HR & Management

Three tips on creating a productive working space

5 min read

17 March 2016

Creating a comfortable, efficient and attractive work space is essential to getting the best out of employees – so here's how to set one up in three steps.

One study indicated that office landscaping influences workers’ quality of life and productivity levels by up to 15 per cent. But when planning an office space, various factors need to be taken into consideration; the availability of technology around the office, the quality of equipment, as well as the visual design and structure of the space.

Any business looking to improve workplace productivity should take the following steps:

(1) Make sure the office space is visually interesting

An IAC survey revealed that 93.8 per cent of respondents felt that art and plants made their workplace more welcoming, while 60.8 per cent believed it made staff more creative. However, it’s not just traditional artwork that’s important. It has also been suggested that new office architecture, with open space formats, large windows and less wall space than the traditional cubicle office, will increase the demand for more mobile art, such as video and new media. 

In a more collaborative space, technologies like projection become increasingly important, offering opportunities for flexible, cost-effective and customisable art, including giving staff the chance to exhibit their own photography or video projects.

Research indicates that visually stimulating environments not only make office life more enriching for employees, but can actually influence buying behaviour, whether it’s shoppers or potential business clients. Store designer, Ko Floor, argued in a 2010 book that consumers are sensation-seekers who enjoy being inspired by experiential shopping experiences.

Clearly, businesses which provide a visually stimulating working environment can reap rewards in terms of productivity and business success.

(2) Employees shouldn’t run a marathon to access technology

An important aspect of office landscaping is ensuring that technology is accessible. If workplace technology is based on centralised models, employees can waste time by simply travelling to and from the device and queuing. One example of this phenomenon is centralised printing systems, which have a bigger impact on draining employee time than you might expect.

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Recent research conducted by Epson revealed that employees are running two marathons to and from their office printers every year. European employees spend on average five minutes every day travelling to a printer, resulting in 18 wasted hours a year! 

These secret office athletes need to be transformed into productivity machines, and the best way to do this is by installing a distributed printer fleet around the office, which not only reduces time wasted on collecting print-outs but also adds to resilience in the event of any one machine failing for one reason or another.

(3) Equip the workplace with collaborative technology

Some 91 per cent of employees claim they lose concentration during meetings. Fortunately, businesses can address the daydreaming issue by making sure the working environment is fitted with collaborative technologies, such as cloud networks, interactive projectors and video conferencing systems, which enhance productivity levels by keeping employees engaged in a central task.

Modern employees want to be connected, and don’t always deem it necessary to come into the office. That’s why interactive projection is so important – colleagues have the ability to walk into a meeting room equipped with this technology and start writing directly onto a projected image using their finger or a dedicated pen; sharing the changing image immediately with colleagues in other locations. These devices can switch seamlessly between input sources – allowing shared, wireless display from smartphones, tablets, USBs, the internet and laptops – as well as connecting to devices across the company network.

Today’s business environment calls for increased collaboration and knowledge sharing, in order to drive creativity and efficiency for companies looking to maintain that innovative edge. Modern work spaces, therefore, must channel the idea of the connected employee.

Productive working spaces rely on a mix of thoughtful landscaping, seamless accessibility and embracing the latest in collaborative technology in order to foster purposeful interaction between employees.

From learning how to draw toast, becoming something akin to the Hulk, working less and watching cat videos more, here are some of the most controversial methods to increasing productivity.

Rob Clark is managing director for UK and Ireland, Epson Europe.