How to create a good physical office environment

There’s no doubt that companies should give a lot of consideration to building great company cultures. That doesn’t mean, however, they should ignore the more obvious, tangible factors. Physical environment can have a huge effect on employee productivity, workplace behaviour and job satisfaction.

Of course, a professional environment is about more than just a place to put your computer. It’s everything from practical things like where the printer is located and how close the nearest coffee is, to things that are less noticeable such as lighting or airflow.

If you’re thinking about a new office for your company or looking at creating an office in your home, read on to learn more about the power of your work surroundings.

Office Configuration

The ideal office layout should be conducive to productivity and transparency, encouraging face-to-face communication and a higher level of staff mobility. This will boost the enthusiasm and happiness of your employees. Collaborative work spaces, especially in creative industries, allow professionals to choose how and where they want to work – including remotely.

Be careful when you consider arranging your desk configuration. Too much interaction is distracting, reduces attention span and can stunt creativity. Best practice is to strike the perfect balance between each end of the spectrum; the cubicle era and completely open plan. Cluster your teams and provide standalone collaborative rooms for discussion.

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Lighting and Colour

The best lighting will be completely undetectable for your employees – don’t leave them in the dark or trying to squint past the drop light. Natural lighting is particularly important and argued by many to have a strong correlation to employee efficiency. Find the right balance between task lighting and natural light to provide an alternative that suits your early risers and late-stayers.

Choosing your lighting isn’t the only component to be concerned with. Colour is also essential when it comes to creating a positive momentum and workplace efficiency. A restful green or calming blue are ideal shades to implement into your office space, with the potential to significantly improve individual focus. If a feature wall is too big a call, considering introducing fresh accents such as indoor plants to turn the mood around.

Technology

Multiple screens have been shown to increase productivity by up to 50%, in particular, if your employees deal with menial tasks or detail-oriented work, such as data reporting. When studies show that the average person can spend up to 4.3 hours per week searching for lost papers, it isn’t hard to imagine the positive impact of technology on efficiency.

For remote workers, this means treating your custom home office like a serious working space, not a backroom to store last year’s Christmas decorations. If this is a long-term solution, consider investing in a second screen and large desktop computer to support your work. For the ultra-busy freelancer, there are also many benefits to owning a second phone for work. This keeps your personal and professional life separate and reduces distractions.

Environment with Fresh Air and Space

A well-ventilated workplace is more comfortable and much healthier for your employees. This will not only transform job satisfaction and productivity but can reduce the number of staff turnovers in the long run.

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The physical and mental well-being of your staff should always be the first priority for any business. While all of your employees will want access to fresh air, that doesn’t mean they’ll appreciate sharing one large open space. It may seem that professionals are more productive when their working habits are put in the open, but privacy can actually be the gateway to success. Intense scrutiny will make most of us feel uneasy and pressured, a healthy balance is always best.

Does your company have an awesome culture, an office environment to die for, and a story worth sharing? JobAdvisor is on the hunt for Australia’s Coolest Companies, with even more categories this year. If you think your company is the Coolest in Tech, Finance, for Diversity and/or for SMBs make sure you enter to get the recognition it deserves! Entries close Oct 21.

About our guest author: As Managing Director of Mazzei Homes, a leading custom home builder Melbourne wide, Daniel Mazzei has a strong ambition to innovate the building and design experience for those looking to create quality homes and spaces.

Emma Hart

Emma coordinates and creates content for Search Party and JobAdvisor's marketing activities. Originally from the UK, Emma studied Marketing Management in Newcastle and has a real passion for researching new trends and discovering exciting developments to share with the world. She is now an adopted Aussie, working in Search Party's Sydney office.

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