Staples Business Advantage

Maximising productivity: an employer’s guide

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In a day and age where more and more people are telecommuting in organisations that require an actual physical attendance from their staff, it’s increasingly important to keep motivation levels as high as possible. With numerous distractions on and offline flying at employees from all angles, it’s the job of the management team to provide a work environment that’s conducive to productivity, as well as a comfortable place for the staff to spend their eight or so hours treading the carpet. Fostering this kind of atmosphere and making the employees actually want to ‘work from work’ can be more than a pipedream, and here are five top tips to help make it so...

Comfort
As they’ll be seated for upwards of eight hours per day, it pays dividends to ensure your team has an ergonomically correct chair, and a comfortable seat with adjustable height and armrests is critical. When typing away at the computer, arms should be at a 90-degree angle with feet flat on the floor. Straining and stretching only serves to increase the stress load on your back and shoulders which naturally impacts productivity, as does the temperature of an office. It’s surprising, however, just how much of a difference a couple of degrees can make. Yes, there are a whole host of factors that can impact the way a person feels in an office, such as: season, clothing, weight, age, climate, latitude – the list goes on! But as well as the prerequisite water cooler, a modern air-conditioning or heating system is an absolute must in order for your team to focus on the tasks they need to perform.

Lighting & Colours
Fatigue: the Joker to the Batman of productivity. Natural light is known to ramp up office productivity no end and your environment will be transformed from a dungeon-like stupor into a flurry of activity with an abundance of light. If you’re located in an older building, it may well be wise to replace your old-school antiquated fluorescent lights with full-spectrum tubes, emitting a natural balance of light, the next best thing to sunshine itself! Those historians amongst you will know that the old Egyptians had it right and colour therapy brings about emotional reactions from people and reactions and attitudes are reflected by differing colour schemes. For the office environment, did you know that yellow intensifies intellectual capacity, orange stimulates creativity, blue is calming, red energizes people and green fights minor irritations? Rainbow furniture all round it is, then, and cortisol levels will be at an all-time low before you know it!

Breaks
Unless you’re the Duracell bunny, even the most focused of people need a break or two throughout the working day, the reason being that apparently a change of scenery helps to balance the emotions. Walking outside is preferable to remaining ensconced at the desk, even if just for five minutes, in order to recharge mind, body and soul. Not only will your energy levels be replenished, but believe it or not Vitamin D production levels go through the roof. Who knew? If there really is no time to pop out, ensure that your team are fully hydrated as dehydration can lead to a whole host of problems that prevent productivity: headaches, lack of concentration and on occasions sickness. It makes sense, then, to invest in good-quality filtered water.

Organisation
For those non-spiritualists amongst you, believe it or not but the ancient practice of Feng Shui can work wonders in your office! The reason for this is that Feng Shui is actually an environmental science that provides an atmosphere that makes us feel homely and supported. Water energy can be very powerful and even having a small water fountain can bring about a feeling of serenity and tranquillity (although the frequency of toilet breaks may increase!). Essentially, clutter is not your friend and organisation in the workplace leads to a clearer mind, which naturally leads to a stress-free environment and consequently productivity levels will soar.

Music
A great number of offices now play background music, and rightly so. Music has been proven to affect not only emotional wellbeing and physical health, but also has an impact on the mind, too, with social functioning, communication abilities and cognitive skills all positively affected. Additionally used to mask external annoying sounds, music is great to provide mental stimulation against monotony which in turn reduces stress levels. Unless, that is, the office DJ opts for S-Club 7 or Steps...

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