3 workplace tweaks to help staff be more productive

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As your employees clock up long hours at work, it makes sense that their daily surroundings and atmosphere impact on wellbeing, performance and ultimately productivity.

Read our three simple actions on making your office somewhere that inspires them to create their best work.

Productivity tweak: Provide some silence

Ever struggled to concentrate on reading or writing tasks while someone is talking nearby? You’re not alone.

Open plan offices are great for collaboration and communication, but not so positive for focus. In these types of workspaces productivity can nosedive up to 66%.

If you have room, give employees a silent space for when they need quiet time to read, think or finish off a piece of work. Even an extra conference room decked out with signs encouraging quiet could make a huge difference.

Productivity tweak: Bring plant life into the office

Indoor plants definitely make office spaces look nicer, but do they really have an effect on productivity?

According to real-life research by the University of Exeter, employees who spend their days in workplaces that contain plants are happier and more productive than if they toil away in minimalist offices.

In the research, employees surrounded by greenery said they felt more satisfied, had improved concentration and thought air quality was better.

The study did involve introducing £10,000 worth of plants into offices, which at HR GO we know is out of reach for most of the clients we recruit for. But it does show that surroundings count - researchers discovered that the difference in productivity was up to 15%.

Productivity tweak: Sort the thermostat

Finding the optimum temperature can be tricky in a workplace - especially as it’s a topic about which people have a personal preference. In fact according to one survey, feelings run so high that nearly half of office workers have fallen out with colleagues about the level of air conditioning or heating.

But it’s vital to get this right. Being physically comfortable is crucial for concentration, with someone’s professional efficiency plummeting by up to 15% if they’re too hot or too cold. And one study of typists found that cold workers made more mistakes, while a warmer office - set at 25°C - meant increased productivity.

Remember, too, that women have a lower metabolic rate than men, meaning that while men might find cooler temperatures comfortable women may feel they’re too cold.

If air con wars are an issue in your workplace, it’s worth running a survey of what people think is the best temperature.

It is impossible to please everyone - particularly if desks are in direct sunlight - but aim to check in with teams to get a consensus on how they feel. 

Smart businesses love feedback

In fact, why limit the feedback process to the office thermostat? The best way to find out how your teams believe they’d work best is to ask them.

Is the office somewhere they enjoy working? What changes would make it somewhere more comfortable - and productive - for them?

Regularly seeking opinions - and then taking tangible actions where you can - is a fantastic way to show you value what your employees think. And if you can put an end to thermostat wars at the same time, all the better…

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