Maximizing your office real estate by adding function instead of square footage doesn’t have to mean compromising on your other investment: your employees, their health and productivity. You only need to improve what you’ve got.
Complete renovations and retrofits aren’t necessary. Here are simple ways you can increase productivity and worker happiness, little tweaks to update your office design.
1. Give everyone a view.
Natural light energizes people so maximize the windows. Use plants to soften a view composed of nothing but walls or pavement. Consider indoor landscaping or water/rockscaping. Replace cubicle walls with lower, better-looking acoustic panels that contribute to absorbing and blocking distracting speech among colleagues.
2. Install sound masking.
The only downside of open offices, the source of all its disadvantages, is sheer noise.
VoiceArrest™ sound masking technology adapts to noise levels and stays efficient during quiet and high noise without deafening people. It effectively muffles speech, the most distracting of all noise. Employees can still talk to each other without difficulty, but their dialogue with each other or on the phone won’t carry and distract colleagues.
When distracted, employees can find it difficult to get back on task. Frustration and stress mount up, leading to physical pain and discomfort, and ultimately, an increase in sick leave, and a reflection of this decreased productivity on company bottom lines.
3. Utilize lighter colors in your office design.
Real colors. Professionalism doesn’t mean somber gray and white. Hues of yellow, green, blue and purple lift the spirit and affect worker productivity. Blue and purple is psychologically associated with work and productivity, rest, sophistication, trust and energy, which is why social networks, banks and universities are so often blue or purple.
Yellow stimulates creativity, ideal for businesses and departments centered on ideas, like marketing.
Green is the color of life, relaxing and comforting, especially for the eyes. Employees who work long hours need a lot of plants to refresh their mind, or at least a green-themed office.
EcoPrivacy Acoustic™ panels come in deep and bright tones, easily complementing your office design or company colors and adding energy and mood to an otherwise empty space or flat wall.
4. Give back control.
Employees dislike the lack of ability to control their work environment. Furniture–chairs, desks, partitions– should be easily configured according to each employee’s preferences. Temperature, lighting, noise control– as much as possible, implement changes in these areas so that your employees can use area thermostats and dimmers.
Speech Privacy Systems sound masking doesn’t require input once calibrated to its zones, but still has remote and wall controllers for the use of your employees should they need it.
Another element of control is the ability to “close doors.” In an open office design, this means enabling and respecting employees’ no-interruption signs or schedules.
5. Combine scent with sound.
Speech Privacy Systems sound masking systems can play completely randomized nature sounds, a pleasing background noise to drown the unpleasant ones. In studies, moderate noise have been found to more positively affect worker creativity than complete silence, which is more conducive of sleep and rest than work.
High quality sound masking provides a blanket of “productive noise,” replacing speech and other distracting noises with a pleasant buzz employees associate with working and activity.
Increase the effects with scent. Consider diffusers that send out a subtle hint of energizing woodsy scents like pine, sandalwood or eucalyptus into the air, giving you clear-headed employees, able to make smart decisions as they work.
Calculate the ROI of better speech privacy for your office design here.