Your employees spend a minimum of 8 hours at work in the office space every day. That’s a big chunk of time – about a third of their lives, to be fair. In those eight hours they must be exceptionally motivated in order to prove the best possible results.
One thing you can do to maintain motivation and productivity is spruce up the office space. People’s work environment can impact their productivity, so you should do everything you can to create a space that your employees will want to return to everyday.
You don’t need to transform your workplace into Google’s headquarters. Here are some easy changes you can make to create a more productive work environment for you and your team.
1. Hang up some artwork
An experiment conducted by a researcher at the University of Exeter found that people are less productive if they’re working in an office space that contains only the essentials to get work done – no artwork, no frills, no nothing. Subjects actually performed better in office environments that had some visual decor and stimuli.
Art in the workplace helps inspire creativity and productivity. There is also no shortage of art you can add to your office – make it work with your company culture. Hang up wall art that reflects the values and attitude of your business.
2. Make your office space green
Adding some plants to the office can also boost productivity. One study shows that productivity increases by 15% when there is some plant life at the office. On top of providing a natural, calming quality to the workplace, plants also improve the air quality (here are the best ones, according to NASA).
You don’t need a green thumb to maintain plants at work. Get something low-maintenance, like a succulent. The Dracaena is a great choice – it’s easy to care for and it’s listed as one of NASA’s recommended plants to improve air quality.
3. Choose paint color wisely
Paint color does more than make a room look pretty. The color of your walls also influences your mood. In a study conducted at the University of Texas, participants were asked to work in rooms that were red, aqua, and white. Some people (called “high-screeners”) were able to work productively in each room, regardless of color. While the “low-screeners,” or people who are not able to ignore the room color, were distracted by the red. What’s interesting is that both high-screeners and low-screeners made the most mistakes in the office space that was white.
So pick your paint color wisely to create the atmosphere you want. Each color evokes a different response in people. For example, orange boosts creative performance and blue is more calming. Paint one part of the office a bright color and make it the official brainstorm room.
4. Invest in some comfortable furniture
Sitting at a desk all day comes with an onslaught of health problems. On a more minor level, it can lead to weight gain, bad posture, and poor circulation. But sitting all day can also lead to worse problems – it has been linked to cancer, diabetes, and heart disease.
Keep your staff healthy and comfortable to reduce health risks and increase productivity. Offer ergonomic furniture and any other tools to make sitting at a desk more comfortable. You could even invest in a standing desk where people can stand and work if they’re tired of sitting. Or have some yoga balls lying around if anyone wants to trade in their chair to strengthen their core while working.
5. Designate a break room
Your mind can only focus for so long. We weren’t made to work for 8 hours straight. Energy and focus are finite; breaks are needed to rest and re-boot our brains.
Make it easy for your staff to take breaks and encourage them to do so. Set up a break space where they can unwind and take their minds off of work. Be it a room with comfy beanbag chairs, a kitchen space, or an outdoor terrace. Remove any mention of work and make it a place where they can truly relax. Fill it with books and games to make it even more fun.
And here are some activities your employees could be doing while they break. Lead by example – if you want your employees to take a break and re-charge, you have to show them it’s OK.
6. Light up the workspace
Working under the harsh, fluorescent lights that are ubiquitous in office spaces isn’t just unflattering, but it’s also bad for productivity. It’s best to work in a space with lots of windows and natural light.
Working without natural light is damaging for productivity. In fact, one study found that employees that worked in offices without windows reported lower scores on quality of life measures and slept fewer hours at night, which is detrimental to productivity.
If big windows with natural light aren’t possible, consider supplying some lights that mimic the sunlight. Or encourage staff to step outside during breaks.
7. Set the thermostat
It’s impossible to set a temperature at work that everyone is happy and comfortable with. Comfort means something different for everyone. Some people prefer the cold, while others would rather be warm.
However, keeping the office on the warm side might actually be better for productivity. According to an experiment conducted by a professor at Cornell, employees make more mistakes and get less work done when the temperature is colder.
Make your office space a home away from home
Your employees spend so much of their lives at the office. There are little changes you can make so their work environment is as inviting as possible. Make your team happy and comfortable, and they’ll be more productive.
How else can you make your office more productive?
Tell us in the comment section below.