There are countless articles, books, and blogs devoted to improving productivity, but very few of these resources include an in-depth discussion of environmental psychology. It turns out that the space a person is working in can have a drastic impact on how much work they get done, and how they feel about the work that they’re doing.
The following will take a look at some of the latest discoveries in environmental psychology research with an emphasis on adjustments that can be made in the workplace to improve productivity. Many of the below points also have additional benefits listed. This might be helpful if you find yourself pitching some of these changes to a manager or board member.
Include Some Plants In The Office
At first, this idea sounds silly, but once you do a little research you’ll begin to see the wonders that plants can provide. Not only will the office look fresher and more alive, but your staff will experience an improved mood, increased creativity, lower levels of stress and anxiety, and reduced allergy symptoms. Beyond this, plants have been shown to remove toxins from the air and provide oxygen which helps with focus and concentration. All of these factors combine together and result in greater productivity among employees and managers alike. That’s a lot of benefits for one small change.
Consider Non-Traditional Desks And Seating
Study after study has proven that sitting all day is bad for your health. It’s been all over the news and the internet—your employees know this. They know that their job is shortening their lives. This is a big mental hurdle to get over each day. Besides this, experts at Desky.com.au explain that alternatives like standing desks increase productivity. Try out some furnishings supported by science and see how much more your employees can get done in a day.
Think About Your Lighting Choices
Believe it or not, the lighting in a room can have a major effect on the people within it—their mood, concentration, and productivity. Natural lighting in particular has a huge effect on people. It increases vitamin D levels, supports circadian rhythms, improves mood, allows eyesight to perform better, and increases productivity. Take advantage of the natural light that windows offer by keeping blinds or curtains open. Maximize natural lighting by placing mirrors opposite windows so that the light is refracted, resulting in the feeling of double the natural lighting.
It is also worth thinking about the lightbulbs in your office. Bright white lights can feel harsh on the eyes and result in the feeling of tiredness. Lights that are too warm and glowy can let people relax a little too much (into a sleepy state). You want to find a nice balance somewhere in the middle—a cheery yellow. As a bonus, you can also be making the switch to energy-efficient bulbs during this transition, which could end up saving you money on utilities.
Learn About Colour Theory
It turns out that the prominent colors in an environment have a profound effect on the human psyche. Each color emphasizes and brings out different moods in your employees. It might only take a little coat of paint (or two, depending on what color you’re starting with) to change the feeling of everyone at the office. Depending on the specific mood that would suit your workplace (creative, aggressive, calm, motivated…etc) you can choose a new color that will bolster the team’s energy levels while also increasing productivity. Take some time to read about each of the effects that different colors offer before you make your choice.
With the above tips kept in mind, you’re well on your way to making a few small adjustments that will have a big impact on employee satisfaction and productivity. As you can see, the workplace environment plays a critical role in employee health, sanity, comfort, contentment, and productivity. Especially with the chaotic nature of 2020, employees need support when and where they can get it. The office environment is a fantastic place to start.
Of course, as with all things related to employee well-being you should always be making time for employees to review the current methods and practices and make suggestions they think would improve things. One of the fastest ways to improve productivity in the workplace is to improve employee satisfaction. Take the time to get to know what is unnecessarily difficult about your employees’ work and see if there are simple solutions to these common problems. Sometimes a little tweak can make a big difference in an employee’s life.