We spend a huge chunk of our lives at work, and, for many people, that will be in an office environment.
And while it may seem to be ‘just’ four walls, the truth is that the environment you work in can have a huge impact on your team’s productivity – or lack of it.
Here are our top tips for creating an office environment that inspires your team to be their very best – many of which apply if you’re working from home too.
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Light it up
Lighting is so important when it comes to mood; poor lighting can lead to eye strain, lethargy and lack of creativity.
If possible, it is best to have a source of natural light, as there is the chance that artificial lighting can cause headaches, particularly when staff are also staring at their screens all day. Natural light also helps our bodies produce Vitamin D, improves our circadian rhythms, and sleep patterns and helps us to focus.
However, if the layout of your office means you have to do without a source of natural light, artificial light that can be dimmed is also a good option. Choose a variety of different lighting options, such as angled lamps for specific tasks and wall lights for a wider reach, to give plenty of options.
Whichever you choose – or are stuck with – make sure that staff aren’t either straining to see or being blinded by bright-white strip lights whilst trying to work.
See in colour
The colour you choose for your office can have a real bearing on your team’s productivity. White, whilst a popular choice for office spaces, can be associated with being cold and clinical. Instead, try opting for muted shades that create a sense of space and calm, such as a soft beige or sage green. If you want an injection of colour, a feature wall is a popular choice; blues, greys and deep greens are a good option, as they are known for having a calming effect and inspiring efficiency.
But which colours should you avoid?
Yellow, whilst it promotes optimism and creativity, is an ideal choice for artists and designers – however may be a bit full-on for many workspaces in different industries. Red is another colour best avoided in large doses. While it’s associated with passion, which may seem to be a good thing, it also carries connotations of anger and urgency – not ideal for a professional working environment!
Part of the furniture
If you want staff to be productive, you need to make your office work for them. Spacious desks, comfortable chairs and space to move around are all key. Nowadays, you can find office furniture in all colours, shapes and styles, meaning you won’t have to compromise on style to find something you and your team love.
If space allows, consider creating different zones in the office, such as breakout areas for relaxing and somewhere for team members to congregate and brainstorm. If you’re all based in one room, screens are a good option too, allowing you to reconfigure the room according to the team’s daily requirements.
Artwork on the walls is another way to help keep the team motivated, as, let’s be honest, nobody does their best thinking staring at a blank wall.
In fact, research has proven that art improves productivity. A survey by the Business Committee for the Arts and the International Association for Professional Art Advisors found that art in the workplace helped business owners address key challenges such as reducing stress, increasing creativity and encouraging the expression of opinions.
The German bank, Deutsche Bank, certainly agrees; it has the biggest collection of corporate art in the world, with around 60,000 pieces across 900 offices in 40 countries.
While Deutsche Bank has splashed the cash on work by Damien Hirst and Anish Kapoor, you can easily pick up some pieces online to brighten your walls and get those creative juices flowing.
Houseplants have seen a resurgence in popularity over recent years and are another great way to accessorise your office, as well as boost productivity.
In fact, they’re more than just a decorative piece; plants are natural air filters, replacing carbon dioxide with oxygen, which can help prevent headaches.
And if your team are based in an open-plan office, plants also have the added benefit of helping to reduce noise levels by absorbing sound. This is brilliant for productivity, as one of the most common ways of being distracted is by hearing snippets of conversation from across the room. (We’ve all been there!)
While there are many aspects of an office you will be powerless to change, such as windows or the availability of natural air and light, there are plenty of ways you can boost productivity – and create an inspiring place to work.
If you’re interested to find out how our interior design services could work for you or your business, get in touch today.