There are many who can debate forever about these questions, but one thing is certain: your workspace is very important for your work.
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If you don’t believe me, imagine working in a dark, cold office in someone’s basement. There’s one small window and traces of mold on the walls, and the sound of police sirens and dogs barking fill the day. There are no lampshades on the lights and you can hear the scurrying of tiny rat feet behind the walls.
Would you be able to work there productively? Some of us might not even survive ten minutes in that place.
The impact of the workspace on any business is undeniable. This is good news for small businesses that can arrange their workspace with relative ease because of its smaller size and lower costs.
But what are the best ways to create that perfect workspace?
Let’s look at some of the most important tips to not only make your employees happier, but also boost your business in the end.
This one’s the easiest to change, so it goes right at the top—if you want to see an immediate and positive change in your workplace, just buy a plant.
It doesn’t have to be anything fancy. Anything will do, from a cactus to a houseplant, to a palm tree.
Research has shown that workplaces with any number of plants can reduce stress and thereby increase overall peace and satisfaction.
Other studies have shown that productivity can go up by as much as 15% with many feeling more engaged in the office.
Employees even believed that the air quality was better and felt more willing to go to the office.
Even though there’s no research on the effects of plant death on employee quality of life, it’s best to go with what’s easiest to maintain. Here’s a good list of plants to keep in the office that are easy to maintain and beautiful to look at.
Light and color
Different colors can affect your mood in different ways.
In general, people feel quite uncomfortable and even anxious in an office with screaming yellow or bright-red walls.This is why it’s very important to have colors in the office that are conducive to what you’re trying to do.
Blue and green have been shown to assist in tasks that require creating new ideas. Red on the other hand has been associated with tasks requiring greater attention to detail.
As for lighting, dimmer environments can help creativity and brighter rooms are better for analytical process.
So what this means is that if your type of work is based on creating new ideas and supporting feelings of freedom, you should have lower lighting with a blue and green color scheme. For analytical and evaluative type of work, go with brighter lighting with red and similar colors.
It’s important to remember that all offices should have some access to natural light, in large or small amounts, or else fatigue and lack of focus can set in.
Office space and furniture
Open office spaces have been the rage in the last few years or so and are steadily increasing, and there are many who love the idea.
On the other hand, some are claiming it significantly decreases productivity and probably will cause the apocalypse.
Which is right?
The benefits and disadvantages of both are real—open offices allow for better collaboration and teamwork, but with more noise and distractions. Closed offices provide for private conversation and closer specific relationships, but they can cause distance between colleagues.
For the best balance in your workspace, it’s best to have a combination of both.
Have an open space in a larger section where people can easily communicate with each other, but also have designated spaces—either private rooms or a variety of privacy furniture—that your employees can go to for high-focus tasks.
Speaking of furniture, it’s also better to have rounded, curvy furniture in your office: it provides positive emotions, which are better for creativity and productivity.
An example of furniture that is out of the ordinary and meets the other requirements listed above is shabby chic style furniture or French furniture, whichever you prefer. This often has ornate carvings and scrolls that can make you forget you’re even in an office.
Roundness shouldn’t just be applied to the furniture, but also to the way you arrange them. Sitting in straight lines with a blocky layout can lead to feelings of individuality and feeling robotic. Rounded or curvy layouts are more organic and can promote greater sociability amongst colleagues.
Of course, it’s important to not do everything absolutely curvy—a good balance is key here, and your eye should probably be the judge.
Although the physical aspects of your workspace are important, it’s also important to have a good emotional environment in the office.
This goes largely towards having an effective management style in general, but one of the ways to do this is by asking for employee input into creating their own workspace.
We’re not just talking about how they organize their own desks, but potentially how the entire office is planned.
If you’re moving into a new office, or just starting your business, go ahead and ask your employees for input on how the space should be organized.
Employees are also happy to help with just putting up pictures and bringing in plants. One study found that workers increased their productivity by 32% compared to the control group when those workers were able to just arrange as many photos and plants as they wanted.
It could even be as simple as employees choosing the type of coffee or decorating their walls as they wish.
The reason for this increase in productivity based on employee input is probably related to how connected the employees feel to the workspace—what kinds of emotions are being attached to the physical space.
If they feel they have input, they probably feel a bit closer to the area. The more freedom and involvement they have in the decision-making process, the more positive feelings they will have about the workspace.
So what you’re saying is…
You can help boost your business by changing just a few things about your workspace.
Some appropriate, natural lighting, the right colors and furniture, and having your employees help with the layout will help increase their mood and productivity and make your business a success.
How do you feel about your workspace? Do you think these tips are helpful in your office, or do you have any other you can share? Feel free to let us know in the comments below!