Business First | How to improve productivity in the office

Increased productivity linked to great working environments

22 Mar 2017 –– News
Increased productivity linked to great working environments

Choosing the right office space can have a direct impact on your bottom line

The importance of productivity for your business

All business owners know that the productivity of their staff is paramount to achieving the success they desire. What many businesses struggle with, however, is finding a way to increase the levels of productivity of their workforce.

How to improve productivity in the office

Many studies have been carried out over the years looking at the myriad variables in place in different workplaces and offices to see which factors are most closely linked to productivity, and to find out what can be done to increase productivity levels amongst staff by making changes – whether small or significant – to the office space itself.

What can be done to increase office productivity?

Depending on the study looked at, the importance attributed to the following areas does differ slightly. Regardless, they all agree that these factors have a direct effect on the output of staff within the office environments looked at.

Office Lighting and productivity

According to a study carried out by Amina Hameed of COMSATS Institute of Information Technology, lighting your office space correctly is the most important factor to be considered when looking to improve staff productivity. Office lighting has the highest correlation when compared to increases in the output of staff.

It has been found that access to natural light, or more pointedly – natural light having access to the office space, is a key factor in increasing the productivity of staff in the workplace. A 2012 study, carried out by Mirjam Muench found that more dramatic feelings of tiredness were displayed in those working solely in artificial light compared to those whose offices were on the receiving end of natural light throughout the day.

By increasing the amount natural light available to workers, employers will often discover that their staff sleep better and arrive at work feeling fresher, which in turn results in increased levels of productivity.

An RPI study found that people working in completely windowless offices were prone to spending more than 15% less time on task than their window-rich counterparts.

If your office or place of work doesn’t have access to natural light, frequent outdoor breaks often provide a natural revival which can increase attentiveness.

Productivity and furniture in the office space

This covers both the arrangement and type of furniture that’s in place in the office you work in.

Brill et al (1984) found that by using the best ergonomic furniture available - such as chairs to alleviate back pains and other such strain-related symptoms - productivity in the office increased by 10% - 15%.

In addition to ensuring that the correct furniture is provided in your office, the layout of the office space itself is also an important factor when trying to increase productivity. Employers should ensure that the layout of their offices encourages organisation and is conducive to minimising clutter, whilst at the same time remaining comfortable and pleasant to work in.

Noise in the office and its effect on productivity

The amount of noise in the office environment in which you work is another factor that effects productivity. This one however, isn’t as easy to get right because different people perform better with different noise levels.

That being said, according to a study carried out by Cornell University, it may be one of the most proven drains on workplace productivity. The study found that workers who were exposed to low levels of noise in their working day exhibited higher levels of adrenaline when compared to staff who had been exposed to no noise. This, they said, proved that higher noise levels induced higher levels of stress.

Staff who have to endure lots of noise at work are more prone to negative moods and the inability to concentrate on the tasks at hand. In some cases, there were even health issues after prolonged exposure.

Businesses can combat the negative effect of noisy offices by providing spaces where staff can go and work alone, or as a team, when the need to really focus is imperative.

Office temperature

This one may come as a surprise to many, but office temperature is one of the most important factors in increasing staff productivity.

Where temperature is concerned, staff are most productive when they’re comfortable. The difficulty here is that different people find different temperatures to be comfortable.

However, the scientific answer to this seems to have been found by research reported in Men’s Health. Apparently staff are most productive at temperatures between 21 and 25 degrees Celsius. After surveying hundreds of workers, the research discovered that colder temperatures were the biggest cause of productivity lagging in the afternoon.

This added further weight to a study carried out by Cornell University that discovered that office temperatures of 20 degrees Celsius or less increased the number of errors made by staff. When the temperature then rose to between 21 and 25 degrees Celsius, typing errors reduced by 44% and overall output increased by 150%.

Other factors

In addition to the factors mentioned already, there are a few other things that have been found to increase productivity in the office.

One of the more surprising ones, perhaps, is that people who have multiple computer monitors show an increase in productivity of between 9% and 50% - depending on the task - when compared to single-screened colleagues.

Colour is also a key contributor according to this article in Forbes. With yellows providing the most productive environments.

Choosing the right office space

So as you can see, making sure that you choose the right offices for your business is paramount to being as successful and productive a company as possible.

In short, choosing the right office space can have a direct impact on your bottom line.

At Business First we provide modern office space to rent in a variety of sizes, all with access to state of the art facilities such as meeting rooms, conference rooms and boardrooms.

In addition to providing blank offices for you to decorate exactly as you want to, we are happy to discuss your requirements with you and offer design ideas. We even have relationships with office design companies who have track records in providing businesses with more productive working environments in their offices.

Get in touch today and see what we can do for you. Email, visit or call our head office team on 01282 330330 for more information.