Humans are inherently curious. It’s why businesses hire people to stand on the corner and wave signs. It’s considered a successful advertising move not just because there’s a sign there, but because any motion attracts the human eye, and human motion especially gets our attention.
In the case of an open-concept office space, human activity can be a constant source of distraction. Worse, psychological scientists theorize that employee stress is significantly increased when you become the subject of other people’s attention. In an open-concept office space, where there is constant human motion of one sort or another, how do you ensure distractions won’t get in the way of productivity, or cause stress for people who feel like they’re on display?
How you organize employees and materials makes a difference for any operation, which is why effectively laying out an open office space can actually contribute to success of the company. This success relies on increasing productivity by improving employee morale and mental health. Here are 9 ways to ensure people in your open space office perform effectively:
Create separate work areas
If your office is more like a great room serving a multi-function purpose, use office dividers to distinguish areas for at least some portion of the space. For example, create an area that’s clearly a conference room as opposed to a break room. This will ensure that employees enter the area with the mindset that they are there to collaborate, brainstorm, or perform some other work in concert—not relax and chitchat.
Create separate offices
Distinguishing between different areas of an open space office plan would be difficult without the use of partitions. Partitions allow employees to have their own “space” to work, cutting down on the distraction human motion may cause. Such partitioning not only helps remove distractions, but it also lets employees personalize their space and attain privacy if they need it.
Use modular office furniture
Modular office furniture picks up on current minimalist trends. Rather than having oversized pieces that take up a lot of space or cut down on visual appeal, purchasing more functional office furniture that uses fewer materials will help the space feel less crowded. This in turn can promote productivity by providing employees (and clients) with mental breathing room.
Use space-saving chairs to offer comfort and aesthetic appeal
The urge to skimp on desk chairs may be a result of believing that they aren’t that important to the general morale of employees. In fact, the opposite is true. If workers are going to be spending hours in their seats, consider forking out the money for comfortable, ergonomic chairs.
Provide supplemental back supports
Because the comfort of employees is so important to morale and productivity, providing back supports for desk chairs will go a long way toward establishing that you care how they’re doing. This in turn makes it easier for them to do a stellar job. After all, how productive can you be when you’re constantly battling back pain or wiggling to get comfortable?
Use office desks and shelving for organization
In a shared, open working environment, nothing is worse than clutter. Stacks of binders on the floor or computer and printer cords that sprawl all over the place scream “unprofessional.” Use office desks and shelving with efficient and clever storage compartments to keep items out of sight and out of mind as much as possible.
Purchase computer desks
To capitalize on the decluttering theme even further, buy desks specifically made for laptop and desktop computers. This can increase employee productivity by providing more effective use of available desk space—very simply, giving them the versatile work surface they need to get the job done.
Desks aren’t simply functional: they can help create a work space and increase productivity if employees are allowed even just a little bit of personalization. Personalization provides employees with a semblance of control over their environment and that, in turn, means they are more inclined to take ownership of the work produced there, as well as to feel personally invested in its outcome.
Make use of the corners
In many offices, unused corners are wasted spaces. Desperate business owners may fill in an “awkward space” with a potted plant. But you can make much more effective use of corners—and of your space as a whole—when you rearrange and re-imagine your office from the outside in. And the solution is effortlessly easy: start with some quality corner desks and go from there.
If space is an indicator of success and prosperity—and many would argue that it is—having an open office can aid in the general appeal of a business, both to employees and clients. Instead of long hallways that fail to promote community, open space offices can contribute to a company’s success by raising employee morale. When you use smart partitioning, office dividers, and smartly designed furniture, you’ll increase productivity, decrease distractions, and make the company more efficient overall.
We have plenty more tips on how to stay productive at work. Follow Cafe Quill on social media and subscribe so you never miss a post!