Almost anyone who runs an office is trying to think of ways to improve productivity without placing excess pressures on workers. If such solutions might also be relatively cheap to implement, so much the better. The challenge, however, is trying to separate the hokum from the hard science. Here are 6 science-backed ways to increase employee productivity that you may wish to consider.
1. Personal Involvement
One of the biggest issues when looking at ways to improve productivity in the workplace is the perception that employees lack ownership of what’s going on at a business. Companies have countered this in a variety of ways. For example, Google in 2004 implemented a policy encouraging workers to use 20% of their work time to focus on projects of personal value to them. Not only does this sort of system create the sense of increased ownership of a company’s production, but it can also promote out-of-the-box solutions as team members generate and work on ideas that might otherwise never see the light of day during staff meetings.
Other solutions worth considering may include stock ownership plans, collective bargain agreements and employee representation. By giving workers a voice, a company can goose productivity and create stronger relationships.
Creating a sense that a room or a building is scenic allows workers to relax. Not every location, though, necessarily has a huge windows installed and is overlooking a waterfall or a lush forest. Office operators can, however, use lighting choices, greenery and artwork to foster a sense of that a location is scenic even if the surrounding locale leaves something to be desired.
If it’s at all possible to open up the view in an office, do so. The human eye, especially when involved in jobs that require time in front of a computer, can benefit from being able to refocus from time to time on objects far away. Simply having anything off in the distance to focus on may produce a sense of relaxation. It’s also beneficial to be able to see other people and even buildings, as this can promote a perception of safety.
3. Color Choices
Some offices are simply located in too terrible of spots for scenery to be a viable solution. One approach to addressing this problem is to choose colors that promote relaxation. Imaginably, the list of color options that serve this need dovetails nicely with the thesis that making a room scenic is beneficial. Soft blues and greens that remind people of the sky and the ground may sooth their temperaments and help them focus on work.
Color choices don’t have to be limited to painting the walls, either. If you’re looking to add some green to a room, the simplest way to approach that goal may be to add some indoor landscaping or even just a few potted plants.
4. Natural Light
Adding natural light to space doesn’t just promote well being. It also creates a safer environment by allowing people to see obstacles and distinguish hazards more readily. Productivity is also encouraged by way of improved color recognition. If, for example, you’re working with a team of artists, it may be wise to add natural light to the setting in order to see that their talents aren’t going to waste.
Modern technologies also make it more possible than ever before to push lighting into an indoor space. Using fiber optics, contractors can configure systems that transmit natural light more than 50 feet within a building.
5. Healthy Snacks
Almost every office worker finds it difficult to remain focused on tasks in the afternoon. Many seek solutions to beat this afternoon sluggish by consuming sugary foods with a cup of latte. Only to find out that these solutions are leading to a bigger sugar crash. The focus will be on and off, leading to a poorer performance in your staff.
The solution to this is to offer your staff members nothing but unsweetened beverages (or use stevia as an alternative).
However, a study shows that the key to happiness and productivity in the workplace is to provide free snacks. So, to keep your staff sane throughout the day, try stocking the break room with a bunch of healthier choices like whole grains, nuts, string cheese, Greek yogurt, or baked veggies. This leads to better productivity and, overall, a healthier staff.
6. Clean & Organized
It’s easy to recognize the potential health and safety benefits that can accrue from keeping an office clean. A large majority of people perceive a clean office space as a productive one. The simple act of maintaining a space regularly changes attitudes, as demonstrated in a more extreme example by the so-called broken windows theory, which states that people will act more antisocially toward locations that aren’t being kept up properly. It’s not a huge leap to think that a worker who sees an office not being regularly cleaned will perceive that no one really cares, and that fact can lead to a major drop in productivity. Performing a little cleaning at the workstation is one of the easiest ways to improve office productivity
7. More Breaks, and Even Naps
The tendency of workers to plow through their jobs can lead to an immense drag on productivity. Unfortunately, the human body ebbs and flows with energy throughout the day. One approach to this problem is to take a break about every 1.5 hours. By allowing workers to decompress and walk away from issues on a regular basis, a company can foster productivity by keeping minds and bodies fresh.
You can, however, take this one step further. Encouraging workers to sneak in a nap of 26 minutes during the business day has been shown in a NASA study to improve performance up to 34%. You may even wish to encourage naps as long as 90 minutes.
Boosting productivity in an office environment doesn’t necessarily call for bringing in a commercial remodeling crew to rebuild the entire space. Minor modifications to practices and the physical environment have been shown to go a long way toward making a team happier and able to do more. The next time you have a moment to ask what are some ways to increase productivity, you may want to consider something as simple as opening a window blind, adding a few plants or just taking a few more breaks.
Guest Contributor, Gigi Wara -Gigi is a creative introvert, inspired writer and digital marketer based in Thailand. With her background in Management, she has been writing about small business, startups, and Digi-career improvement since 2012. Connect to Gigi via Twitter here.