We talked previously about how to optimize your workspace, demonstrating how strategy, synergy, and staff all play into the effectiveness of your organization. We alluded to the idea of productivity, and today we want to dive deeper into what it takes to increase your company’s.
We know there are a ton of contributing factors that lead to an unproductive staff. Keep in mind that our arguments aren’t to make every office like a Google playground, but rather to highlight some basic principles you can adopt over time. Of our three opinions, the first may take the most creative thinking to implement.
This is not another open floor plan vs. cubicle debate. Rather, how much wasted space is in your office? Do employees have easy access to the tools they need? Do nursing mothers have a private, dedicated space for pumping?
On one hand, a central printer does lend itself to employee socialization. But on the other hand, how often do your employees need to print? If it’s multiple times per day and the only printer is on the opposite side of the office, think about how much time is wasted simply walking back and forth.
Layout is particularly difficult to modify for manufacturing: you can’t simply build a new break room over night. However, does your office staff have easy access to drinking water? It might sound simple but if the only water cooler is on the opposite side of the plant, consider how many times a person will be making this trip.
We’ve talked about natural vs. artificial lighting before. And we recognize that there will be times when natural light just isn’t possible. As we said in that blog post, sometimes fluorescents are impossible to avoid. We provided some light bulb recommendations to consider, and today we want to highlight why.
Employees are the most important asset you have – period. If they’re uncomfortable or restless due to bad lighting, they’ll get their work done, sure. But their productivity levels will increase if the light of their workspace reflects natural light principles. You may not be able to put in new windows, but you can upgrade the existing lights in your facility.
“I’m just going to work through lunch today.”
“I have five projects due and time to complete three of them. I can’t take a break.”
“There is no way I can fit in a family vacation this year. I simply have too much to get done.”
If your employees have been guilty of saying any of these statements, take a moment to stop and reflect on what is really being said: work is more important than anything else. It’s more important than their mental health, more important than their physical health, and more important than their family.
We are not advocating for a lackadaisical approach to business, and we fully recognize that sometimes sacrifices have to be made to get the job done. But the latter should be the exception, not the rule. Think of it this way: if you can maximize your employee’s time and efficiency, then they won’t feel constantly overloaded.
To increase productivity above all else, adopt the mindset we already stated: employees are the number one asset for any company. Do not allow them to skip out on breaks. This means daily breaks and paid time off. Productivity decreases the longer an employee works on a single project, and breaks are crucial to increased job satisfaction and effectiveness.
Simply put, everyone needs to recharge. Make it a policy that using time off is expected, and encourage people to walk away from their desks every couple of hours. Then, notice how productivity increases and morale improves.
These three ideas – layout, lighting, and breaks – can take an already performing team to a superstar team. Investing in your employees will help create a more efficient workplace. Remember, your team is your best asset. Treat them right, and watch the magic happen.