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5 easy environment changes to boost workplace productivity and employee happiness

Increasing workplace productivity is something every business wants and employers look for simple, quick and cost-effective solutions for achieving this boost in productivity. Whether it’s in a retail, office or warehouse environment, here are 5 simple changes to make that can boost productivity and employee happiness.

Boost natural light

Time and time again, research tells us that employees who have access to natural light when working show increased happiness and wellbeing which then leads to an increase in productivity. A study titled, “Impact of Workplace Daylight Exposure on Sleep, Physical Activity, and Quality of Life,” and carried out by Northwestern University in Chicago, revealed that there is a clear relationship between workplace daylight exposure and office workers’ sleep, activity and quality of life and that working in a windowless environment can be detrimental to employees all over the world.

The kind of lighting we are exposed to affects everything from mood, behaviour to hormonal balances  and our overall physical and mental health. Exposure to artificial lighting has been shown to cause headaches, sleep problems and can even affect our immune systems. On the other hand, exposure to natural light improves sleep patterns and sleep quality.

Findings from a Human Spaces Report also found that by adding natural elements to a working environment, such as greenery and natural light, employers reported a 13% higher level of well-being.

When employees feel better, they work better and absenteeism and sicknesses decrease.

According to research by Cohere there are a range of benefits of natural light. Here are some of their statistics:

  • Office workers with windows had on average 46 minutes more sleep per night than those who didn’t
  • Workplaces with good daylight had up to 40% more productivity and sales
  • Daylight is the number one most wanted natural element in workplace design
  • Well-designed classrooms with natural light have a 16% variation in learning
  • Workers in offices with natural elements were found to be 15% more creative
  • Natural light improves moods, reduces stress, supports healthy eye development, regulates Vitamin D, and has a positive impact on circadian system function

Reduce Glare

With so many people now working in front of computer screens, the issue of glare has become a real 21st Century problem. Long hours and conscientious work in front of screens is now the norm but it can cause eye strain and headaches, especially if there is a lot of glare hitting the computer screen. This can lead to a slowing in productivity, longer breaks and even an increase in staff sickness. However, there are a number of simple and cost-effective ways to ensure employees do not suffer from screen glare.

Simple glare reduction window films can be installed on windows which, once installed, allow natural light to shine through the windows whilst simultaneously reducing glare. Other measures include avoiding pointing lamps directly on computer screens, adjusting the brightness of screens and angling screens correctly. Depending on which glare reduction window film is chosen, glare can be reduced by up to 90%.

Regulate noise

Some work environments can’t help but expose their employees to noise, for example, factories and warehouses. However, excess noise can be detrimental to work productivity and without proper noise controls in place, it’s possible that employers could be breaking the law. There are various regulations regarding noise in the workplace that are enforced industry-wide across the UK which employers should be made aware of. In offices, noise can be extremely distracting and can cause staff to work in an inefficient way. Losing focus, elevated stress and even increased blood pressure are all symptoms of long exposure to noise.

Giving staff the option to wear headphones for example, is just one way to help regulate the amount of noise they are exposed to. Ensuring any radios are at a suitable level can also help to create a comfortable working environment and in turn elevate productivity.

Choose colour carefully

The human mind is an undoubtedly complex thing and different colours have been known to elicit certain emotional responses in people. It is for this reason that it’s actually important which colour you choose for your working environment. The colour used can actually have an effect on workplace productivity and the overall happiness of staff.

According to Redbooth, who specialise in finding ways to work smarter, there’s actually different colours that can be used to boost productivity depending on the type of work that is being done:

  • Yellow is ideal for workspaces that thrive on innovation and creative ideas
  • Blue is ideal for workspaces that have administrative tasks that require clear, focused minds
  • Green is ideal for workspaces that need calmness and balance
  • Red is ideal for workspaces that demand physical activities

So if your office productivity is low, it might be time to get the paint out. For places such as factories and warehouse there isn’t much that can be done in terms of switching up the colour palette but staff break rooms and office areas can be tailored accordingly.

Tidy up

A cluttered work environment is the enemy of productivity. In offices for example, cluttered and messy desks lead to disorganisation and serve as unwelcome stimuli and distractions. Too much stuff on desks can also lead to employees feeling overwhelmed and as if they have too much work to get through – this can cause high levels of stress and anxiety which isn’t conducive to good workplace productivity. In warehouses and factories, untidy working environments can decrease productivity and can mean employees are working in an inefficient way. For example, if stock isn’t organised properly it can take workers longer to find things and processes are slowed. Not to mention the health and safety implications of working within a factory or warehouse that contains hazards due to untidiness. By implementing and adhering to rules regarding clutter in the workplace you’ll be working much more efficiently.

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