How Office Design Affects Employees’ Productivity

Have you ever wondered how the design and layout of an office affect employees? The impact of these elements is a lot more substantial than you might think. This is why many employers put in extra effort to research the many factors in their office that can influence workplace productivity. If you want to make your employees work harder while feeling better in the office, you need to make some impactful changes. Here are a few elements of office design that are especially important.

Furniture ergonomics boost productivity

It’s not without reason that furniture ergonomics is currently in the spotlight when it comes to office design. It’s something that has a profound impact on the well-being and productivity of every employee in the company. 

While furniture is often seen as a non-issue, it’s absolutely crucial for office productivity. It’s not just about “comfort” either. When your employees are seated on furniture that is misshapen or inadequate, their focus suffers. An employee might not notice the effect the furniture has on them, but it shows over time.

You shuffle in the seat a few times per hour at first, just to get comfortable. Afterwards, it gets more common, and you find that getting up relieves you of some stress. This unnoticeable irritation slowly gets in the way of your work, as you find yourself coming up with ways to get up and get some fresh air, coffee, or anything else. It’s not a conscious decision unless the furniture is particularly bad, but it still happens. 

More comfortable and ergonomic furniture has the opposite effect. You’re able to relax and start focusing on your work. With no distractions, your mind stops wandering and you can work on your creativity. It’s a far cry from the idea that comfort leads to laziness and loss of productivity. It’s something that every employer needs to take into account when designing their office.

 Increased privacy allows for more focus

If you’ve recently been in any modern office, you might have taken note of the lack of walls and cubicles that separate employees on the work floor. It’s what employers call an “open-plan office” and it has many applications and benefits for employees. However, there’s a lot to be said about introducing open work environments to every kind of office.  

The current trend of open office spaces is not going away any time soon, but certain lines of work don’t necessarily benefit from them. The main idea of open office productivity is increasing cooperation between coworkers and pooling creativity. When you can quickly communicate your ideas to the person or persons next to you, the process of creation is quicker and you can get to work on realizing the idea a lot faster. 

The thing is, open-plan offices also come with a lot of drawbacks. You can find it difficult to concentrate when people are chit-chatting around you or making calls while you try to think. It’s something that should be considered for many jobs that are more focused on concentration and less on the creative side. 

This is why having cubicles or separate offices for certain employees can be beneficial. Even if you might save space with an open plan, you might not save on productivity every time. Choose your layouts based on the kind of work that’s being done and you’ll see much better results.

Plants provide relaxation and a calmer atmosphere

Houseplants are a wonderful addition to any inside space. There are a variety of reasons why you might want to add a few leafy green plants around you, especially if you’re looking to increase productivity.

There’s something about plants that calms and soothes individuals that look at them, even when there are only a few of them around. Plants seem to replicate a natural environment that we’re all familiar with, which is something that many sterile office environments lack. However, you might be asking yourself: how do plants increase productivity just by being present in a room? 

This isn’t an easy question to answer, but the positive effects of green leafy plants in work environments are well-documented. Just having a few of them in the corner of the office is more than enough to increase employee alertness and productivity by a noticeable margin. This is something that has inspired employers to look into the best office plants for their own workplaces. 

Plants help create cleaner and more breathable air by introducing a bit more oxygen into space. This makes the rooms they’re in feel less stuffy and more comfortable. This inspires employees to work more efficiently, as they’re more inclined to spend time in the office.

Colours can dictate mood and productivity

People don’t normally pay a lot of attention to the colour scheme of most modern offices. It doesn’t seem like a big deal, after all. How important are colours in the grand scheme of office work? The answer may yet surprise you.

Colours have a huge impact on productivity, and employers are slowly taking note of this. Many work environments will put extra emphasis on colours in the workspace in order to help increase employees’ focus and productivity. How this is achieved depends on the workplace and the colours that the employer chooses to utilize. You need to know what certain colours represent and how they affect employees.

Colours like blue often create an air of relaxation and calm. Blue details help soothe employees and give off a relaxing atmosphere, which is perfect for high-stress and demanding lines of work. Other colours, like yellow, for example, will stimulate feelings of joy and increased energy. Yellow can help stimulate creativity and help employees feel more energetic in the workplace. Red exudes confidence and helps motivate employees to give it their all. 

Individual colours aren’t the only options, either. You can create different unique combinations with a multitude of colours and create a unique office that helps employees focus in a specific way. Achieving the perfect office colour scheme isn’t easy, especially if you aren’t already a designer with experience with this. However, it’s a worthwhile endeavour that quickly shows positive results.

Providing amenities is always appreciated

When your employees spend all day in the office, they might get hungry or thirsty from time to time. They probably bring lunch with them every day, but there might come days when they forget or simply don’t have the time to make their lunch. Not to mention, having your lunch sit in your bag or briefcase guarantees that it will be cold and somewhat stale by the time you get to eat it. There’s nearly no way to bring in fresh food and eat it during lunch unless the office provides it.

Food, water, and coffee are the three most important amenities you can introduce to your office environment. You want employees to be well-sated, hydrated, and energized when they’re at work, as this will significantly improve their productivity. 

Most offices will have a kitchen area, but how well-stocked is it normally? You want to have some of the more common foodstuffs that can be prepared quickly and without delay. People don’t want to spend their whole lunch break preparing food, they want to eat it quickly. A microwave would come in handy in this situation. A water cooler should be standard in most modern offices, as it provides a refreshing drink to anyone feeling parched. 

Coffee is one of the more important resources for office productivity. Most people can’t hit their productive peak without having at least one cup of hot coffee in the morning. It helps jolt them awake and increase productivity when their energy levels fall. Coffee is another thing that you don’t want to prepare for too long when you’re on your break. Why bother when there’s instant coffee available and it’s a lot more convenient? Employers should aim to find quality commercial coffee machines for their office kitchen so that employees can enjoy a quick and tasty cup of coffee when they need one. 

Felling at home relaxes people

It might sound crazy when you first think about it, but employees will often spend more time at work than they do at home. While this may not account for time spent asleep, it’s still a surprising fact that influences how employees feel in the workplace. Between long commutes and time spent socializing, they aren’t at home long enough to enjoy it.

This creates a feeling of longing for a relaxing home environment. While you can’t create this kind of atmosphere at work, there’s no reason that you can’t add a little charm to it anyway. Employees should be made to feel like they’re in their second home while they’re in the office. Achieving this is a lot more difficult than it sounds, which is why modern office design puts a lot of emphasis on comfort and familiarity. 

For starters, you want to get rid of the sterile and bland work environment. Put in extra effort to make your office representation of your brand. When employees feel like they’re part of something greater than the work they do, they’ll find the work to be a lot more manageable. This means adding attractive details, motivational messages, employee photos, and anything else that would help the office stand out in a positive way. Having food, snacks, and entertainment available would send a message that you want their breaks and rest to be quality time as well. 

There’s an increasing trend of work being done directly from the comfort of one’s own home, and employees find these kinds of jobs irresistible. If the work you expect from employees can’t be done from home, you should at least try to make the office feel like a second home. It’s something that will motivate them to stay and be productive in the office that you’ve designed.


There are many ways that office design can affect an employee’s productivity. Everything from the layout of the office to the details on their desk influences how they feel, and thus how well they work in the office. Employers should take note of all the positive changes that they can introduce to the office, as this can be an invaluable tool for increasing productivity.