It turns out that workspace design can have a major impact on office productivity. While you may assume that the combined attributes and work schedules of the employees decide the output, the office design has an important contribution as well. Offices that have silos and dark lighting tend to favor individual work. Open spaces, no walls, and bright lighting inspire more interaction and sharing. That leads to better ideas, creativity, and productivity. Furniture is also a crucial component of shifting the office dynamic. For that reason, all of these workspace design features are important to consider.

Consider the movement of employees from one floor to the next. Typically, they would use elevators or perhaps the fire escape stairs. However, for buildings where an open staircase between floors is possible, this is highly preferred. Employees can see each other coming and going. They can stop them to ask for suggestions and guidance. They can shout at them to get their attention for an emergency. This allows much greater spontaneous communication that hopefully leads to positive results.

Another important innovation is transparent doors and windows for office space. These allow co-workers to see when a colleague is available or when they are on the phone or in a meeting. Of course, a manager wants to see if an employee is actually working and not wasting time. That alone increases productivity. Additionally, co-workers that are available will allow for more spontaneous meetings. That results in better interaction and an improved final product or service.

Perhaps the most important design choice is the type and placement of seating. Chairs, couches, benches and relaxation cushions should be placed strategically to create an open, inviting atmosphere. They need to invite plenty of interaction and create a welcoming environment for guests. More importantly, the actual desk chairs must be superb. They have to be comfortable enough that workers have no problem remaining in them for hours at a time doing work. At the same time, they have to be easy to get out of so that people feel free to move about and share ideas.

Tangram Studio is a leading office design firm. For more information, please contact us.