How to Make Your Office More Productive

If you run an office or own a business, no matter how big or small, you will want your employees or colleagues to work as productively as possible. Therefore, it’s important to ensure that their office space is set up for them to be able to do just that. Here are some useful tips to make your office a more productive place to be for you and your workers.

Add Plants

Because most work can’t be conducted outside, as lovely as that would be (at least when the weather is good), bringing some of the outside indoors can help with productivity instead. That can be done in the form of some houseplants from PLANTZ. The American Psychological Association found that offices with plants in them had, on average, a 15 percent higher productivity rate, which is astonishing. Therefore, working in a place that has plants in it rather than simply a sterile office environment, will certainly help your employees to get more done. They may feel less restricted, for example, and this can help them be more creative. Or perhaps they will be reminded of the outdoors, and the sooner they get their work done, the sooner they can step outside.

As well as this, plants make an office a healthier place to be as they make the air inside more breathable, due to adding more oxygen to it and removing carbon dioxide amongst other less useful compounds that come from plastics and cleaning products.

How to Make Your Office More Productive
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Be Appreciative

Making your team feel appreciated is another great way to motivate them to work harder and therefore be more productive. It’s easy to do too – rather than focusing on things that haven’t been done, you can instead look at what has been done and choose to talk about that instead. Praising good work (when that praise is due and not just for the sake of it) will boost the morale within the office, and encourage people to get their work done on time and to a high standard.

Appreciation will also show your employees how important the work is that they are doing. Sometimes it is hard to see this when it looks like just another meaningless document to file or read through, but when there is context, and they can see how everything fits together and how happy you are that it is all working out, they will find the work more enjoyable and easier to get done in a timely fashion.

Allow Privacy

Many office spaces have gone along with the trend of being entirely open plan – some even allow ‘hot desking’ where no one has a specific place to sit and can use any desk and computer that they want to. Although there are advantages to this such as encouraging collaboration and creativity, they can be somewhat detrimental to productivity for the very same reasons. People will constantly be interrupted, or find that they cannot concentrate due to work that someone else is doing.

Therefore, offering people the choice as to whether they want to work in an open plan space or in their own room or cubicle can work wonders. Not only will they feel that their opinion counts, but they will be able to work in the way that suits them best. If you can’t offer the choice due to lack of space or funds, then it is best to work in a way that allows more privacy, but with one meeting room that can be for more creative endeavors.

Natural Light

The fluorescent lighting that is favored in many office spaces might be efficient, but it is bad for the eyes, the mind, and productivity. Harsh lighting like this can affect the eyes too, and even make epilepsy symptoms worse. It’s far better to allow as much natural light as possible into the office, as this encourages greater productivity, and boost everyone’s vitamin D levels which makes them more alert and motivated.

Of course, not every office has the ability to let natural light in – there may be no windows, or very few and not everyone can sit by them. However, it is possible to simulate daytime lighting conditions through special bulbs which can take the place of the fluorescent ones. Although this isn’t as good as the real thing, it is far better than nothing at all.

Watch The Temperature

Your circadian rhythm is important; this is what tells your body when it is time for sleep, and time to be awake. Unnatural light is something that can affect it (which is why, as mentioned above, daylight is the best way to ensure productivity), but so can temperature. The wrong temperature can persuade the body that the sun has gone down and that it is time for bed, for example. If the workplace is too hot or too cold, your body (and brain) may think that it needs to protect itself, and this can divert energy away from other areas, making you feel sleepy and unproductive.

The ideal temperature is somewhere between 68 and 77 degrees Fahrenheit, so trying to stick between this range will ensure optimum productivity.

Break Time

Some people believe that the longer they work, the more work gets done. That isn’t the case though – people are only able to work for a certain amount of time (how long will depend somewhat on the individual) before their productivity levels dip and they are producing substandard work (if any at all). This is why taking strategic breaks is important, and something that an employer or manager should be ensuring is happening in their office.

Short breaks every 30 to 60 minutes are ideal. Although it may seem like a waste of time, just getting up from your desk and walking around for five minutes, or, even better, going outside and getting some fresh air, will actually mean that when you sit back down again, you are more energized and ready to work, and the work that you produce will be more accurate and completed more quickly too.

Drew Hendricks is a professional business and startup blogger that writes for a variety of sites including The Huffington Post, Forbes and Technorati. Drew has worked at a variety of different startups as well as large advertising agencies.