How Your Office Design Is Stopping Your Employees from Being Productive

May 5, 2014 by

Employee productivity is one of the most frequently debated and discussed business topics in the modern era and not without good cause.

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Of the many areas in which improvements can be made, office design is one of the most notable and there are many ideas currently flying about, some of which are quite interesting and worthy of time and attention.

As the business world has finally realised, the open office plan is out – it’s recognised as a hotbed of stress – so what other office designs and plans should take its place?

That’s still being debated and will likely continue to be debated for the foreseeable future; however, there are a few things most experts can agree upon that have the potential to debilitate workplace productivity that you could work at changing at your place of work.

Lighting and temperature

Both lighting and temperature are sources of complaints in modern office spaces but both can be easily and affordably addressed; in fact, by implementing the right changes management actually stands to reduce their operating budgets.

  • Natural light has been found to revitalise workers whilst artificial light has been found to invoke drowsiness. The solution: rearrange the office to allow more natural light to enter, raise the blinds, etc.
  • The optimum temperature for productivity is 70 to 77 degrees Fahrenheit. The solution: turn the air conditioning or the heating up or down.
  • Fluorescent lighting strains the eyes and causes headaches. The solution: replace fluorescent lighting with energy-efficient alternatives like LED light bulbs. Any expenditure will quickly be recovered by a reduction in energy usage.

Balance in the workplace

Of the many problems associated with the open office plan, a lack of balance between areas in which brainstorming can take place and areas in which employees can concentrate on their work is one of the most commonly cited.

Whilst an entire overhaul of the office might not be the answer here, something that many managers have realised is that it’s possible to create a balance between the two.

An easy, and cost effective, means of addressing this issue is to create quiet areas where employees can retreat to and concentrate on their work. This shouldn’t involve cubicles, though there are other options to consider, for example a ‘no talking’ room.


Advances in technology have aided employee productivity in the modern workplace no end, but our increasing reliance upon technology has resulted in problems, most notably accessing technology, in one of its many forms, when needed.

Wi-Fi in the modern workplace means that employees can move from area to area quite comfortably with their laptops, though immovable equipment, like photocopiers and printers, can prove problematic in this regard.

Outfitting each area in the workplace with the required tools – as opposed to a single area where employees line up to use it – is an option for management to think about when considering their options regarding office refurbishment in London, one that empowers employees to seamlessly move from one area of the workspace to another.

Ergonomic design

There’s usually no need for businesses to work with a consultant specialising in ergonomic design, though management is advised to utilise the wealth of information on the subject to make their employees more comfortable at their workstations.

Before you start implementing changes, ask your employees what they think of their current workstations with the aim of making improvements through an investment in ergonomic furniture – there are many benefits to take note of, including enhanced productivity and reduced absenteeism.

Office design can affect employee productivity in many ways – afford it the time and attention it warrants.

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