From energy drinks and headphones to goal setting and to-do lists, the ways to increase productivity at work are abundant and diverse. While a Venti coffee and the latest Beyoncé album can be helpful, there are some proven methods that will help.
By creating quiet spaces and implementing natural elements that improve your workspace, you can produce even better results. This not only increases productivity, it also increases overall workplace happiness.
By making adjustments to your space, you can make improvements that will benefit your entire team. Here are five ways to update your workplace and boost productivity:
1. Make room for tranquil spaces
Adding a zen room creates a space for employees to recharge. Recent studies have shown that taking breaks for silence revitalizes your nervous system, bolsters energy levels and allows your mind to be more receptive and creative, and therefore more productive. Creating a zen room can be a simple as converting an underutilized room in your office into your new, serene space. Provide dimmable lighting, if possible, and add flexible, comfortable furnishings. Embellishing the space with artwork and soothing music will add to the ambiance.
2. Install sound masking
While this sounds like a daunting undertaking, the benefits of sound masking have been studied extensively. Independent research has documented productivity gains of 8 to 38 percent and job satisfaction increases of 125 to 174 percent with the addition of sound masking. On top of speech privacy, sound masking can also reduce employee stress and mental fatigue. Installation costs are relatively low and range between $1 and $2.50 per square foot depending on the location of the facility and the complexity of the system.
3. Create a quiet zone
Similar to a zen room, quiet zones allow a place for employees to go when they need increased focus, without the distraction of side office conversations. A recent study from the University of California, Irvine found that an average employee's quiet time is only 11 minutes between interruptions and disturbances. It then takes approximately 25 minutes to pick-up and proceed with assignments. Creating quiet zones eliminates the possibility of distractions and provides an area for ample focus on more complex or time sensitive tasks. Designate an area of your office where no calls, meetings or discussions can take place and workers can find the privacy they need to be productive.
4. Implement a cave day
In the spirit of fewer interruptions, start a cave day and allow employees to work from home periodically. Some may argue that working remotely decreases productivity, but a recent report showed that two out of three employers reported increased productivity among their telecommuters. Personally, my productivity is always better at home. Tasks that can take two hours to complete at work (due to interruptions) I can accomplish from home in half the time. Apparently I'm not alone. A survey from 2016 of American remote workers showed that 91 percent of those who work from home feel they are more productive than when they are in the office. Testing this out could benefit not only your company, but your employee's disposition.
5. Let light in
It's not just the noise level and access to quiet spaces that boosts productivity. Data from Leesman suggests that physical work environment also boosts overall satisfaction levels. Of those surveyed, 75.8 percent believe that natural light is important to them, and only 56.9 percent said they were satisfied with the lighting in their work environment. Access to natural light also has an impact on sleep quality. Researchers at the Interdepartmental Neuroscience program at Northwestern University in Chicago recommend that office environments take into account how natural daylight exposure can advance employee wellness. If you have offices located along windows, consider adding glass sidelights so employees can see daylight. Alternatively, examine the practicality of removing some of the offices and replace them with workstations so sections of the office can be flooded with natural light.
While the phone will ring and the emails will flow, by being mindful and making the right adjustments to your space, you can reap the benefits. By experimenting with these tips, you can improve your employees' well-being and boost your whole office's productivity.