10 Ways Office Furniture Can Improve Productivity
There are many important factors that contribute to the success of a business, one being the level of productivity. Business owners and managers must take steps to ensure that their team never fail to work productively. Some simple measures which they can take are choosing and positioning the office furniture wisely and choosing the appropriate furniture in the first place, such as ergonomic office chairs and height adjustable desks. With these factors put in place, your business will start to see a significant change in employee levels of productivity.
In this article, we will discuss ten ways that office furniture can improve levels of productivity in your business and why productivity levels are so important.
Why is Productivity So Important?
Productivity refers to an individual’s total output compared to the business’s total input. Put simply, increasing productivity is about making sure that each process runs smoothly and that every member of the team puts in the best of their ability. The level of productivity within a business can directly impact its overall success. When a team is productive, your business operations will run smoothly and efficiently. Not only does high productivity result in increased profits, it can also reduce running costs, because less time is wasted during the daily activities of your business. On the other hand, a lack of productivity will increase costs, waste time and reduce potential profits.
1) Comfortable Ergonomic Office Chairs
The comfort of your staff should be one of your primary concerns. Being seated comfortably prevents individuals from getting distracted throughout their working day. An employee who is uncomfortable will constantly stop work to readjust their position and this will delay their working progress.
On the other hand, comfortable employees can retain focus on the task at hand and achieve better results. In fact, staff who are comfortable are happier at work and more motivated. Ergonomic office chairs are one of the simplest options to ensure comfort. An ergonomic office chair differs from a traditional office chair in terms of the flexibility and the bodily support it offers. Everyone has a different height and body shape, and an ergonomic chair caters to this in a way that traditional chairs do not. Various aspects of the design allow for adjustments so that the user can set the chair at the best height and angle for them to work comfortably.
2) Preventing Back Problems
Ergonomic chairs offer more than simply comfort. They will also help your staff to sit in the right position. This is important as sitting in an incorrect position at a desk can cause both short and long-term back, shoulder and neck problems. Not only will this slow down your employees work effort, it may also mean they have time off work to treat the problem or to recuperate. This will impact negatively on the overall productivity of the team.
Adjustable chairs ensure that staff are sat at a good height that will prevent them from hunching over their desk throughout the duration of the day, thus limiting the potential for developing musculoskeletal problems.
However, back problems are not just simply caused by the furniture; people using the furniture incorrectly or having a lack of knowledge about good working posture is also a part of the problem. Therefore, it is important that staff are fully informed about how to use the seating appropriately.
3) Office Colours
There is some evidence to suggest that different colours have psychological or emotional effects on people. Therefore, you need to think carefully about the colours for both the décor of the office, and the furniture. Vibrant colours create a pleasant working environment and this promotes enthusiasm in your team.
Further benefits of choosing bright colours are that they improve the mood and can alleviate stress. However, avoid anything too loud as this can cause a distraction from work. Some good colour choices include yellow, orange, blue and green.
Having white or a neutral colour on your walls will give a contrast to the bright furniture. It will also prevent the walls causing a further distraction. If this looks a little plain or clinical, you can add a few carefully chosen pieces of art to the wall that reflect your brand or image.
4) Positioning Near Natural Light
It is not just what office furniture you choose, but also where it is positioned. Studies have proven that a lack of natural light in the office has a negative effect on workers. They have less sleep that is of poorer quality and often experience sleep disturbances. This impacts on their ability to function in the day and they become less productive.
If there is natural light coming into the office, try to position desks and chairs near the natural light sources. This will help your staff to maintain good levels of productivity as they are more alert and focused.
5) Office Lighting
Office lighting often gets overlooked when finding ways to improve productivity in a company, however your choice of lighting could make a significant difference. Most people simply opt for clear or white lighting without considering any other options. Evidence shows that blue or green lighting is potentially the best option.
Studies into blue and green light were originally intended to discover the effects of people being near their mobile phones in the night. One finding was the blue light emitted blocked production of melatonin and this prevented restful sleep. The scientists then realised that if the same lights were used in the day, they could increase alertness.
Using blue and green lights in the main light fittings is the easiest solution to this problem, and special bulbs are available if you simply want to adapt the current light fittings. Alternatively, you may wish to position lamps around the room that focus light into specific areas of the office.
6) Height Adjustable Desk
An alternative to simply having adjustable chairs is to also have height adjustable desks. This is the ultimate way for employees to find the best level of comfort while working. Sit-to-stand desks are the ideal solution for this, and are proven to increase productivity.
In addition to maximising productivity, you will also benefit the health of your staff because research shows there are many advantages to working in this way. Some of the health benefits include a reduced risk of obesity, lower blood sugar levels, improved mood and energy levels, a reduced risk of heart disease, less back pain and ultimately a longer life.
A concern expressed by some workers may be that they will struggle to complete certain office tasks while standing, such as typing. However, research has shown that the ability to complete these types of tasks is not affected by standing. Persuade your staff to try this new way of working so they can see for themselves the benefits.
7) Shapes of office furniture
There once was a time when the choice of desks available was limited to simple square or rectangular wooden desks. However, now there are a wide range of furniture available on the market in a variety of different shapes, as shown on Allard Office Furniture. The shape of the office furniture you choose is not only about finding pieces that are aesthetically pleasing, but also about choosing the right shape to develop an impact on the way your team works.
If employees are required to work together towards the same goal and collaborate on projects, you need to find furniture that promotes good communication. Sitting in circles increases cohesion and teamwork, so this is the perfect choice to get everyone working well together.
There are many options available in terms of the size and style of furniture, and your choice will depend on how your team work. For example, you need to take into consideration whether you have small groups working together or larger groups; if teamwork is occasional or constant; whether members of the team are from the same department; or if members of different departments work in the same team but at different stages.
Another way that the shape of furniture can improve productivity is by providing a smoother flow in the office. If people can move freely around the space, they will encounter fewer delays as they go about their business. The shape and size of your office will influence the best shapes of furniture for you to choose.
8) Plants in the office
A surprisingly easy and cheap way to improve productivity in your office is to add some plants. Most people assume that the addition of plants is to create some visual interest in an office. However, they also serve several practical purposes, and this will benefit your business.
One study compared the productivity of two groups of workers. One group had both plants and computers in their office and the other group had only computers. The group working with plants were 12 per cent more productive than the other group.If this statistic is not enough to convince you, then you might like to think about the other benefits of having plants in the office. They can improve the air quality in the office, create a pleasant working environment and reduce the stress levels of workers. All these advantages may contribute to and account for the increased levels of productivity.
9) Tidy Workspace
Having a tidy workspace makes a big difference. Firstly, because clutter causes a distraction, so a clean space can help workers to focus. Secondly, if things are stored away tidily in an organised fashion then employees will waste less time looking for the things they need. Finally, work and documents getting lost in clutter means work may need repeating or time is wasted looking for the lost work; both will slow down progress in the office.
There are two main solutions to these problems. The first is to buy desks with inbuilt storage so that staff have places to keep their documents, stationery and any other items they use daily. This will help them to keep their personal work spaces tidy and work more efficiently without distractions.
The second solution is to buy good office storage so that everything has a place. Depending on how you will use the storage, some options include filing cabinets, drawers, cupboards and boxes. It is important you are clear about what will be stored in each when choosing storage furniture so that you chose the most appropriate and useful pieces of equipment.
10) Divide the office
If you have different types of activities taking place in your office, it is worth considering dividing the space into different areas. This means you may need to choose more than one type of furniture.
Some of your employees may work on tasks individually and need to avoid distractions from others. Cubicles are the obvious solution for this type of work as it gives employees some privacy and allows them to focus on the task.
Other members of your team may need to work together on a project. If this is the case, then they will need a separate area with completely different furniture to the employees who are working alone. Choose items that promote good communication between the different members of the team. They will also need enough work surface and space around the desks and seating for free movement.
A further space is needed for when your staff are on their breaks and require a more relaxed style of furniture for this space. Having this separate area will help staff to take a proper break away from work. This will refresh them and keep them motivated for the rest of the day. It will also help them to separate their work and personal life. If there is somewhere staff can chat during a break, they are less likely to disrupt the working day.
These are just ten of the ways that your office furniture can impact positively on the productivity of your business. You may find that the right furniture has additional benefits to you and your time, such as improving the health of your employees, saving time and cutting costs. It also means that your staff are more likely to enjoy the environment they are working in and this will increase their levels of enthusiasm and motivation. For these reasons, it is worth your while spending some time carefully choosing furniture and planning the layout, to ensure you make the most of the space and reap the rewards of improved productivity in your business.