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8 Ways to boost employee morale and productivity with office design

Published on Friday, 27 Feb 2015

We all know that a clean, clutter-free office space can improve productivity and even boost employee morale for companies. Unfortunately, in reality, poor office design still seems to be common practice. While many businesses just simply aren’t aware of the benefits behind redesigning office spaces, others feel the cost of such an undertaking can be better used on other operational matters. Although improving employee satisfaction is one of the best and least expensive ways to increase productivity at a place of business, a complete office redesign isn’t the only way to achieve smarter use of space. Here are eight inexpensive, yet extremely effective ways to make your office environment more favorable to putting your employees in a better mood to get more work done:

  1. Create collaborative spaces. Oftentimes, staying put in one spot, like a desk, can kill creativity and motivation. Turn public spaces into work spaces that your employees can use when they need a change of scenery. This can help give them the reboot they need to tackle their projects with renewed vigour. Two heads are better than one so make these spaces large enough for a small group so that people can step in for quick brainstorming sessions together.
  2. Bring the outdoors in. The drab greys and whites of an office building can actually make your employees depressed, causing productivity to plummet. Let nature boost their mood by bringing some of the outdoors into the office. Placing greenery throughout the office space has been linked to helping reduce headaches, fatigue, and common colds. Office plants can also help improve the air inside the office, making employees healthier and more alert for work.
  3. Invest in an air freshener. Most companies wouldn’t think twice about the smell of the office, but smell is one of the strongest of senses and is susceptible to influencing how the brain functions. A Japanese company conducted an aromatherapy study and discovered that typists made 54% fewer mistakes when the scent of lemon was in the air, 33% fewer mistakes when they smelled jasmine, and 20% less when it was lavender. The cost of air fresheners isn’t all that much when you consider the benefits.
  4. Work ergnomically. Working at a properly fitted desk and chair can do wonders to worker productivity. Given that so many people sit at their desks throughout the day, ergonomics should be a priority. Ensure that the computer or laptop screen is positioned at least 60-90cm away from the face, feet should rest flat comfortably either on the floor or on a footrest, and the chair should be adjusted to a slightly reclined position to reduce the tension in the lower back.
  5. Provide natural lighting. Most people are productive the most in spaces flooded with natural light. Move the offices around so that your employees’ desks are positioned to receive the most natural light. If your office space doesn’t have large windows to allow natural sunlight in, invest in switching your overhead lights to simulate natural light.
  6. Add some color. Color therapy has grown in popularity in recent years and many offices are taking the color of their walls and carpeting into serious consideration now that it has been discovered that certain colours can help productivity while others can destroy it. Your choice of color can depend on either your industry or the type of work environment your company wants to create. Lighter, more neutral hues are known to create a sense of openness and calm. Warmer colors like reds, yellows, and oranges are great for creative offices, while cooler tones like blues and greens are relaxing and inviting. Painting even just accent walls is enough to help boost inspiration.
  7. Get rid of the open floorplan. It may seem counter-intuitive, but having an open office can actually hurt collaboration and productivity because they lack privacy. Employees are less likely to work together and speak to one another out in the open because they’re intimidated by the idea of everyone else can hearing what they’re saying. If there’s no way around an open floorplan, make sure there are plenty small, private nooks or conference rooms available for use.
  8. Promote movement. Fatigue, boredom, and apathy are byproducts of sitting still all day. Force your workers to get up and moving by strategically placing breakrooms, toilets, and other important spaces away from the general workspace. By forcing your employees to walk down a long corridor to the bathroom or by going downstairs to get a cup of coffee from the pantry, you’re helping to reboot their minds and bodies for work.


Productivity and employee morale are both essential aspects in running a successful company. Smart office design is just as important as salary and benefits to the overall health and satisfaction of your workforce. Don’t let poor design be the reason your employees are stagnating. Embrace these eight tips to help motivate and re-energise your company.

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