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How Workspace Environment Shapes Employee Productivity

How Workspace Environment Shapes Employee Productivity

Various things affect employee productivity: from lighting to temperature to noise levels to air quality… But in addition to the physical surroundings, the work environment itself, paired with the general company culture, can also impact the overall productivity and motivation of your team.

Unsurprisingly, both the physical and cultural environment have to be “just right” for employees to give their best performance. 

So, what can you, as a leader, do to help your team be more productive and engaging? 

As it turns out, there’s plenty you can do.

Factors Affecting Productivity

Several rather widely different factors influence how productive employees are during their work hours. We say “widely because they range from personal well-being (which is, in and of itself, a complex and ever-changing factor) to physical factors all the way to cultural aspects of the workspace. 

While you may not be able to influence all of these factors (after all, your employees have personal lives that can affect their well-being and focus to a higher or lesser degree), you can certainly influence most of them quite easily.

Physical Comfort

This one is pretty self-explanatory; after all, anyone seated at a cramped desk with poor lighting and an uncomfortable chair is not likely to stay focused and engaged for long periods. 

Nevertheless, many companies choose not to invest in ergonomic seating and a comfortable work environment in an effort to cut costs. But the truth is, the most effective way to boost your bottom line is to invest in a comfortable working environment for your employees, as this can go a long way in improving their performance.

Workspace Design

Workspace design also plays an important role in influencing employee productivity and collaboration. However, it’s important to note that there’s no single best workspace design as this depends on the industry and overall culture a company is trying to foster. 

While some may believe that an open layout encourages collaboration, others may think it prevents any resemblance of privacy or concentrated work. 

Moral of the story? 

Experiment with different work zones and smaller groups and gather feedback.

Workplace Culture

The culture of an organization also influences the engagement and productivity of its employees. For example, a collaborative culture is recommended for industries that thrive on innovation as it promotes teamwork and idea sharing. 

However, balance is key – individuals also need quiet spaces to concentrate and complete tasks efficiently. Likewise, strong and supportive leadership that recognizes and rewards hard work can help foster a positive work environment in which employees feel valued and motivated to excel.

Boosting Employee Productivity

Now that you hopefully better understand all the factors at play, let’s talk about some practical strategies for boosting employee productivity. 

Improve Physical Comfort

Start by investing in ergonomic furniture, specifically adjustable desks and chairs that support good posture. At the same time, make sure your office is well-lit with natural light wherever possible, and that it is properly ventilated. 

These are all basics, but they’re crucial to making your employees feel comfortable and happy while at work.

Create a Culture of Recognition

According to Gallup, workplace recognition not only boosts individual employee engagement but also increases productivity and loyalty to the company, reducing turnover rates. It’s a low-cost but high-impact strategy for boosting employee productivity, so implement a robust employee recognition and awards program that celebrates hard work and achievements.

The best way to go about this is to ask your employees directly what forms of recognition they would most like (no one likes cookie-cutter compliments and boring company swag). Schedule one-on-one meetings with your top performers to ask them directly what they would prefer, and then use these sessions to craft the perfect employee recognition questionnaire for everyone.

Design Purposeful Workspaces

If you’re not sure what kind of workspace your team would prefer, or alternatively, if some prefer one design but others like something completely different, consider creating a variety of work environments tailored to different tasks and groups of people.

For example, you can have large open spaces for collaborative work and group discussions and smaller quiet zones for focused tasks. An easy way to adapt spaces as needed is to use movable furniture. 

At the same time, make sure everyone has easy access to technology tools needed for work regardless of the zone they work in.

Offer Well-Being Programs

We mentioned that you, as an employer or manager, cannot really do much to improve your employees’ private lives, however, you can do a lot to improve their well-being while they’re at work.

An effective way to improve your team’s health and well-being is to offer wellness classes or organize workshops on stress management and mindfulness (makes for a good team-building activity, too). 

If possible for your line of work, you should also encourage flexible work hours or remote work options as these help promote work-life balance.

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