The recent pandemic meant that a large percentage of office workers switched to remote working. Now, with the pandemic slowly easing and people gradually returning to working from their offices, many employers are suddenly finding that all the extra space they had become accustomed to is disappearing.
As a result, many business owners are reorganising their offices to maximise the utilisation of the available space. Perhaps the return of a workforce to office working is the catalyst for the change, but whatever the reason for changing, there are a host of benefits associated with reorganising the workspace environment.
Studies have shown that as well as increasing the efficiency of a workforce through a less cluttered workplace, how you optimise your office has some surprising and pleasant side-effects:
- Promotes productivity
- Reduces worker stress
- Fosters collaboration
- Reduces physical problems like backache and RSI
- Reduces employee quarrel
However, to maximise the benefits of your office reorganisation requires more than just shuffling the old furniture around in an effort to create space. Everything from the décor to the lighting has been shown to affect employee performance, so whether you are moving into a new space or renovating your existing office, all aspects, including décor, lighting, and furniture, need to be considered.
1. Draw up a plan of action
It may sound obvious, but the temptation is always to rush into this without too much forethought. Set a budget for the project and prioritise where it is to be spent. If there is enough budget, you could consider an interior designer. Their skill set means they understand every trick in the book when it comes to maximising space.
Try to include your employees in the process too, this makes them feel part of the process and ensures their requirements are considered.
2. Dispose of unsuitable furniture
Employee illness is a major encumbrance for any business. A recent study reported that in 2015/16 half a million workers in the UK suffered from musculoskeletal disorders due to bad office ergonomics. Saving money in the short term by keeping unsuitable furniture may well cost you more in the long run.
Good office chairs are the most crucial aspect when it comes to employee health. Look for seats that have good padding and lumbar support. They should also offer adjustable armrests, height, and width settings.
3. Try to include some variety
It is impossible to suit all needs and tastes with a one size fits all solution. If you have the available space, then it is a great idea to include some variety in your makeover. Creating different environments within the workspace adds an element of flexibility that can boost productivity.
Creating a quiet space, meeting areas, and even a room where staff can go to relax and even play games helps foster a work atmosphere that can pay dividends when it comes to staff welfare and productivity.
4. Consider the lighting
Nowadays, we are so much more aware of the effect of lighting on our overall well-being. A well-designed lighting system can improve productivity, reduce depression, improve employee mood, and cut down the time lost through employee sickness.
Take a note of areas that aren’t well lit and ensure that these areas are covered. Natural light is the best option, but this isn’t always possible in offices, and, of course, winters in Ireland aren’t noted for their abundance of this!
Lighting systems that imitate natural light are a great option.
5. Plan for the IT side of the office
If you have an IT department, get them involved at an early stage. Confer with them to find out how best to arrange the office to ensure that workstations and peripherals like printers, routers, projectors, photocopiers, and servers are all taken into account.
Doing this as an afterthought can end up in a hazardous office strewn with extension, phone, and ethernet cables.
6. Heating and temperature considerations
Offices that are too hot or cold make for an unhappy workforce. It isn’t always possible to suit every individual requirement, but you can make an effort at this stage to adjust the layout to make it more amenable to your staff.
For example, the large windows that let the natural sunlight flow in during the summer months may also make that area unbearably warm at the same time. Air Conditioning vents can have the opposite effect. Allowing for these when you plan the layout of your office can help keep your workers happy.
7. Leave some open spaces
A cramped and claustrophobic office just isn’t a pleasant working environment. Try not to cram too much furniture into too small a space and end up with a workspace that is visually overwhelming, constricted, and consequently damaging to staff productivity.
8. Keep the décor simple
It may be tempting to push the boat out and overdo the décor of the office. At the same time, a bland workspace is likely to underwhelm visitors and staff alike. There is a balance to be struck. Choose a fairly neutral but bright and cheery colour and add a few additional features like plants, motivational posters, artwork, and company branding.
9. Give your employees a break
It doesn’t need to be much but creating an area or room where your employees can take some time out has been proven to increase staff contentment and productivity. Make sure this space is designed to be comfortable and free of computers or other work-related items.
10. Think ahead
Always keep an eye on the future when you draw up your plans. You may have plans to expand our operations and staff levels in the near future. How will this affect your plans? Try to organise your new layout to account for details like future footfall, meeting rooms availability, power points and network ports.
Building details like this into your plans now will definitely save you money and hassle in the long term.
How can we help?
Any type of renovation or reorganisation can cause a short- or long-term problem with storage space. At U Store It, we have a range of business storage solutions that can be tailored to fit your needs and budget.
Our business solutions are covered by 24/7 security and are ideal for storing excess furniture, documents and confidential paperwork, office supplies, and equipment.
Call us today to find out how our cost-effective solutions can help optimise your office space and boost productivity.