The right work environment offers more than just desk space; it can actually boost productivity, says Despina Katsikakis, an expert on how design impacts business performance.
“The majority of office design focuses on reducing the cost of the space rather than on inspiring people to do better work,” she says. But a shift is underway, as the office becomes a place not just for working but also learning, playing and connecting with others.
Katsikakis’s latest project, the giant skyscraper currently under construction at 22 Bishopsgate in the City of London, aims to address this on a huge scale, using design to encourage a sense of community among its 12,000 workers. Here are her tips on boosting office productivity.
Create more spaces
A well-designed office needs to include different spaces for different tasks, says Katsikakis. Most important are areas where employees can get away from it all and really focus. Having a variety of spaces also encourages people to get up from their desks and move around, which is healthier than staying in one place.
Sort out the air conditioning
It’s easy to underestimate just how significant an office’s air quality is, says Katsikakis. “In one test in the US, they doubled the capacity of the ventilation, which cost around £15 to £30 per occupant per year, and the impact on productivity was over £5,000 per employee per year,” she says.
Embrace nature (and dogs)
A view of the outdoors - or even just photographs of nature - can make a big difference to our state of mind. Pets, too, can be effective stress-busters: “If you’re playing with a dog, you’re disrupting your focus on what you’re doing, and it can actually improve your ability to think innovatively.”
Create a sense of community
In bigger offices, fostering community could mean creating places where people can come together, whether that’s to eat, work or play. In smaller offices, it might mean offering art or language classes after work. “It’s a bit like the old-fashioned idea of going to the pub,” says Katsikakis. “But with more knowledge exchange attached to it.”
Source: Wired UK
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