Did you know that the physical environment of the office can have a significant impact on how well people work? If they’re functioning in poorly designed open plan workspaces, it can be hard for employees to focus, and stay focused. Whether it’s constant phone calls, colleague conversations or noisy printers, everyday office hubbub can have a negative effect on productivity and performance. The good news is, there are plenty of ways to create a workplace that promotes focus, minimises distractions and boosts your bottom line. Here are eight office design hacks that could help your staff concentrate.
- Have dedicated quiet zones
While open plan offices can be great for improving workforce collaboration and fostering team spirit, they can also be a source of frustration and stress. Being exposed to constant visual distractions and noise can make it difficult for staff members to focus on their tasks, often resulting in increased irritability and poor quality work. To get the most out of your personnel, it’s useful to provide a choice of collaborative and private workspaces. Having dedicated ‘quiet zones’ away from main working areas gives employees the chance to have some peace and quiet to knuckle down to individual projects without any interruptions.
- Relocate your printing area
There’s nothing more distracting than having the continual noise of printers and scanners when you are trying to concentrate on your work. If you want to avoid rubbing your employees up the wrong way, it’s a good idea to keep your printers and other noisy pieces of equipment separate from the main workspace. If your office is lacking square footage, consider putting equipment in corridors, lobbies or any other space that isn’t used for work.
- Use office screens
Another easy and effective way to reduce distractions in the office and bolster worker performance is to use office screens and room partitions. Made from special sound-absorbing materials, these boards are ideal for open workspaces and can be used to lower noise levels and break up the main work area to create secluded spaces for meetings, brainstorming sessions and private work areas. As well as floor partitions, you may want to consider investing in desktop screens that can be used to divide desks, give workers more privacy and reduce colleague disruptions.
- Have breakout areas
A simple change of scenery can work wonders for morale and motivation. Having a breakout area, canteen or business lounge gives employees the chance to switch up their everyday routine, de-stress and socialise with colleagues. Allowing staff to briefly get away from their desks allows them to recharge their batteries, which can in turn help them to remain more focused when they return to their work. While it can be attempting to assume that downtime is bad news for productivity, it’s now widely accepted that breaks can actually increase performance in the long run. In contrast, encouraging people to do lengthy stints of work without breaks can be highly de-motivating.
- Choose the right lighting
Lighting can affect the way in which we work too, but unfortunately, this is an area of office design that often gets overlooked. Lighting that is too bright or too dim can cause headaches, eyestrain, fatigue and irritability. To ensure your staff feel energised and ready to tackle challenging work demands, it’s vital to make sure your office is well lit. Try to utilise as much sunlight as possible, and provide a balance of overhead lights and task lamps for workers’ desks. As a general rule of thumb, avoid very bright incandescents and instead opt for bulbs that replicate natural light.
- Upgrade your furniture
If your personnel are constantly shifting and adjusting in their seat, chances are they’re not getting much work done. Having high-quality, adjustable seats and correctly set up workstations is crucial if you want your staff to remain engaged with their tasks. After all, most office workers spend the majority of their days sitting at a desks, and if they’re uncomfortable, it’s unlikely that they will be functioning to the best of their ability. To ensure that workstations are ergonomically set up, there are a few checks you can do. For example, employees’ feet should rest flat on the floor when they’re in their office chairs, their backs should be well supported and their computer screen should be positioned at eye level and about an arm’s length away. Providing footstools, lumbar support cushions and computer risers to raise screens can all help to improve comfort levels.
- Invest in suitable storage solutions
A cluttered, messy office environment can be highly distracting and impede focus. To streamline your surroundings, invest in plenty of storage solutions to keep your workspace clean and organised. As a minimum, you’ll most likely need a selection of bookcases, shelves, cupboards and filing systems, and it’s important to make sure your workers’ desks are kept clutter-free by providing paper trays, stationery containers and under-desk drawers. Don’t forget coat hooks, bins and recycling containers either. At the end of each day, have your employees do a quick tidy up and make sure everything has been returned to its proper home before they leave.
- Choose the right colour scheme
Research has shown that colours can have an effect on our mood and mental function. With that in mind, picking the right colour scheme for your office could potentially help to boost morale and improve worker engagement. Calming hues, such as greens and blues, are often considered to be a good choice for workplaces rather than dark or very bright shades. Think beyond the walls too. Why not get creative and use furniture, posters and other decorative items to add a splash of colour to your office?
By bearing in mind office design hacks like these, you should be able to keep your workforce motivated, help them to stay on task and increase concentration. If you want to find out more about how you can create a comfortable and inspiring office space for your staff, why not browse our range of high-quality and affordable products today?