Learn How Office Furniture Affects Productivity
Cubicles debuted in the 1960’s and took over offices worldwide. But since then the way we decorate and furnish our offices has changed immensely. A lot has been learned regarding how office furniture affects productivity. Good office furniture and nice set ups that induce productivity and support worker's mental and physical health are helping employees choose one job over another, and if you're about to invest in new furniture in your office, it's something to keep in mind.
Office furniture is a huge investment, and companies recognize the role it plays in attracting and retaining the best of the best. With talent looking for the absolute best in a workplace, the look and style of office furniture has evolved. In this article we'll dig into design and function and how you can create an appealing, productive office space with your furniture choices.
Ergonomics has become a main feature in choosing office furniture. It has also been proven that injuries relating to the office workspace, are growing.
The AOA (American Osteopathic Association) performed a survey, and found that 30% of office workers lose two or more hours a month on work-related tasks because of pain. This has made it increasingly more important for offices to purchase ergonomically designed furniture.
Options such as ergonomic chairs, standing desks and other products have really become an important aspect when purchasing office furniture.
By decreasing the pain level of employees, workers can focus more on the actual work, instead of their pain.
Having Necessary Tools Available at Your Fingertips
Many offices have all the tools needed to run an office, but have them hidden away. This can mean something as large as a printer, or even just where the ink is stored.
Not every office has an office administrator available at all times, so all workers should know where things are kept and stored.
This small change creates an environment where workers no longer have to waste valuable time searching for things.
Keeping things easily accessible such as staplers, printers, hole punch, or any type of office supplies, keeps workers on track and avoids people steering away from their important work.
Defining Spaces with Office Furniture
Everyone needs a place to take a break while working 7-8 hours per day, and taking breaks can actually boost productivity for workers when they are at their desk.
Creating different spaces within the office and dictating their purpose with the right office furniture is great for productivity.
The office can be divided into one zone for rest and personal behavior, and another for professional behavior and work. Making sure to have a rest zone with places to eat, and relax helps productivity. The furniture can be more laid back and comfortable in these areas as compared to the working area.
Giving employees an area to rest their minds will allow them to recharge and then put forward their best effort on their job.
Create Private Spaces
Having both visual privacy and quiet spaces can be important to productivity as well.
As an example, many teams have an employee who is wonderful at doing sales calls, but prefers a bit of privacy to do so. Positioning this person in the center of an open-office where everybody in the room can listen to his or her call could prevent the best member of your sales team from being as productive as he or she otherwise would be.
While not every office can give each person a private office, there are a few options where the right office furniture can help in situations like this.
The first is purchasing sound masking systems such as acoustic panels, or privacy screens. Additionally, you can design (or redesign) your office with extra meeting rooms available for use by employees who desire a bit of privacy to focus on their work.
This way everyone has their own private space when they want it, but they aren't stuck behind a permanent cubicle every day (which may not be the office environment you're going for).
Creating a space that looks clean, promotes relaxation and therefore promotes better productivity. When an office is disorganized, it can be very difficult for workers to focus.
Office furniture such as filing integrated in desks, decorative drawers and baskets or boxes to hide wires under a desk all promote a clean look. Incorporating these pieces to your office furniture design will promote a clean mind and motivate people to work hard without having clutter as a distraction.
Something as simple as creating a dedicated space where office cleaning supplies are readily available will encourage your team to keep their spaces clean. Even if you already hire a cleaning company come in after hours, giving people the option to quickly clean up after themselves (and the tools to do so) promotes cleanliness and productivity.
There have been many studies that show incorporating some type of a standing/sitting desk combination greatly helps productivity.
One study by Texas A&M Health Science Center School of Public Health, found that employees were 46% more productive while using sit-stand desks. Energy levels were shown to be increased by more movement throughout the day. The same study at Texas A&M stated, “87% of employees using standing desks reported feeling more energetic as a result of standing more during the workday.” This means that standing was found to increase workers alertness and avoid that 2 PM crash.
The Importance of Color in an Office
The color schemes chosen in an office affect the way workers think. When decorating an office, colors can bring a positive or negative feeling. Bright colors have been shown to lift moods, and in turn increase productivity.
Choosing a color scheme may not seem directly related to office furniture, but it is a huge part of the design, and can impact the choices you make when you purchase office furniture. Happier and more excited employees, are more productive. Check out the Poppin File Cabinet as an example of how color and design can make your office more dynamic.
Related: What Are the Best Office Paint Colors ?
Creating a Functional Office Space
Adopting a function-first approach to office furniture and office design can make a big impact in productivity for your workplace.
Instead of having 4 different rooms that look identical and can house meetings, define each room and you will create a more serious atmosphere and productive atmosphere.
This also goes for office lighting. Designing meeting rooms with windows and natural light specifically for meetings, has proven to make those meetings more productive. Dark and boring rooms have also been proven to restrict creativity. Monotonous furniture in a room with fluorescent lighting, is a recipe for disaster.
There was a study done that compared employees working in offices without windows, versus those who worked with windows that allowed natural light. The windows were found to allow in 173% more natural light exposure, and the workers in those offices slept around 45 minutes more each night.
More sleep equals more productivity, and a better quality of life. Designing an office with natural light is a huge trend, and adopting a lighting philosophy which embraces natural light and daylight bulbs in your light fixtures is sure to have an immediate benefit on productivity.
Making Changes to Your Existing Office Furniture
Changing office furniture is a big commitment and can be very expensive financially. The first step in making changes to increase productivity with your own office furniture, should begin with your employees. One great idea is to create an anonymous poll. This gives you real feedback from people who are actually utilizing the furniture in your office.
When buying new office furniture, you do not need to throw everything out and buy all new. You can also ask yourself which pieces promote productivity, and which could be modified for more success. If something in the office has sentimental value, but really does not aid in the productivity of your office, it may be time to throw that out or replace it. Old machines that still function, but very slowly, should also be on the top of your list to replace.
There Are Many Ways Office Furniture Affects Productivity
Office furniture is directly correlated to the workplace environment, and the environment we live and work in affects how people function and their productivity levels.
Whether it is creating more space for resting times, offering sound barriers, or extra rooms for privacy, the right furniture and defined spaces can make a huge difference in the health, productivity, and attitude of your workforce.
Maybe it is the act of giving ergonomic options in terms of desks and chairs, or even just changing the color scheme of an office ... all of these come into play and affect productivity in the workplace.
By setting aside part of your budget to improve on these areas, you will actually be investing in the future of your company.
Although it is hard to track or measure this progress, you will experience less loss of time due to ergonomic issues or focus issues.
In the long run, putting the time, effort and money into good office furniture, will make a huge difference in the happiness of your employees and the future of your company.