Enhance employee productivity by tweaking the workspace

by Michael Mata21 Oct 2016
Performance at work and the generally wellbeing of employees can be dramatically improved with a few simple tweaks to the work environment, according to a new report.

The study (released by design and architectural firm Perkins+Will in collaboration with Habits@Work and the Total Office) established clear correlations between physical workspaces and employee productivity. Simple changes – such as reducing background noise, adjusting room temperature, and eradicating clutter—can dramatically improve employees’ performance and sense of well-being.

As many office workers now work in open-plan office spaces, employers can enhance productivity by reducing noise levels. The study noted a 66% drop in productivity for tasks that required a great deal of concentration (like writing and analysing data) when employees were exposed to different types of background noise. Meanwhile, an astonishing 99% of respondents said their concentration was impaired by office noise such as unanswered phone calls and background speech.

Keeping the room temperature between 19-24 degrees produced a 20-50% increase in employee performance. Reducing clutter and general untidiness was also found to have a positive boost on employees’ productivity and sense of well-being.

While it’s important to ensure that employees are performing at optimum levels in the workplace, it’s just as important to ensure that they get the optimum amount of rest. Employees who slept between 7-8 hours each night were twice as creative as those who slept fewer hours each night. Moreover, employees who took 26-minute naps during the day experienced a productivity boost of 34% and experienced greater alertness.

“The workspace is simply one of the tools that help workers perform their tasks. Understanding how people use their space enables consultants to assess if the way it is designed supports people’s health and wellbeing,” noted Diane Thorsen, Perkins+Will’s principal design director.