The futures bright: how to make a more productive office space
Could windows, the color green and a bit of light make your business more productive?
In the article we’ll be discussing tried and tested ways to create an office space which not only increases efficiency but also creates a calm and productive environment where employees can give their work their best.
So, Ben, why is your office important to you?
“I spend a lot of time in my office – sometimes 11 or 12 hours a day – and this means it’s really important it’s an environment I feel comfortable and don’t get distracted.”
Can you describe your office environment too us?
“Personally, I’m really lucky to have a great view of Falmouth’s harbour from my office window, and I find a combination of lots of natural light and keeping the office tidy means I get the most out of my day.”
But, anecdotal evidence aside, what does research say about creating a productive office space, and how can this be adapted to small businesses?
More Windows, less Tabs
Ben’s affinity for natural light seems to be in no way unique. A study by researchers at the Interdepartmental Neuroscience program at North-western University in Chicago found that people with windows in the workplace, sleep, on average, an extra 46 minutes per night, as natural light exposure is vital to regulate circadian rhythmsi. People exposed to more light also tend to be more physically active and perceive themselves as happier; both desirable traits in an office partner.
Green fingers type faster
It seems that Mother Nature has more to offer than just sunlight: bringing plant life into the workplace also has proven benefits. A collaboration between 4 universities, including University of Exeter, examined the effect on memory retention when plants where introduced into the office. They found that placing houseplants at a density of approximately 1 per meter improves memory and increases productivity by up to 15%. Additionally, the tones of blue and green, which we see so abundantly in nature, have been shown to boost focus and efficiency, blue and green interiors leading to fewer mistakes when typing and proof reading in a recent Texas study.
While interviewing Ben, he frequently reaches for the pint glass of water on his desk. Is keeping hydrated important to you? “Very” he replies, and research shows he’s not the only one who performs his best when hydrated. Experiments on young men by the university of Connecticut show that staying moist improves not only cognitive performance but also mood, with fatigue and anxiety scores worsening in subjects denied water after exercising. With dehydration also increasing the amount of errors made in visual vigilance and memory tests it’s clear that when trying to increase office productivity a water dispenser provides an aqueous solution.
While most of these studies were performed on large cohorts the ideas are easily scaled down to get the most out of your small- to-medium business and office space.