6 Characteristics of a Healthy and Productive Work Environment
When talking about productivity, never underestimate the importance of your work environment. From the chair you’re sitting on to the culture in the area, everything can influence your productivity and make the difference between you spending the day distracted and you working faster than you ever have. Take a look at these 6 characteristics to help determine whether your workspace is helping boost your productivity or slowing you down.
1. Comfortable yet professional atmosphere
More and more companies are adopting a flat company structure; this gives each employee higher responsibility. When employees and members of an organisation see that they are contributing, they are likely to find more meaning in their jobs and have higher overall job satisfaction. This is a key factor to boost employee productivity which can directly or indirectly impact company success.
Because of this, the work atmosphere that best supports employee productivity in a flat organisation structure is one where the floor plan is open and there are varied furnishings. There are couches and bean bags for those who want to relax, while there are office desks and conference rooms for those needing more structured workspaces. This is a good in-between for comfortable and professional; on the one hand, you can slouch at work and even walk around wherever you want, on the other hand, there are enough spaces where you can hold professional meetings with anyone in your organisation.
2. Easy communication channels with enough room for privacy
A workspace that encourages productivity gives you room to communicate while also giving you privacy when you need it. There should be spaces dedicated for collaborative work like work areas with open floor plans, and there should be spaces solely for the use of small teams or individuals who need the peace and quiet to sit down and get things done. Open floor plans are great for spotting people you need to reach and approaching them becomes easier than having to send emails, waiting on responses, and scheduling an appointment.
Meanwhile, private rooms or little cubicles help promote privacy and enhance focus and concentration when you’re chasing a deadline or in need of great concentration. Having this option is beneficial for workers because different tasks require different environments and having one without the other can slow one’s work down when you need a sudden shift. Not to mention, some workers thrive in public spaces while others thrive in privacy. Co sharing a workspace allows both kinds of workers to thrive while still having an option to go out of their comfort zone.
3. Functional, aesthetic, and healthy surroundings
Having tons of barriers in an office and clutter everywhere is only going to build proverbial walls and increase stress, both of which decreases productivity. This is why workspaces should only have furnishings and items that are not only aesthetically pleasing but also functional. Any clutter and other unnecessary items should be disposed of or put in a storeroom.
This helps encourage workers to use said furnishings and items which should, in turn, boost their productivity. Also, given the pandemic, it’s important that furnishings and items in a coworking workspace are not only functional and pleasing to the eye, they also abide by strict health standards to safeguard all workers against potential contamination and health risks. This means that furnishings and items should be routinely sanitised and there are shields in place to help protect surfaces from unwanted contaminants.
4. A positive, dynamic, and collaborative atmosphere
More than the physical space, the atmosphere in a workspace matters even more because no matter how beautifully designed an area is and no matter how comfortable furnishings are, if the people using it are not positive and do not encourage collaboration, then the atmosphere will be tense, people will be stressed, and productivity will decrease.
One of the best ways to encourage a positive and dynamic atmosphere is to hold events or functions where people who share the same workspace get to interact and potentially collaborate. This is what coworking spaces offer; more than giving workers a place to get things done, they lend workers a network of people usually from the same industry, who are of the same interests and are likely to help you or work with you.
5. With opportunities for growth
A workspace will not encourage productivity if it did not encourage growth. After all, one of the biggest motivators for people to excel is the opportunity for growth, either in the form of knowledge gained or recognition given. As such, it is vital that a workspace has opportunities for training and development; coworking spaces offer mentorship and workshops for this very reason.
It’s also important to keep people motivated by recognising the hard work they have done; for this reason, many organisations have monthly meetings where they recognise individual and group accomplishments or they have bulletin boards that list small accomplishments by individuals in order to give them some recognition.
6. Fosters work-life balance
One of the most under looked yet vital factors to productivity is work-life balance. The brightest candles burn the fastest and those who do not rest and only work nonstop are bound to find their productivity dwindling after some time due to fatigue or burnout. Hence a great workspace should be one that has facilities for relaxation.
This can be as simple as a cafe with menus that have a wide enough selection to cater to people’s various taste buds and caffeine preferences. This can also come in the form of partnerships with gyms, an opportunity for outdoor activities, and relaxation and game corners where workers can drop by to unwind after a day’s hard work or during breaks.