Towards more productive workplaces

Keeping employees happy and comfortable is one of the many challenges an employer faces. In an office set-up, the office design and layout has much to do with employee satisfaction. It is well-known that happy workers are more productive – and improved productivity means more profits. This is why a lot of research and funding has gone into office designs, and why with few exceptions, most offices stick to the few popular styles.

The layout

More and more offices are moving towards open floor plans and flexible desk spaces. The pluses are many – more direct face-to-face communication is the most cited one. Where space comes at a premium, open plans are cost-effective as more people can be fitted into smaller spaces. Though a potential lack of privacy is a negative, this can often be handled with some strategic planning and desk placements.

Workstations and conference rooms must be tailored to the specific needs of the organization as there is no ‘one size fits all’ solution.

Comfortable lighting

Lighting is often overlooked when making improvements in workplace design. It is a fact that both dim lighting as well as harsh artificial lighting can cause eye strain and vision problems. It is therefore important to make the best use of available natural lighting through clever design of windows. But since natural lighting is variable, comfortable artificial lighting is equally important. With workers spending a major part of their day in offices, correct lighting goes a long way towards employee happiness and productivity.

The case for ergonomics

Experts suggest that sitting for long hours does more to harm our health – even more than poor diets or lack of exercise. For employees with desk jobs, there really isn’t an alternative to sitting – so the focus has to be on improving their postures and reducing fatigue. The science of ergonomics takes into consideration individual attributes like size, skill and vision and tries to maximize safety and comfort. When choosing office furniture, ergonomics plays a very important role.

Ergonomic office chairs are designed to reduce stress on your lower back and allow for the most beneficial posture. Different chairs work best for different people, but when buying consider the height and width of the seat as well as the back rest position and possible lumbar support.

During the week, the working population spends a majority of their waking hours in the office. Why then would we not give the utmost consideration to how we design our offices?