Have you had a job where no matter what, motivation always seemed to be lacking and productivity was minimal at best? Findings from recent studies indicate that it may not have been completely your fault. In fact, it’s entirely possible that your surroundings may have negatively impacted you in ways you didn’t realize.
Research on factories in the 1960s indicated that vibrant colors increased worker productivity. Other investigations have revealed that everything from ventilation and lighting to ergonomics and organization can impact our efficiency and production.
Here is a list of 5 ways your office decor can boost your productivity… as well as a bonus tip on how you can incorporate them in your own space:
1. Smart Setup
Not all offices are created equal. One of the most important factors in productivity is an office setup that considers how workers will actually use the space.
An open office plan doesn’t make much sense if employees are required to spend most of their day on the phone. Small desks and inadequate workspace can be an inconvenience to workers and result in frustration and disengagement.
A well-arranged office adjusts to the way employees work, and functions to create a convenient, easy-to-navigate environment. Workers are more relaxed and able to concentrate on the tasks at hand. Aesthetics are important in the modern office but should not take priority over efficiency.
2. Stimulating Colors
The University of Texas established that certain colors in a work environment can produce feelings of melancholy and depression. Though colors may affect men differently than they do women, it’s been a long-established fact that color has a profound influence on our mood, concentration, productivity and creativity.
Here is a quick overview of the properties for colors commonly seen in the workplace:
- Blue is known for its calming and productivity-enhancing effects, and it makes a good base color.
- Green can promote efficiency and calmness, and it works well in industries where employees work long hours.
- Yellow promotes creativity and optimism. Architects, designers, artists and other creative professionals can benefit from this cheerful hue.
- Red is often associated with passion and emotion. It’s a good color for physically demanding trades, but may not be the best choice in situations where composure and tranquility are desired.
Because work environments are made up of diverse personalities that fill many different roles, combining colors in each area can help improve overall productivity for everyone.
3. Seeds of Satisfaction
Plants have many benefits in the workplace. They decrease stress, help reduce blood pressure, and positivity affect employee mood. Workers in buildings that contain plants are 12 percent more productive than those in buildings without them.
In addition to its aesthetic qualities, indoor vegetation can help alleviate sick-building syndrome, often seen in energy-efficient offices. It absorbs toxins into the leaves and roots. Plants have also been shown to lower absenteeism and improve employee retention numbers.
4. Enlightened Situation
According to the American Society of Interior Designers, 68 percent of workers are unhappy with the lighting in their workspace. Too much light can kill productivity just as quickly as too little light. Inadequate lighting can produce sleepiness, lack of focus and eye strain, but harsh florescent lighting is also hard on the eyes and can trigger migraines.
The best light for any building is natural light. Windows are known to increase employee satisfaction, improve mood and decrease absenteeism and illness. Upgrading to a more natural lighting system can offer energy savings and result in a surge of worker productivity.
5. Fail-Proof Furnishings
Brightly colored office furniture can enhance mood and increase output. Furniture can also affect the overall health of employees. If desks and chairs are not ergonomically designed, workers can suffer neck and back pain, eye strain and wrist injuries such as carpal tunnel — all of which are serious productivity killers.
Proper furnishings also include storage and logistical elements to keep the workspace free of clutter and keep needed tools close at hand. An organized desk fosters a more relaxed attitude and lessens the chances of valuable information and documents being lost or misplaced. Keeping tools and equipment handy speeds up work and encourages productivity.
Bonus: Claiming Your Space
According to a 2010 study, workers who controlled the design of their own office were up to 32 percent more productive than those who didn’t. You may not have much say in your surroundings as a whole, but you can easily incorporate some of the above tips in your own space.
For example, you probably can’t paint the walls of your office, but you can add small touches of color to your work area. Find a pleasant photo in calming blue hues or add a leafy green plant to your desk. You can even change out the hardware on your desk from the cheap and harsh metal to brilliant crystal knobs.
Your offices likely have overhead lighting, but if you need more focused illumination, bring a small lamp to keep on your desk. Empowering quotes, a dream board, or some pictures of your kids or pets can all go a long way toward making your space more personal.
Our surroundings have a significant impact on us. Employees spend about 30 percent of their lives at work, so it makes sense for companies to provide a pleasant and stimulating environment. A business is only as good as its employees — and productive, engaged employees make for a productive, profitable bottom line.
Megan Wild is decor enthusiast, and believes that if you feel comfortable in your workspace, everything else will fall into place. Check out more of her productivity and style tips on her blog, Your Wild Home.