7 Ways Your Office Space Can Improve Productivity

2018-11-08T15:01:49+00:00August 6th, 2014|Productivity|

Today, people are under pressure from the size of their workloads to the amount of information they handle, said Beatriz Arantes, senior researcher at Steelcase, Turnstone’s parent company. Add to that, the number, variety and location of people worked with and the demand to be “on” most of the time, and you’ve got a pressure cooker. Employees average nearly 6 hours a day sitting at their office desks, according to Work & Health Research Centre, Loughborough University. Workplace stress costs businesses $300 billion per year in absenteeism, turnover, diminished productivity, and medical, legal and insurance costs.

You don’t have to break the bank to improve your work environment. Having a positive state of mind helps employees do their best work, Arantes said. Small changes can make big differences in productivity and positivity, said Liz Wilkes, CEO at Exubrancy, which provides wellness programs for corporations.

Here are seven ways to improve productivity in the office:

Open office space with large windows as man and woman work at Bivi Table for Two workspace.Connect Bivi Tables for Two and create a group workspace that supports both individual and collaborative work. Also pictured, Bivi Depot provides storage for employees to keep their personal belongings tucked away.

1. Let there be light

The importance of catching some rays cannot be overstated, said Wilkes. She cited research report after research report.

  • Natural light significantly increases energy, creativity, and productivity, according to research by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory. Workers exposed to natural lighting stayed on-task for 15% longer than their sun-deprived counterparts.
  • People who aren’t exposed to direct sunlight lose an average of 46 minutes of sleep at night, according to research by Northwestern University in Chicago. You don’t need to be Arianna Huffington to know the importance of a good night’s sleep and the consequences if you don’t get it.

If your desk doesn’t have a direct window view, make sure to take a walk during the day. You can also invest in a lamp that imitates natural light, suggest Wilkes. These lamps reduce seasonal depression, reduce fatigue, and improve moods, research finds.

Blue Bivi Tackable Screen attached to Bivi table creates privacy among workspaces for focused workEstablish privacy between workstations and minimize distractions with Bivi Tackable Screens allowing employees to decorate the screen with personal notes and pictures.

2. A stitch in time saves nine

An ergonomic workspace design can reduce physical problems such as carpal tunnel syndromes, back aches and neck pain, said Wilkes. Some ergonomic best practices from the Mayo Clinic:

  • Center your body in front of your monitor and keyboard. Sit up straight, keeping your thighs horizontal with your knees and at about the same level as your hips. Keep your forearms level or tilted up slightly.
  • Adjust the height of your office chair so that your feet rest comfortably on the floor and your knees are about level with your hips. If your chair doesn’t offer lumbar support, place a cushion between the curve in your lower back and the back of the chair.
  • If you frequently talk on the phone and type or write at the same time, use a headset rather than cradling the phone between your head and neck. Experiment with various styles until you find the headset that works best for you.
  • Use a wrist rest to minimize stress on your wrists and prevent awkward wrist positions. While typing, hold your hands and wrists above the wrist rest. During typing breaks, rest the heels or palms of your hands — not your wrists — on the wrist rest.
  • Place your monitor directly in front of you, about an arm’s length—generally 18 to 28 inches—away. The top of the screen should be slightly below eye level.


Woman reading in open lounge space across from Bassline's Standard Table and Bivi Rumble SeatDesign a modern lounge space in your office. Bivi Rumble Seats offer soft and comfortable lounge seating while Bassline Standard Tables add an elegant place for decor to rest.

3. Use color to set the tone

Color matters. Choose the colors for your office wisely, said Wilkes. She cited highly-regarded color psychologist Angela Wright for these pointers:

  • blue stimulates clear thought
  • yellow boosts creativity and lifts spirits
  • red physiologically affects the body and elevates one’s pulse
  • green creates a sense of calming balance
  • saturated, bright colors stimulate
  • softer, muted colors relax and soothe

If you can’t control the color of your office, choose accents such as office accessories or art in colors that create the work environment you want, said Wilkes.

Woman takes a break from work in blue patterned Campfire Big Lounge to read a magazineLounge spaces are the perfect solution for employees to unwind from a busy day. Bring comfort and style with Campfire Big Lounge which attaches to Campfire Wedge creating an instant armrest for additional support. Simple Lounge Tables can also be added as a work surface.

4. Bring a little nature into your office

Plants aid concentration, increase productivity, and boost staff wellbeing by 47% at work, research by Scientists at the University of Exeter found.

Plants are so effective at removing contaminants that NASA will include them in future space stations. Invest in a potted plant, recommends Wilkes.

Open office space overlooking the city with lounge sofa and table in between dual workspace desksLet creative work unfold when you blend various types of spaces. Bivi Dual Height Desks support seated and standing postures for individual work while Bivi Rumble Seat and Bassline Custom Tables create a simple lounge area for employees to take a short break.

5. Take the chill off

Before you lower the thermostat to save money on your energy bill, know that warmer temperatures can increase productivity. When the temperature increased from 68 to 77 degrees, typing errors fell by 44% and typing output jumped 150%, according to research conducted by Cornell University. “If you don’t have any say in the temperature of your office, make sure you have a sweater stashed away for colder days,” advises Wilkes.

Man reads in lounge chair in front of blue privacy screen with modern sofa and pouf for additional seating Create a casual space with freestanding Clipper Screens for privacy and Campfire Poufs for stylish comfort. Also pictured, Bivi Rumble Seat and Campfire Skate Table used together to create an informal workstation.

6. Find a quiet zone

Nearly 70% of all offices in the U.S. are open-plan workspaces, according to the International Management Facility Association. Open layouts encourage interaction among team members, but can also be distracting to some. If you fall into this category, find a lounge area, an empty conference room, or another space that has no distractions, recommends Wilkes.

7. Use scent to increase performance

Scent is our strongest sense, yet we take it for granted as a method for boosting productivity, said Wilkes. Typists made fewer errors when exposed to various scents, according to research by Takasago Corporation: lemon scent produced 54% fewer mistakes, jasmine 33% and lavender 20%.

Create a quick DIY air freshener by mixing water and a few drops of essential oil in a spray bottle and mist around your workspace, suggests Wilkes.

Ready to upgrade your unique workspace into a more productive and positive environment? Schedule a call with one of our design experts today.