Companies around the world are continuing to adjust their workplace designs as we look ahead to 2020. Presenteeism — that is, the problem of employees who are present at work but not functioning productively — costs billions of dollars each year. More than 40 percent of workers say their performance is sometimes affected by mental or physical distractions exacerbated in their office space.
As it becomes easier to get lost in the chaos of electronic devices and loud conversations across open-concept desks, here are some ways you can maximize employee productivity through intentional workplace design.
Keep things flexible
One of the first things that comes to mind when we hear “flexible workspace” is probably some sort of open-concept design. While open-concept offices can certainly fit the mold, the true testament of a flexible workspace is the ability to transform.
Design your workplace to offer employees freedom. Encourage them to choose where they want to work and get their bodies moving between projects. One way to do this is by creating separate working areas that staff can switch between throughout the day for a change of scenery.
Allowing employees to customize their work stations can also have a positive impact. For example, consider allowing them to choose between a sitting or standing desk — or better yet, equip them with a desk that can switch easily between both.
Provide quiet spaces
The modern open-concept office design can be distracting. It’s meant to encourage collaboration and increase facetime between coworkers — but it also puts employees in the middle of constant movement and noise.
You can get around this problem without going back to the days of cubicles and closed doors by simply providing a few “private getaways” throughout your workspace. These can be small rooms or collections of cozy chairs in a quiet corner where employees can take phone calls and hunker down without distractions.
Bring the outside in
As screens dominate the world around us, it’s no wonder that we find ourselves craving a connection to the natural world. Biophilic (or nature-inspired) design is a growing trend in corporate spaces — bringing the outside in can increase your employee’s productivity.
Maximizing the amount of natural light in your workspace will help your staff feel energized and alert. Including plants, especially hanging from ceilings or walls, can increase your office’s indoor air quality over time and add a healthy splash of green. You can also consider creating an outdoor feel by using natural fiber materials and earthy color schemes.
Make it feel like home
Another corporate design trend that can increase employee productivity is something called “resimercial” design. Essentially, this means incorporating residential touches into the office space to make staff feel more at home. After all, we spend around a third of our lives at work — no one wants to feel on edge for eight hours a day.
You can make your workplace feel more comfortable in a few simple ways: consider adding soft rugs and cozy furniture to secluded work areas, put some art on the walls if there isn’t any already, add a bookshelf with a few trinkets, or even offer some free snacks in the break room.
Finally, it’s important to consider employees’ physical comfort alongside their emotional responses to the office space. A modern design can make staff feel more energized to work, but it’s important not to sacrifice workstation ergonomics for the latest aesthetic trend.
Always keep in mind that you want to design a space where daily tasks create as little strain on the human body as possible. You can achieve this by providing ergonomically-designed external mouse devices, standing desks, computer monitor risers, and more.