Business First | Can furniture affect office productivity?

Can furniture affect office productivity?

07 Mar 2016 –– News
Can furniture affect office productivity?

Among the many factors affecting office productivity, furniture may seem like something you and your business need not worry too much about.

Among the many factors affecting office productivity, furniture may seem like something you and your business need not worry too much about. However, you may be surprised to find just how important office furniture is when trying to improve your company’s productivity.

There are many reasons for this, primarily: we tend to spend around eight hours a day in the offices we work in; almost as much time as we spend in our homes. And the places we spend our time in contribute hugely to shaping who we are and how we behave. This effect on our behaviour in turn has a massive impact on our mental well-being and performance in terms of creativity and productivity.

This is why it’s so important to organise and optimise the offices we work in accordingly; to encourage the best response from your staff. Here we’ll take a look at some of the things you can do with the furniture and décor in your office to help improve morale and productivity amongst your employees.

Ergonomic office furniture

Given that most of the day in an office is spent sitting at a desk, there are no two more important elements of your office furniture than the desks and chairs that your staff use.

By providing ergonomic furniture that will ensure staff are comfortable, you allow them to focus solely on the tasks they’re carrying out, rather than get distracted by the concerns of chairs that aren’t comfortable.

Chairs that aren’t comfortable and don’t support the back properly can have many negative effects on the staff that use them. A poorly designed, uncomfortable office chair can be responsible for causing injuries if it isn’t suitable for the person using it – for example, if it isn’t adjustable for different desk heights and for people of different heights.

Long term use of chairs and desks that aren’t ergonomic can leave your staff with injuries which may require prolonged periods of time out of work.

Comfortable chairs aren’t just important to the physical health of your workforce, they also have an effect on the mental wellbeing of your staff. If people aren’t comfortable and able to focus on their work at their desks, then they will likely find excuses to be away from their desks as often as possible and become demoralised by the thought of being at work and being painfully uncomfortable.

Staff with desks and chairs that are comfortable and allow them to focus entirely on their work are much more likely to retain higher levels of morale and productivity, which can only be a good thing, both for them and your business.

Office colours and lighting

Ensuring that the lighting and colours in your office are ambient and encourage productivity, is one of the easiest, most cost-effective ways you can improve the performance of your staff.

Different levels of light and different colours have different psychological effects on people, so if you can, it’s worth installing a lighting system that enables you to control the hue and brightness of your room depending on the tasks you and your staff are engaged in.

Blue and green lighting have been proven to improve productivity of people who are working on projects that require new ideas to be generated.

Red, on the other hand, has been shown to increase performance and productivity when people are working on projects that require focus and attention to detail.

In terms of lighting, there is evidence to suggest that dimmer lights are conducive to enhancing creativity when it comes to idea generation. Brighter lighting, however, has been linked to improved levels of evaluation and analytical thinking.

In addition to this, higher ceilings have been shown to increase feelings of freedom and improve levels of creativity and problem solving.

Shapes of office furniture

When you move into a new workspace, or redesign your existing office, it’s worth considering the shape, not only of the furniture, but also of the arrangement of that furniture.

Both furniture and furniture arrangements with rounded edges, rather than straight, have been linked with helping to create positive emotions, creativity and productivity.

A study, which took in hundreds of university students, showed test subjects a series of computer generated pictures of rooms. Some with rounded furniture and layouts, some with straight edged furniture and layouts. The results showed that the curved arrangements were found, almost unanimously, to be seen as more pleasing and inviting.

Furthermore, there was another study carried out, which showed that office environments with rounded furniture and more curvilinear furniture arrangements triggered more activity in the brain than offices with straight edges.

Finally, if you want to encourage teamwork, it has also been proven that sitting in circles encourages greater levels of cohesion and fosters a collective mind-set; certainly something to consider when holding meetings and engaged in tasks that require close collaboration between team members.

So when you’re redesigning your office, or moving into a new one, it might be worth planning to maximise the creativity of your staff with these techniques.

Plants in the office

Having plants in the office has been proven to have various benefits for those working in them. Not only does the presence of plants help staff to recover more quickly from challenging or arduous tasks, there is also some evidence that suggests the presence of plants in offices can reduce levels of office pollution.

Other things to consider in the office

There are other factors in office furnishings and design that can have a positive effect on the morale and productivity of staff working in them.

Ensuring the office is clean and tidy can help staff to stay comfortable, relaxed and focused. This said, there is evidence to suggest that allowing staff members to have messy desks (if they want to) can have a positive impact on their creativity. As the famous Einstein quote goes, ‘If a cluttered desk is the sign of a cluttered mind, of what, then, is an empty desk a sign?’

Whichever methods you're thinking to employ in your business, involve your staff from the outset, consult them and ask for their input. This will ensure they feel valued and help to boost morale before you even make any changes. Also, remember that even if some furniture of better quality seems more expensive at first; it will save you money in the long-run, as it will need replacing less regularly and make your staff more productive and less prone to injury and absenteeism due to injury.

Whatever works best for your company and your staff, Business First can help. We provide state-of-the-art office spaces to rent and we will even put you in touch with office design companies if you’re stuck for ideas.

So, if you’re thinking of moving offices, get in touch with us today.