Sixty-two percent of U.S. workers say they would be more motivated if their employers made an effort to improve workplace surroundings, reports Ambius, an interior design company. Why then, are so many offices a maze of cubicles, worn-out furniture and stained carpeting?
Workers spend about eight hours a day in gloomy and depressing settings, says Dawn Johnson writing for PRIME, a leader in educational program design. “Just think about going to work every day, being in an environment where there is no or limited communication between team members, and trying to function where the work space is unaccommodating. How can companies expect their workers to be motivated in these conditions?”
Joe Futrelle, writing for The Office Kitten blog, also sees the need for better office environments. “Productivity is enhanced when the environment is comfortable, clean and efficiently organized.”
Futrelle recommends the following steps to redesign your office space:
1. Ask for staff input. Find out what is working with the current design and what employees would like to change.
2. Evaluate existing furniture. If your budget is limited, consider how to freshen up or repurpose existing furniture. If you have to make hard choices, opt for new chairs. Chair quality is more important than any other factor in the office.
3. Hide eyesores. A simple adjustment like moving the printer to another location can improve office comfort.
4. Clean out clutter. Go through files and throw away unnecessary paper.
5. Correct a major flaw. While all of the problems may not be possible to fix, choose the worst one, and correct it.
Stephanie Vozza, a blogger for Entrepreneur, emphasizes that it’s important to think beyond the desk. Since effective workplaces have a mix of spaces and postures, she recommends creating unique work areas, such as café tables for lunch or coffee breaks and sofas for meetings.
“Don’t hesitate to express your company’s personality with the effective use of color,” suggests Vozza. “Studies show that color impacts health and stress responses.”
Most important, create social spaces. This will get people communicating and provide connection, says Vozza. “When people are comfortable, they are more creative and productive, and that should be your No. 1 goal!”