5 Office Design Tips for Greater Productivity

  • Being (and staying) productive is even more important in today's ever-present work-from-home (WFH) environment...

If you feel like productivity is elusive in your office, it could be due to any combination of factors. However, you may not have considered the possibility that your lack of output is directly tied to poor office design. 

Boost Productivity With These Office Design Tips

The key to productivity is to put your team in an environment that allows them to utilize their strengths and balance out their weaknesses. Whether you realize it or not, your employees essentially become the environment in which you place them. 

If that environment is hectic, toxic, or chaotic, they’ll embody these characteristics. But if it’s streamlined, focused, and efficient, productivity will follow. 

Now’s the time to optimize your office. Here are several suggestions:


Be Intentional With Your Layout

Over the past 10 years, there’s been an increase in the number of open floor plan offices. In these offices, there are fewer walls, doors, and dividers between individual workspaces. Instead, everyone is out in the open and in close proximity with one another.

While there are benefits to open layouts – like greater camaraderie – there are fewer pros than cons. Open layouts make it difficult to control noise. They also prevent privacy – something that employees need in order to be happy and productive. If you have an open layout, make sure you also provide private office spaces and areas where employees can spend some time alone during the day.


Prioritize the Right Kind of Lighting

We don’t give lighting as much weight and importance as we should. But if you dig in and study the science behind lighting, it’s clear that the lighting choices you make in your office have a direct impact on factors like mood, focus, and productivity. 

More specifically, you should look for ways to incorporate more natural light into your workspaces, which is essential for properly regulating your employees’ circadian rhythms and happiness.

“The extent to which daylight exposure impacts office workers is remarkable,” study co-author Ivy Cheung says. “Day-shift office workers’ quality of life and sleep may be improved via emphasis on light exposure and lighting levels in current offices as well as in the design of future offices.”

In addition to natural light, try using warm LED task lighting. Avoid harsh fluorescent overhead lighting, which negatively impacts productivity and is known to cause eyestrain.


Use Signage Strategically

Your management team should ask itself a very specific question: Are we creating an environment in which people are excited to show up and put in the energy and effort to produce for the company and for themselves?

Motivation plays a big role in driving productivity. Something as simple as installing custom indoor signage with motivational quotes and reminders in workspaces can be enough to move people in the right direction.


Leverage Colors Wisely

Different colors elicit different emotional reactions in people. If you’re serious about maximizing productivity, you have to be strategic about which colors you emphasize in your office. For example:

Red is an intense, passionate color that’s known to enhance the flow of energy and put the mind on high alert. This can be good in situations where you need a sudden boost, but can be emotionally draining when it’s the primary color in a design.

Blue is one of the more productive colors. It boosts relaxation and encourages deep, intellectual thinking. It’s also a color that’s associated with trust.

Yellow is known for encouraging happiness and positivity. For this reason, it’s often used as an accent color inside the office.

These are just three examples. Every color has its own psychological associations. Pick and choose wisely.


Integrate Greenery

You need more plants in your office. Benefits include less stress, stronger health and immunity, and lower noise levels. They purify the air and create a better aesthetic as well. Not only that, but research shows they boost creativity and productivity

The key is to choose the right kinds of plants. You want low-maintenance plants that don’t require a ton of watering or care. The goal is for the plants to give you time back – not take away time in the form of daily care. The best low-light and low-maintenance office plants include spider plants, snake plants, cactus, bamboo palms, gerbera daisies, lemon balms, aloe, and pothos.


Adding it All Up

Every little detail matters. If you want your team to maximize its productivity, then you must pay attention to all of the moving parts – including office design. From lighting to signage (and everything in between), success is found in the details. Take the time to redesign and optimize your office with productivity, output, and efficiency in mind. Your effort won’t return empty.