work tasks and providing support for workers off the clock that will have them returning to their desks refreshed and ready to excel at their jobs.

Encourage Comeradery

When companies employ puns or catchy phrases for the company’s conference room names, for example, or use artwork in the office space design that has specific meaning to the employees, the higher comfort level will most likely translate into more productivity. It feels like less of a chore to head to a meeting in a room called “Awesome” than to the unimaginative “Conference Room A.”

Provide Refreshments

Offering a well-stocked break room with complimentary hot coffee, condiments and various flavours of tea is a classic among company perks for good reason. In fact, a 2011 study published in the Journal of Applied Psychology revealed that keeping workers well-caffeinated tends to keep them more honest.

Technology vs. the Human Touch: Is a meeting room booking system preferable to having a secretary schedule meetings?

Competing in the digital age need not be cold and inhuman. Leading businesses incorporate both technology and personnel, having an office employee check up on the conference room booking system at least a few times each week to make sure there are not any conflicts or errors. It is also a good idea to designate an outgoing and understanding office worker who is always available to help any coworkers or clients to utilise the software effectively. This employee should be easy to locate in the office, whether outside of the main conference room or in another central location.

Controlled Chaos vs. Streamlined Routines: Why is it important to solve workplace clutter with better organisation and storage options?

While digital technology can go a long way toward smoothing the workflow, most businesses continue to use a variety of tactile media, such as printed charts, graphs and papers and even 3D-printed objects, to bring their projects to life. All of this “stuff” piling up can be distracting at best as well as hazardous if left unchecked. The most productive office space design focuses on providing copious labeled storage and filing cabinets as well as designating supply cabinets that are convenient to all workspaces. The next step is training employees to keep “everything in its place.”

Natural Lighting vs. Enclosed Spaces: Is it possible to provide natural lighting to all employees while maintaining individual workspaces?

Numerous, large windows can go a long way in increasing the overall mood in the office, particularly if it is an open-plan space. Open-plan office space design has grown in popularity in recent years. The upside is that employees can collaborate more easily on office-wide projects, but lack of noise buffering can be a major downside when it comes to performing individual tasks.

For traditional cubicles, a few skylights can do the trick without employees losing their privacy. If you are not able to provide much natural lighting, research shows that a few potted plants around the office will boost wellness due to improved air quality in addition to improving morale. Of course, you will need at least some natural light to keep the plants alive, even if you choose low-light plants such as peace lilies and English ivy.

Cohesive Design vs. Employee Input: Is it more important to have a matching design scheme or to be able to cater to individual needs and preferences?

Since the most ergonomic office chair may differ between individuals, for instance, one-style-fits-all design choices can seriously impact productivity. The importance of aesthetics will vary based on whether clients will frequent the location on a regular basis, so these decisions must be weighed appropriately. Since workplace accommodations are often legally necessary, preparing ahead of time with an array of coordinated wrist rests and lumbar cushions on hand is an excellent idea to maintain a balanced design. Being prepared for different needs can help emphasize employees’ abilities rather than their disabilities, leading to a happier workplace.

These factors are only a small view of the large spectrum of ideas to take into consideration in order to boost productivity in the office. The most potential for growth lies at the intersection of what clients want and what best serves the office workers, and a strong business plan addresses this dichotomy with a balanced and honest approach.

Healthy and Effective Work Habits

Are you struggling to stay awake at work? Do you often work through your lunch break? Are you always the last one to leave the office? Are you constantly staying up late to meet project deadlines? Do you have difficulty concentrating while at work? Are you easily distracted?

If you answered yes to any of the questions above, it’s likely that there’s something wrong with your work habits. You might be working ineffectively. Even worse, you might be sabotaging your own health or your personal relationships for the sake of work. Read on to find out how you can work more effectively and stay healthy while doing so.

Take More Breaks

It may seem counterintuitive to take more breaks when you already feel like you haven’t got enough hours in the day, but the truth is, the longer you sit at your desk, the less productive you’re going to be. Yes, you’re staring at the screen, and yes, your fingers are typing, but if your head’s not in the game, you’re not being productive. Take a five-minute break every hour or every two hours to get some air, go to the bathroom, or drink some water (dehydration can kill your concentration).

Don’t Check Email First Thing in the Morning

What’s the first thing you do when you get to work? A lot of people get coffee and start checking their work email. They get caught up in replying to questions (most of which are trivial) and end up sapping their own energy and wasting their whole morning. Email is usually used for less urgent communication; most people pick up the phone or text when things get really urgent or if they need an immediate answer on something. Therefore, the best thing to do when you first get to work is map out a plan for the entire day: go over your pending tasks for the week/day and prioritize them. Figure out what needs to be done today and get started on it as soon as possible. Save the email checking for times when you are less productive, such as just after lunch when your brain’s not quite ready to focus yet.

Make Lunch Appointments

Instead of working through lunch, make it a point to lunch with some of your co-workers. Get out of the office. Check out new cafés or restaurants nearby. Stay away from work subjects during the lunch hour, and also stay away from office gossip. Talk about your hobbies or what you’ve been doing lately. Build new relationships and get to know your colleagues as people. This will help you feel more like part of a team.

Learn to Delegate

Maybe past experience has taught you that delegation is not a good idea. Or maybe you’re a bit of a perfectionist and you feel that you’re the only one who can get things done right. Either way, delegation is one of the most important skills you can use to get things done on time. Sure, other people may not do things perfectly, but for some things, “good enough” is all you need. Save your time for the really important projects or the big clients and delegate the minor tasks to others.

If you feel like you need to get a better handle on work, following the tips above can help you work healthier and more effectively. Change your work habits today and watch your productivity soar!

Getting Down to Business: Four Types of Office Furniture to Increase Productivity

Today’s workplace consists of more than just a row of cubicles with traditional desks and chairs. More and more companies are seeing the benefits of using unique office furniture to improve employee productivity and inspire creative collaboration. If you are considering revamping your office space, consider these unique types of furniture to improve productivity in your office.

Outdoor Office Cubicles

Outdoor office cubicles range from small, self-contained pods with a table and chair to fully lit and climate-controlled outdoor buildings. They sit outside your office building, ideally in a courtyard where your employees have a sunny view of the outdoors. Taking your staff out of a boring office and letting them work outside can encourage creative, out-of-the-box thinking. Invest in a few of these cubicles and have your employees schedule blocks of time for working outdoors to allow everyone access to these innovative work areas.

Standing Desks

One of the biggest trends in office furniture is the standing desk. These desks allow the user to stand during the workday, which can lead to increased productivity as well as several health benefits. Smithsonian.com reports that standing desks can help to reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease, metabolic disorders and obesity. Employees may feel as though they are able to accomplish more because they are upright and alert instead of slouched in a desk chair. Convertible standing desks that allow your employees to choose between sitting and standing are available, making it easy for each person to find the right workstation setup to meet his or her needs.

Sofas and Coffee Tables

Sofas and coffee tables aren’t just for the home anymore. Creating small living room-style areas in your office can encourage collaboration and improve productivity by giving your employees a way to step away from the desk and work in a cozy setting. Team members can share a cup of coffee on a couch while brainstorming ways to solve problems and conflicts. This casual setting can help to reduce workplace stress and anxiety and help your employees to feel more in control of their time at the office.

Conference Tables

While conference tables aren’t exactly new or innovative, the idea of using them to replace traditional desks is. Creating a truly open workspace gives everyone the chance to literally have a seat at the table, allowing everyone to participate in discussions about ongoing projects without having to schedule a meeting. With everyone sharing the same workspace, your employees can actively collaborate throughout the day, which in turn boost productivity and throughput.

When you are ready to revamp your office, look for modern design concepts and unique furniture that foster creativity and boost productivity. You may find that your employees love the idea of innovation to help them do a better job every day.

8 Easy Ways to Make Sure Your Office is Running as Efficiently as Possible

Minor adjustments to business operations can make a big difference to your business’s bank account. How can you make changes that will impact your business’s bottom line, without affecting the level of quality of product or service that you provide? Check out these back-end internal cost-cutting ways to make your office run as smoothly as possible.

Create a Paperless Office

A paperless office environment helps you lower the cost of office supplies significantly. You can greatly reduce the consumption of paper, envelopes, stamps and ink with a paperless office. In addition, this increases storage space and the usage of copy, fax machines and printers. Your business can also experience cost savings by utilising direct deposit and eliminating paper paychecks. You can better organise your financial records by going paperless, as well. Scanning, saving and organising PDFs of bank statements, expense reports and tax records will help you stay more organised and efficient when it is time for tax preparation next year. It may even cut down on the time that your accounting firm bills you, significantly reducing business costs. So, embrace modern technology and transform your office to a paperless one today.

Employ a Remote Workforce

Employing a remote workforce, whether it’s one or two days a week or full-time can significantly cut business costs in many different ways. You can decrease the amount of space that you lease if employees are not using meeting rooms, desks or other resources, as often. This decreases the need for cubicles, office furniture, computers or desks. You can also save money on electricity, supplies and employee meals or snacks. In addition, hiring a remote workforce allows you to recruit the best employees from a larger geographical location.

Go Green

Significantly reduce utility consumption by going green. Whenever possible, skip paper entirely by going paperless. Send an office-wide email instead of handing out a bunch of memos. Don’t print out large documents unless it is absolutely necessary If you do have to print something, make sure that you use eco-friendly paper or post-consumer waste paper products. Use reusable cleaning products for your office such as sponges and mops. Cut back on the use of disposable cleaning products and paper towels. Ensure that the cooling and heating systems are optimally set up to save the most power yet maintain a comfortable temperature for employees.

Make Sure That Your Office Space Is Cost-Efficient
The cost of office space is often one of the biggest expenditures for businesses. Using office space efficiently is essential for many businesses and companies. Make sure that you have an ideal office layout. Update the configuration on a regular basis. A layout that suited the way business was done ten years ago might not be relevant today. Study whether the layout of the building is helping or hindering employees getting their work done. Look for inefficient organisation of space and figure out how to redesign it in a way that will improve efficiency. By evaluating office space needs every so often, you might be able to reduce the size of office space that is needed and get away with less room.

Buy Secondhand Office Furniture and Equipment

Find office furniture and equipment at a fraction of the retail cost by purchasing it used. Many times, other businesses will sell their furniture is they unload their assets or liquidate. Buying liquidated or used office furniture offers big savings. Buying refurbished equipment is another way of saving money. Refurbished computers, printers and such are typically refurbished to the original specifications but come at a fraction of the cost. This can also help you to update old technology that is costing you money but in a less expensive manner. Many times, the cost is half as much for used furniture and equipment versus new and, in most cases, no one can tell the difference.

Maintain Office Equipment

Office equipment enables your staff to do their jobs professionally and efficiently. So, when your copiers, fax machines and printers are not running smoothly, it hinders the efficiency of your office. Equipment that is poorly maintained often requires very expensive repairs. So, properly maintain your office equipment by performing basic maintenance tasks so that it will last longer and be more efficient.

Reduce Inventory Costs

Inventory is typically one of the most substantial assets of any business. Maintaining the right amount of inventory is one of the keys to reducing costs and improving efficiency. If you do not stock sufficient amounts of inventory, you risk not meeting customer demands. But, if you stock too much of the wrong inventory, you will end up with useless stock sitting on your shelves. Either way, you face losing money. Reduce inventory costs by counting everything in stock, get rid of excess merchandise by selling at a discount or donating to a charity for a tax write-off. For the future, purchase the right quantities of merchandise using ongoing inventory counts and set up reorder alerts.

Hold Virtual Meetings and Teleconferences

Reduce travel costs by using technology to hold meetings. Teleconferencing and virtual web meetings offer an ideal solution to reduce travel costs of business meetings. Services such as GoToMeeting, WebEx, Microsoft Office and MegaMeeting offer web and video conferencing for professionals. These services allow you to conduct a virtual conference from anywhere in the world with as many as 5,000 participants. Instead of traveling across the country to deliver a powerful presentation to a prospective client, you simply log on to one of these service providers and conduct the meeting from the comfort of your office. These services also offer technology that makes it easy to share files and data with others, such as desktop and application sharing capabilities. You can also record the conference or meeting for future use.

The above ideas and tips are simple, easy way to make big changes in your office. Following the above suggestions will help improve your business’s overall financial health by making your office more efficient.