THE BLOG
07/28/2016 08:09 pm ET Updated Jul 29, 2017

7 Design Choices to Improve Your Workplace Productivity

One of the most important functions of an office is to keep your team members working together in close proximity, theoretically improving morale and teambuilding by keeping your workers face-to-face, and improving communication and focus so your workers can get more done. If you create an office environment that your employees love, they'll thrive, helping you achieve more of your goals and sticking with your brand longer.

You can increase productivity and morale by selecting the right candidates, building a more cohesive brand and providing incentives for jobs well done, but don't underestimate the impact the design of your workplace can have on these factors.

Design Choices for Better Productivity

These are some of the ways your design choices can measurably improve the productivity or morale of your office--or even both:

1. Include more natural elements

Many modern office designs have a certain sterility about them, with flat coloration and almost annoyingly perfect shapes and structures. If you want a more down-to-earth, organic feel, you should include more natural elements in your office landscape. For example, wood finishes can give your interior space a much cozier, naturalistic feel. Though personal preferences may vary here, this natural approach can have a drastic impact on the overall productivity of your office.

2. Introduce more plants and greenery

Speaking of including natural elements, try to include plants and greenery in your office if you can. Even if you only have a handful of potted plants around the office, the difference it can make to your environment is extraordinary. The additional colors make your space feel more alive, and depending on what plants you choose, they may be able to serve as natural air filters, improving the atmosphere of your office. These aren't particularly expensive or intrusive, so you have no reason not to adopt a few of them.

3. Seek an open office design

Not all people work the same way, but there's some evidence to suggest that more communication and collaboration happen in open-designed offices. Traditional designs keep people isolated from each other in an effort to improve focus and individual dedication. However, these can also be, for lack of a better phrase, soul-crushing. Try tearing down the walls and opening up your office space to more internal communication. Your team will thank you for it.

4. Offer multiple desk options

Again, not everyone works the same way, so the more options you can give your team the better. If you can, offer both standing desks and sitting desks, and offer desks of different styles, sizes, and positions throughout your office. This is a tough matter to solve democratically in some cases, but encourage your employees to choose the desks they feel are best for their respective work styles and preferences. You'll notice a big difference in their performances.

5. Showcase art on the walls

When you're staring at a screen for hours at a time, your eyes (and brain) need a break. One of the best ways to provide this break is to showcase pieces of art on the walls. These don't have to be about any particular theme; in fact, abstract art is often the best choice here because it allows the mind to wander. Art is a perfect tool to help your employees' brains decompress, fostering greater creativity and critical thinking that they can use to tackle their next projects.

6. Have interactive and fun features

It's boring and tedious to come into the same tired office every day. In turn, this lowers morale, and eventually, your employees don't work as hard. Fortunately, you can fight back against this by providing more interactive features throughout your workplace, such as boards where employees can express themselves or interact with things others have posted or said, or games employees can play with each other, like billiards or ping pong.

7. Create a break room that's actually relaxing

Breaks are essential for maintaining productivity, but too many offices skimp on their break rooms, turning them into uncomfortable, lifeless pit stops for employees to fetch more coffee or microwave a meal. Instead, liven up your break room with interesting features, things to do, and mediums that encourage social interaction. This is a place where your employees should feel comfortable getting away from work; do this effectively, and they'll return to work even more productive (not to mention happier).

Making the Transition

If you've been in your current office for many years, or if the changes on this list seem strange or foreign to you, you may be reluctant to give your office a full makeover. After all, there's no guarantee that these tactics will work for your business and your employees specifically. However, if you want to see a change and gradually improve your cumulative productivity, it's important to make changes when you can. Take things one step at a time, making small adjustments before renovating the entire office space. Even small differences can make an impact to your workers.