In today's work world, being productive and being creative are the two important defining characteristics for success. Whether the entity is a company that supports on-site teams, or encourages remote working, the work environment plays a huge role in the quality of work and morale of the employees. If it's freelance work, it is even more important to create the right environment for work to be motivated enough to complete the work and avoid sidetracks.
It's not a coincidence that some of the world's fastest growing companies also have invested in cool office spaces. The office space design also speaks volumes about the philosophy of the company and can be an open statement about what it really believes in. For example: Steve Jobs insisted his offices have free flowing space to encourage the open exchange of ideas. Hence, his Pixar office resembled a campus more than an office that incorporated several corners in the office that facilitated random and deliberate encounters between people that haven't seen other for several weeks or even months.
Experts say that there are a few key factors that have a huge impact on work effectiveness. Here's the reel:
Humans are evolutionarily attuned to light patterns. Too much light or the deprivation of it can affect moods, sleeping patterns, energy levels, creativity and enthusiasm in us.
There are several ways to provide lighting in an office- but the best way is to make use of natural light. According to this study, natural light improved focus and performance. Another study here confirms that the amount of exposure to light can determine your susceptibility to mood disorders and depression. Consider placing windows and sky-roofs strategically so as to optimize the use of available space to let in maximum natural light during work hours.
There is a growing emphasis on the use of right colors to induce and sustain the right mental states for maximum productivity. According to color experts like Angela Wright who developed the world renowned Color Affects System, blue is a color you might want to use in spaces where you want to promote friendliness and relaxation. Red signifies excitement and power -- and hence should be used in hallways and town-hall spaces.
Noise: Ambient sounds in an office affect employee productivity more than we realize. It is also well-established now that natural sounds; especially the sound of flowing water can enhance employee productivity, simply for the fact that it relieves stress and calms the environment. It is not possible for everyone to have an office on the banks of Colorado River; but options like wall water fountains provide affordable alternatives.
Enter an office and you will immediately know how they work from the way it is laid out. Lately, there has been lot of emphasis on the open office layout, where all employees are within sight of each other and open communication is facilitated. However, overdoing this can lead to employee isolation; where employees shut themselves off with headphones. Not everybody is comfortable with speaking when they are within earshot of tens of other co-workers. This is also one of the reasons that point # 3 is an extremely important consideration -- to shut out unnecessary noise.
Another important aspect of layout is ergonomics. Comfortable seating arrangements and clutter-free walking zones will promote freshness and positivity in the environment. Japanese company Toyota, which pioneered the Toyota Production System listed being clean and clutter-free as one of its major milestones to achieve increased productivity and called it 5S. It is now followed by several companies across the world as part of the Lean and Six Sigma essentials.
Spending your days in unnaturally hot or cold temperatures can affects performance in us. Not just that, it also affects how we perceive others in the workspace. For example, if you are feeling cold; you are more likely to perceive others as less generous and caring. Needless to say, this can have a direct and large impact on team communication and bonding.
If there is a serious intent of growing your business, whether you are an individual freelancer, start-up with a handful of people or an already well-established company -- it makes a lot of sense to invest in good office space.
Plus, it is the easiest way to respect your employees and show that you care!
About the Author:
Devishobha is the founder of Kidskintha- where parenting is inspired by kids. She believes that happy children grow around happy adults. Get her "53 Timeless Parenting Hacks To Raise Happy Kids" here. Watch out for her soon-o-be-launched line of merchandize exclusively inspired by everyday quips of children!