An episode of the series “Silicon Valley” found the CEO and employees of a start-up company on the search for office space. After finding what he thought was a great deal, the CEO took his team to view the space, a windowless room with buzzing fluorescent lights. While the CEO was delighted, the team was horrified at the idea of spending at least eight hours a day in such a space.
While it might seem like a small thing, where you set up shop and the layout and design of the office space you choose for your business can have a significant impact on productivity and your company’s ability to grow. Whether you’re investing in office space for the first time or are considering moving to a bigger workspace, here are a few things to keep in mind.
Open Layout vs. Cubicles
Whether an open layout, where employees all work together, often at the same table or workbench, or cubicles are better for productivity is a debate that goes back as far as the invention of the cubicle (in 1967). On the side of the open layout is the fact that cubicles can cut people off from each other, minimizing opportunities for collaboration.
On the side of the cubicle is the fact that people often struggle to focus and get their work done when there are a lot of distractions. In some cases, people feel more on the spot and exposed in an open layout setting, which might also have a negative effect on their overall productivity.
It might be that offering your employees a “best of both worlds” option is what works best for your business. You can set up private workspaces for people to use when they need to focus and think, as well as open areas where people are encouraged to gather and discuss ideas.
Another aspect of office design that can impede your company’s ability to grow is volume. When there are many people gathered in one room, working away, the noise level can get pretty high. One study from Oxford Economics found that more than half of all surveyed employees were less productive when there was ambient noise (such as phones ringing, co-workers chatting or noises from offices above or below your own).
There are a few ways you can reduce noise levels in the office to help minimize distractions. Carpeted workspaces more easily absorb sounds, for example. You might also install special panels on the ceiling to help bring down sound levels. Another option is to encourage people to take phone calls or to chat in areas that are closed off from or otherwise away from open spaces.
You don’t want your office to be too hot or too cold, as temperature extremes can affect employee performance. Getting the temperature right can be tricky, but it’s usually a good idea to aim for somewhere between 67 and 75 degrees. How warm or cold your office is can also depend on the clothing choices of the people who work there. Men who are stuck wearing long sleeve shirts and jackets might appreciate a colder space while women who wear sleeveless or short-sleeves blouses or dresses might be shivering in a 67-degree office space.
One option is to allow employees to adjust the temperature in their own workspaces, such as by having space heaters for people who are always cold or small fans for people who tend to run hot.
How tidy an office space is can also affect employee productivity. One way to improve office tidiness is to eliminate the causes of clutter. Try to go paper-free as much as possible, so that your team doesn’t have stacks of files or other paperwork piling up on their desks.
Cleanliness goes beyond managing paper clutter. Take a look at the common areas, such as the kitchen or lounge space, if your company has them. Do people leave things out or do they put them away after use? Are spills cleaned up quickly? Encouraging people to clean up after themselves can help to foster a sense of pride in the space they work in, and by extension, in the company they work for.
When it comes to business growth, even the small things can make a difference. To learn more about strategies you can use to help your company grow, contact the team at New Direction Capital today.