I’ve always understood that physical space has a definite and direct impact on performance. Running my business from a home office for the past ten years and having recently moved house, I get to experience first-hand how a poorly designed and inadequate office space can negatively impact your performance, your bottom (and waist) line.
If you find yourself feeling a little sluggish off the starting blocks, taking extended tea breaks and snacking your way through your to-list, perhaps it’s time for an office audit:
- Lighting, and more specifically natural lighting, plays a positive influence in performance. Fluorescent bulbs give off great light; with low shadow which is great for an office environment. While they might require more energy in turning them on, I have been led to believe that they are fairly efficient to run.
- Check your chair. It’s worth investing in an ergonomically sound chair on castors with a height adjustable option. If you are short like me, opt for a foot rest (low box will do) to help ensure your feet are flat while your back still well supported by your chair back. While chairs with arms might make you feel like you’re the big cheese, make sure you can pull yourself up to the desk.
- Choose colours that enhance creativity instead of those that stifle action. Numerous studies point to the impact of colour on mood so spend some time researching what will be a good paint colour option for you and your team. You want to feel good about your space immediately on entering your working environment.
- Make room to move. While it’s easy to be sucked in to your computer the moment you hit your office chair, strategically place certain items outside of arms reach. Getting up to collect your paper from the printer keeps your body active and as a result, your mind clearer.
- Open plan vs. cellular offices. There is no doubt that open plan office environment stimulate team work but what about the auditory sensitive employee that just can’t concentrate with so many distractions. Be mindful of positioning of cupboards, shelves and plants as a means to create some privacy. Encourage early mornings for peak focus high value tasks where telephone calls and desk based meetings are discouraged. The bonus of this is that everyone will be working towards high reward tasks early on in the day while energy levels are high. The minimised distractions will lead to more being achieved in less time.
- Introduce flexi-work hours to boost performance. There are many highly productive alternative works scenarios that boost morale and overall performance without hindering teamwork. If the standard 8am – 5pm slots are not yielding good performance returns, structure alternatives to suit your industry and work force.