Workplace designs that really boost employee productivity

How often do you relate workplace design to an increase in productivity?

Not at all, right?

Actually, a well-designed workplace can increase productivity by 25%. This is according to research published in the Journal of Experimental Psychology.

In fact, workplace design has undergone some major transformation over time.

Perhaps we can indulge you on a small trip down memory lane?

Okay then, if we must:

Let’s go back to the 1960s, the invention of the office cubicle. This was based on the research that employees are more productive in isolation.

boost employee productivity

The office cubicle was a flexible, customisable system of office furnishings that balanced community and privacy.

Then a little more research was done and we saw the introduction of the open office space in the early 2000s. This was introduced to promote collaboration which, as we know, leads to greater innovation and business success.

boost employee productivity

Now let's take a look at where we are today. Companies like Google and Glassdoor are using multi-functional design elements, which acknowledges that people need multiple spaces for maintaining productivity during any given business day.

From things like hot desking to call booths to swing chairs and comfy bean bags, to an ideas lounge, where creative brainstorms can take place in an environment that promotes creativity, innovation and of course, collaboration.

This office design takes into account different zones or rooms to fit the mood your employee may be looking for.

Let’s take a look at how these 3 companies are using office design to boost productivity:

1. Lego, a creative company that brings joy to so many of the world's children; and adults. They needed to make sure their office space reflected those same feelings. “ LEGO, work too is supposed to be fun.”

The Lego office space consists of tables with bonsai gardens which double up as workstations, oversized furniture and they even have a really big slide. 😃

boost employee productivityImage source: Office Snapshots

2. Microsoft is known as a company that promotes collaboration in the workspace and their office in Milan was designed with exactly this in mind.

There are areas that are more communicative and others that are more private. The design purpose here was to ensure that the workspace adopted enough diversity in order to encourage creativity and collaboration.

boost employee productivity

boost employee productivity

Image source: Artsy

3. Facebook has one of the largest open offices in the world. Their office boasts a rooftop garden and adjustable desks; in an effort to promote employee wellness. They also prioritise an open design which is used to foster an increase in collaboration.

This resulted in Facebook being nominated as the best place to work in 2018.

boost employee productivity

Image source: Office Snapshots

We hope this has painted a pretty clear picture of the role design plays in boosting productivity in the workplace.

We’re not suggesting you undertake an expensive office renovation that receives a full double feature in Forbes magazine. No, what we’re suggesting is that you consider the importance that your workspace plays in creating an optimal environment for your employees to succeed, taking your business along with it.


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So here are 4 low-cost ideas for you to implement to get you started today:

1. Lighting. Research conducted by Cornell University professor Alan Hedge found that employees in offices with natural daylight reported an 84% decrease in headaches, eye strain, and blurred vision.

Perhaps you need an extra window or two, or it may be time to invest in some lamps to lighten things up. Be sure to do your research on the type of lighting to suit your employees needs.


2. Air. Did you know that according to the research conducted by the World Green Building Council there is an 11% increase in productivity as a direct result of increased fresh air to the work area?  

Here are a few ways of increasing the air quality within your office:

  • Install air filtration systems to circulate air.
  • Add a few office plants. This not only adds to the aesthetics of your office but will also clean the air.
  • Open the windows for an increase in airflow.

3. Mix things up. It’s important to mix it up. The rise of technology requires us to jump in and out of tasks like never before. Having different spaces for different needs can help boost productivity.

E.g. If you’re in a busy open plan office space, perhaps try offering small booths for private calls or a couch or two to help make the jump from one task to another a little easier.


4. Healthy food. You could always provide a fruit bowl, a clean place to prepare food and clean, safe drinking water.

Here are a few ways healthy eating and adequate hydration can boost productivity:

  • It can increase energy and alertness.
  • It ensures a healthy immune system, which can result in reduced staff absenteeism.
  • It can improve sleep, which should lead to greater concentration.
  • It can help to improve overall mental health.

Key Takeaways

The workplace as we know it has undergone so many transformations over the years. Every change we’ve seen (or been a part of) has had one thing in common though, to promote better productivity in the workplace.

Understanding your workforce and the way in which they function will allow you to reach better levels of productivity and boost your bottom line.

We’d love to know what office space designs or techniques you’ve used to boost productivity. Please reach out to us on social media or leave us a comment below. 🙂

Are you ready to take your recognition program to new heights? Simply click the download button below to get your hands on your employee recognition checklist to get started now. 👇🏼

Employee recognition checklist