Taking care of your employees and catering to their needs in order to make them happy is a no brainer, right? Obviously you want them with a smile on their faces because they are the engine that keeps your company growing. One of the ways you can improve the workplace atmosphere is through the office’s physical environment.
Physical environment affect how employees in an organization interaction, perform tasks and are led. It is an aspect of the work environment that impacts interpersonal interactions and thus productivity. This is because the characteristics of a room or meeting place have consequences regarding productivity and work satisfaction levels. The workplace environment is the most critical factor in keeping an employee satisfied in today’s business world.
A large number of work environment studies have shown that workers are satisfied in reference to specific workplace features. They are shown to highly increase productivity and levels of workplace satisfaction. Ambient features in office environments, such as lighting, temperature, existence of windows, free air movement, acoustic environment and ergonomic furniture have been found to have a positive influence on employee health and consequently, on productivity.
When it comes to offices a closed floor plan is preferred to the open one. A closed office floor plan means each employee has a separate office of their own or there are a few people in each closed office (preferably department based). Having one or a few employees separated gives them the chance to work in peace and quiet, keeping them focused on the task at hand without being distracted too much with what their colleagues are doing or talking about. In contrast, in an open office floor plan, larger levels of noise can be stressful and demotivating. Coupling this with a low level of intimacy can really bring productivity and workplace satisfaction down.
Although some technological improvements and alternative work patterns have improved the open floor plan workspace, noise is still the leading cause of employee inefficiency due to distractions. Studies show that noise causes a 40% dent in productivity and can increase errors by 27%.
Now, as mentioned at the beginning of the article, the office’s physical environment is just one aspect that influences employee motivation and performance, but that is an article for another time.
What parts of the office environment makes you feel the most productive? What is something you can’t live without?