If you want to be more productive, where you work might matter just as much as how you work.
That’s the topic of a new guide from Industrious, Optimizing Productivity Through Workplace Design, which explores the relationship between design and productivity. A smartly laid out workplace can create a more positive experience for employees, foster collaboration, and support company culture — resulting in a more productive business. In fact, nearly all (89 percent) of U.S. workers agree that having a well-designed workplace leads to better individual and organizational performance, according to the Gensler + Design Performance Index.
Just think about your own personal experience. Do you get more done when working in a space that’s dark or one that’s filled with light? On the couch or in an office chair? When there’s plenty of chatter or when you’re alone?
In some of these scenarios, the answer might depend on the kind of work you’re doing at the moment. If you need to concentrate, people can be a distraction. But if you’re brainstorming, unexpected encounters, noises, and sights can help spark new ideas. Similarly, a more casual setting might help teammates get to know each other better while sitting in straight back chairs might unconsciously encourage everyone to keep things professional during a client meeting.
That doesn’t mean that anything goes. Office plants have been shown to increase productivity by as much as 15 percent, while other studies suggest that natural light is not only more energizing than artificial light but also that it can reduce eyestrain (51 percent), headaches (63 percent), and drowsiness (56 percent) in more than half of office workers.
For many, the most productive workplace is one filled with purpose-built spaces, each designed to optimize different kinds of work modes — such as a private office for heads down work, conference rooms for formal meetings, lounges for brainstorms, phone booths for calls, and common areas to facilitate networking or more relaxed team building. That way, employees always have the right space for the job on hand.