Employee performance, satisfaction, engagement, motivation, and productivity share common dynamics. Business organizations can and must find ways to improve them all together. Worker productivity and motivational boost does not even have to come at a tremendous cost to the business organization. It can be had even in the littlest of things, such as a smart company policy for promoting instant incentives or an employee wellness program involving meditation or sports, for example. Organizations can also do something about the physical environment, according to these insights from studies on how worker productivity, performance, and motivation are influenced by the physical attributes of the office space.
Open-plan Offices Hurt Employee Productivity
Researchers at Karlstad University in Sweden and Aarhus University in Denmark have embarked on a study demonstrating how large offices with an open layout promote worker dissatisfaction, which in turn hurts productivity and engagement. Open spaces ease employee interactions, but this does not mean dialogues with coworkers made in this type of open environment are meaningful ones. And more and more workers report that such dialogues are compromised because of the spatial configuration, furthering feelings of job dissatisfaction.
If you are planning to convert your traditional cellular offices into one with an open layout, you might want to think twice. The short-term benefits might not be worth sacrificing for the long-term wellbeing of your employees.
Low-level Noise in the Office Is a Stressor and Health Risk Factor
Another negative consequence of the open office layout is the omnipresence of background noise, which in turn reduces employee motivation and increases cardiovascular health risks. Worker stress levels increase with exposure even to low-level noise, according to research on environmental psychology at Cornell University.
Employees Work Better in Warmer Offices
Temperature is also a critical factor that influences worker performance. According to research at Cornell University’s Human Factors and Ergonomics Laboratory, productivity is higher, and typing error rates fall to 10 percent when the office temperature is set at 77 degrees Fahrenheit. In the study, a few degrees of temperature rise or drop are systematically correlated to worker performance. Seventy-seven degrees Fahrenheit seems to be one of the optimal comfort zones for promoting worker performance.
Ozone-reducing Indoor Plants Help Promote Employee Health and Wellbeing
Office electronics such as copy machines, laser printers, and some types of indoor air purification systems release ozone. Ozone, which is more commonly known as smog, is a major air pollutant whose toxic effects on people include pulmonary edema, lung inflammation, and lung function reduction.
The good news is that Pennsylvania State University researchers have shown how certain houseplants reduce ozone concentration. Ozone-reducing indoor plants include golden pothos, spider plant, and snake plant. Adding these plants is a quick and easy way to improve productivity right away.
Natural Lighting Boosts Worker Productivity
Just like the introduction of ozone-zapping indoor plants, natural light is another inexpensive way to enhance employee productivity and wellbeing. Researchers at Northwestern University and the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign show that compared to office workers confined in windowless rooms, employees exposed to more natural daylight at the workplace tend to be more physically active, enjoy a higher quality of sleep, and, of course, perform better in their jobs.
The Bottom Line
The working environment’s physical aspects can most definitely either sour or boost employee performance and satisfaction towards work. The good thing is that they are aspects business organizations can easily control and change for the better.