As an office manager, your main focus is likely the productivity of your office workers. As you know, working in an office environment has a number of challenges for your employees. The environment itself can improve productivity or reduce it substantially.
U.S. News and World Report conducted a test they called the Coding War Games. They found the best workers in offices with low noise levels outperformed the worst workers in noisy offices 10:1. Of course, it can be difficult for most people to concentrate when it’s noisy.
But, noise is not the only thing that can lower productivity in an office environment. Here are a few improvements you may want to consider to increase productivity in your office.
Stale air can affect the health of your office staff. Sick building syndrome is a phenomenon that occurs when time within a confined area with poor indoor air quality can cause people to complain of headaches, itchy skin, dry cough, nausea, dizziness and other symptoms that can reduce productivity.
The World Health Organization suggests that 30% of new or remodeled buildings have poor indoor air quality. This may be due to the premise that sealing and insulation reduces energy costs. Without good ventilation to improve air quality, the loss of productivity throughout the workforce can, understandably, adversely affect the bottom line by cancelling out any energy cost savings.
Improve the ventilation system to allow fresh air into the office while removing the stale air. This can be done effectively by improving your building’s stack effect.
Increase Natural Lighting
Seasonal affective disorder (SAD) causes depression due to the lack of natural sunlight during the winter months. This is due to the changes in your body’s “master clock” of circadian rhythms. These rhythms are produced by environmental signals, particularly the exposure to light which helps regulate your body’s sleep-wake cycles and body temperature.
If your office staff works primarily in areas without natural sunlight, they can be affected by SAD year round due to the inability to regulate their circadian rhythm. Understandably, this can affect productivity.
Increase the amount of natural sunlight that enters into the office workplace by removing window tinting and opening window coverings, if possible. If you are unable to increase natural lighting, consider changing your lighting system to one that uses full spectrum lighting.
Cornell University conducted a study that showed typing errors reduced by 44% and typing increased 150% when the office temperature increased from 68 to 77 degrees Fahrenheit. Even though the workers didn’t feel cold when the temperature was set at 68, it did distract them enough to affect their productivity.
It may take a few months to find the optimal temperature for your particular office setting. Adjust the temperature by one or two degrees on a weekly basis and watch for changes in productivity until you find the right thermostat setting for your office.
The flow of the office can affect productivity. An office with open space can help to promote collaboration between your office staff, but it can also be disruptive to those who concentrate better when working alone or with few distractions. Many offices use desks, cabinets and dividers, like those from D&R Office Works Inc., to section of various work stations to give each worker more privacy to conduct their tasks.
The most suitable arrangement for your office furniture will largely depend on whether your staff works individually or as a collaborative team. If your staff requires a bit of both, consider installing moveable office partitions that can transform the office from open to individual spaces quickly.
By reducing distractions with strategically placed partitions, improving the air quality and natural sunlight, and keeping the temperature at a comfortable level, the production level in your office should increase.