As one of the most important assets of any business, it’s important to ensure that employees are exposed to an office environment that’s conducive to productive work.
Studies have consistently shown that there is a link between office design and employee well-being, with air quality, lighting, views and interior layout playing a huge role in employee morale and engagement.
But if you don’t have the time or funds to completely refit and design your office work space, there are some simple investments you can make to boost productivity in the long run.
From investing in plants to decrease stress levels, fostering brainstorming with whiteboards, through to tablets for managing work on the go, there are simple steps any business can take whether they’re an early startup up or an established global company.
Here are five investments that businesses should make to boost productivity:
Get creative with whiteboards
Whiteboards are often overlooked in the office, or relegated to board meetings, but in fact can be one of the most useful tools in boosting productivity and creativity within the office.
They’re especially useful when there are upcoming projects and teams of two or more need to work together. Not to mention that it’s reusable so you don’t have to worry about any wastage.
Global companies like Intuit believe that whiteboards are critical to their innovation and have even created rooms with whiteboard paint, so that their employees can constantly brainstorm where they want and how they want.
Ideas taken down on the whiteboard are easily shared with team members by uploading a picture onto chat platforms like Hipchat or Slack. There are also apps like Office Lens, which let you create a searchable record of all brainstorming sessions by scanning documents and whiteboards into editable Office files.
Finally, it encourages employees in the office to get up, move around, engage with their colleagues and not be confined to their screen all day.
Add some life into the office
Incorporating plants into the office is an easy investment for companies to lower stress, increase happiness levels and boost productivity.
Research has shown that productivity levels increase by as much as 15% when there’s a touch of green in the office. Further, plants can improve employee satisfaction by creating a physically enjoyable environment to work in.
International commercial property services firm CBRE has also caught on the trend with their head of sustainability for the Pacific region Amanda Steele saying that these “green spaces” bring about health benefits and positive feelings all round.
“They also purify the air, without the use of chemicals or energy, and provide an excellent connection to nature – enacting biophilia, or the positive feelings people get when surrounded by living systems,” Steele told Business Insider.
“Working in greener spaces is proven to boost our moods, creating a happier and healthier workplace, which ultimately leads to financially quantifiable results for a business,” Steele said.
Invest in a great desk
We’ve all heard that the right desk can do wonders for your health and well-being in the office.
And it makes sense — with most office workers sitting at their desks 9-6 everyday, it’s important to have a flexible work space that caters to individual needs.
There’s now a range of desks on the market in all shapes and sizes so it’s easy to opt for a standard computer desk, adjustable desks and even a standing desk, depending on your needs.
Having the ability to adjust the height of a desk can allow employees to work more efficiently so they’re not always confined to one position. Other desks such as sit-stand desks give employees the choice of sitting or standing for work depending on what they prefer.
Ben Handler, co-founder and CEO of Cohen Handler, told Business Insider that one of his productivity secrets was his standing desk saying “it gets my blood flowing and encourages me to stretch or take a walk away from the desk every now and then. This ensures that I’m more focused when I get back to work.”
A good chair can go a long way
The same goes for chairs.
If you find yourself with muscle and back pain, it’s a sign that your chair isn’t fitting you correctly.
A global study on posture found that the combination of new technologies and new behaviours in work has led to nine new postures that are not being fixed with current seating arrangements.
If you’re finding that employees are guilty of the “strunch” — a stretched-out hunch common when you’re working with laptops — you need to invest in a chair with proper lumbar support for lower back comfort and a chair with arm rests.
An ill-fitted chair can also cause unnecessary pressure on the neck and shoulders and decrease blood flow in the legs.
Lifehacker has put together this excellent guide which shows you the optimum height of your office chair. They recommend adjusting your chair so that your feet are flat on the floor and that your legs are at a 90 degree angle with the top of the seat hitting below your kneecap.
Tablets for work on the go
The rules of the office are changing with many people opting for more flexible work arrangements, either remotely or from home.
Investing in a tablet can mean that productivity is maintained even when people are on the go. Although they’re not equipped with all the functionalities of a computer, they can still be incredibly useful, managing files on Dropbox, holding video conferences on Skype and editing PowerPoint presentations on the way to a meeting.
According to a survey by Dell, tablets were shown to boost productivity in employees by more than 20% in the US and are quickly becoming a “must-have” by companies whether it be in IT, sales and marketing, engineering or human resources.
“How people work is changing – the days of going to a specific place to conduct business are fewer while more employees are on the move and require access to company information outside of the workplace,” said Neil Hand, vice president of Dell’s Tablet Group.
A portable device can further boost productivity when connected with a Bluetooth keyboard for answering emails on the train or editing Excel spreadsheets.
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