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Hybrid work
Facility management

The impact of office layout on productivity: beyond configuration and ergonomics


October 19, 2023


November 16, 2023

Imagine yourself working in a blank room with only white walls, one chair, one table, and no window. It might be OK for a few hours. But only because you know it is just for a short period of time.

Our surroundings affect how we feel and so do our work environments. The impact of office layout on productivity is real. This is what we are going to discuss in this article.

What elements of your office design can either decrease or improve your employees’ performance? Why does the workplace setup have such an influence on focus, efficiency, and creativity? How do you create a work environment that boosts productivity?

From your workspace configuration to the lighting system and the choice of furniture, we will share all of the information you need to know to build a place that makes your team members thrive.

What you need to know about office design and productivity

Office layout is not just about workspace configuration

When thinking about office layouts, one of the first visualizations we have in mind is how the workspace looks in terms of desk configuration. Office designers do much more than just move some chairs and tables, although this is important. 

They analyze the type of workspaces your employees need and consider the impact of environmental elements on people’s moods and health. However, not all companies have the financial means to afford an office designer. 

Yet, creating a work setting that triggers productivity is essential if you want to make your team members thrive and your business grow. The following information in this article gives you key insight to help you do so.

Employees’ expectations regarding office layout have changed

Since 2020, the “working from anywhere” model has enticed many organizations and professionals. This shift has had an impact on employees’ relationship with their workplace and their expectations. People want to find the same comfort and resources in the office as when at home or in a third workplace. 

They can create a work environment at home that enables them to be focused and productive. With a third workplace, they can choose the place that matches their needs. It can be a coworking space next to their house or a calm spot in nature, for example. 

However, on the company’s premises, employees had no influence on the workspace design, layout, and atmosphere. This is changing. Their feedback is gold for organizations that want to foster an employee-centric work environment and boost the productivity of their workforce.

Different employees are productive in different settings

We all have unique personalities and needs. For example, some people are super productive in the morning, while others thrive at night. In your team, you probably have employees who can only focus and get things done when they are alone in a quiet space away from distractions. Contrarily, you also have coworkers who can’t help but procrastinate when they work in a room by themselves and feel an energy boost when surrounded by colleagues. 

Companies that consider this when designing their office layout have a greater chance to trigger productivity. There is no one-size-fits-all solution. But, we will give you the keys to creating the best working setup and atmosphere to enhance productivity among as many employees as possible.

👉 Enable remote teams to increase their productivity at home with these 25 great tips!

Open concept office layout
Open concept office layout

The impact of office layout on productivity explained

Our environments influence how we feel

Remember the first sentence of this article’s introduction. “Imagine yourself working in a blank room with only white walls, one chair, one table, and no window. It might be OK for a few hours because you know it is just for a short period of time.” But trying to work in such a space is challenging for most of us. 

This is because our environment affects our emotions and reactions, which influences our capacity to concentrate and work effectively. We are not only talking about how we feel emotionally and psychologically but also physically. Being at the top of our physical and mental game is crucial to deliver the best performance. The office layout plays a big part in this aspect.

Your office design is a key element of your corporate culture

How you design and build your office space must match what you promote through your company’s culture. If you want to create a people-centric work environment, this needs to be reflected in the design of your workplace. 

For instance, employee well-being has become a major topic for many businesses willing to focus more on their workforce. Considering ergonomic practices in your office layout strategy is a great approach to putting this into action.

Flexible offices answer the needs of a modern workforce

When working from different locations regularly, employees’ expectations of workplace design change. They want to have access to resources they can’t have when working from somewhere else. For example, hybrid teams tend to prioritize group work when they come on-site. Therefore, they expect to have a collaborative space where they can meet with their colleagues. The requirement for individual desks is much lower than it used to be a couple of years ago. 

Adapting your office layout to the needs of your workforce and the new ways of working is essential. It plays a key role in boosting their satisfaction and increasing their productivity. But as we said earlier, there is no one-size-fits-all. You have to determine your employees’ needs and design solutions that make as many people thrive as possible.

A health-focused workspace boosts employee well-being and performance

Working with a headache or chronic back pain can become hell and undoubtedly impact productivity. Implementing ergonomics in your office space plays a key role in creating a work environment that prevents health issues within your team. Many ergonomic elements, like cognitive or environmental ergonomics, can influence your staff’s health. You can check our recent article about ergonomic practices in the workplace to learn valuable insights regarding this topic.

Well-being at work is not just a “nice-to-have”. It is a core element of a work culture that leads  to positive outcomes for workers and organizations. On one hand, promoting wellness in the work environment enhances employee satisfaction and experience. On the other hand, keeping your staff healthy ensures greater productivity and less absenteeism.

🔥 Learn the 10 reasons why hot desking boosts productivity!

Small meeting room setup
Small meeting room setup

The most important elements to create the best office layout for productivity

Flexibility and diversity

If we had to choose two words to describe how to create an office layout that boosts productivity, we would say flexibility and diversity. Flexibility because your work environment must be agile and adapt to modern working styles, which means being more flexible. Diversity is also important because there is no one-size-fits-all solution. Your office must feature various types of workspaces to match your team members’ expectations.

Therefore, when designing your office setup, remember to include your coworkers in the process, ask for feedback, and try to understand their needs. Finding the right balance to satisfy everybody’s requirements can be challenging. Prioritization is key. You must determine what the most essential are and which ones will have the biggest impact on your employees’ experience and productivity.

Environmental factors

Building the best office layout is not just about furniture arrangement. There are various environmental factors that are as crucial to improving well-being and productivity as the chairs your employees are sitting on. This includes focusing on the air quality, temperature, lighting, noise, and colors of your office.

For example, have you heard about color psychology? Our brains react differently to certain colors, some of which significantly impact our productivity. Blue brings calmness while boosting mental abilities. Yellow is good for the mood and enhances creativity. Green is more serene and makes people feel concentrated. You can use colors to improve your office space in multiple ways, like painting your walls, changing your floors, adding plants, and other decoration elements.

The impact of natural elements on the brain

Opting for a biophilic office design when working on your workplace layout is also a smart choice to consider if you want your workforce to thrive. The advantages of bringing the outside in include:

  • greater cognitive abilities;
  • lower stress levels;
  • less noise pollution;
  • healthier air quality;
  • better mental health and well-being.

All these benefits combined contribute to fostering your team members’ productivity and performance. If you have the opportunity to do so, provide your staff with outdoor areas to work. Being surrounded by nature boosts our intellectual capacities. According to the psychological study “The Relative Benefits of Green Versus Lean Office Space: Three Field Experiments”, people exposed to a natural environment are 15% more productive than those evolving in a lean environment.

💡 Discover the “workplace as a hotel” concept and its benefits! 

two women brainstorming
Collaborative office space

Employees’ physical and mental health

If you have the means to go all out to create a  work setup that enhances your employees’ health, we recommend you don't hesitate. Not only does this mean investing in ergonomic furniture and improving the environmental aspects of your office layout, but also providing other resources. 

For example, if you have an extra space that you can dedicate to wellness, this is a great starting point. You can design this room with gym equipment, yoga mats, meditation tools, etc. You can also create a breakout space where people can meet, collaborate, play games, or just relax. Stimulating movement is also crucial. To do so, you should think about a layout encouraging workers to go from one space to another. There are many ways in which your office can boost employees’ physical and mental health and, consequently, their productivity.

The use of office space management technologies

We haven’t talked much about this aspect, but technology is reshuffling our work environments and becoming a key supporter. The idea of designing the best office layout for productivity comes into play in various areas.

Smart office technologies can help you control the air quality, temperature, and lighting of your workspace. Intelligent furniture encourages ergonomic practices. Desk and room booking software ensure hybrid teams have access to the workspace they need when coming on-site.

Now and even more in the upcoming years, technology optimizes workspaces and improves employee experience. Investing in smart tools such as AR/VR technologies, IoT-enabled resources, and integrated communications solutions is essential for increasing the effects of the office layout on productivity. 

Hopefully, you now understand the impact of office layout on productivity and use it to create a thriving work environment for your teams! Do you want to see a visual example of a great application of this concept? Check this Instagram Reel of My Little Paris’s office building. They are a French media and e-commerce company promoting hybrid work and people-centricity, based in Berlin, Tokyo, and… Paris! 🥁 ​The video is in French, but you’ll get an idea of how an office space gathering all the key elements of office design and productivity we mention in this article can look like. 

Are you searching for a user-friendly and efficient solution to manage your hybrid workspace? Start a free trial of the deskbird app and discover how our technology helps you optimize your office space and boost employee experience!

The impact of office layout on productivity: beyond configuration and ergonomics

Paulyne Sombret

Paulyne is a highly respected expert in hybrid work. She's known for her writing on sustainability in the hybrid office, flexible work models, and employee experience. With a strong background in content and SEO, her work explores the exciting trends and latest news in the world of work.

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