12th Jan 2023

6 Office Design Features to Increase Productivity

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Office design has a bigger impact on productivity than you might initially think. In fact, the design of your workplace can significantly increase your people’s productivity. Who wouldn’t feel inspired by a well-designed, comfortable office that encourages choice over workspaces, with options to get away from distractions?

But how do you do that in the first place? To get you started, here are six office design features that increase productivity.

A quick caveat before we begin…

What works for one team or individual doesn’t always work for another. Always ask your employees what they want or think is needed before making changes to your office space. You may have a totally different idea of what people want, and if you don’t ask, you may end up making detrimental updates rather than positive ones.

1. Flexible workspaces

To state the obvious – every person doesn’t work well in the same environment. For example, some people like to listen to music and others like silence. This is why your workforce needs different solutions and spaces throughout your office to help them do their best work and be more productive.

Offering flexible workspaces means people choose where to work based on the tools and environment they need to get a particular job done. Sometimes this could be a collaborative area with a screen for sharing or video calls, other times it means privacy and quiet time to focus.

This level of flexibility facilitates what is known as an agile workplace and it’s the cornerstone for productivity-inspiring office design.

2. Breakout spaces

Have you ever been out for a walk or in the shower and thought of a solution to a problem you’ve been stuck with for ages? The same idea applies to working in an office. A change of scenery gives you room to breathe, allowing you to come up with new ideas, and improve your creativity.

Breakout spaces are the perfect way to accommodate this. For example, you could offer a work café space that is used for lunch but doubles up as a casual working spot. Areas where people congregate also help with team building, and foster collaboration and communication. This all leads to increased productivity (and job satisfaction!).

3. Relevant technology

One way to quickly increase productivity is to bring in technology that’ll help people to do their jobs more effectively. For most workplaces, with the rise of hybrid working, having tech is non-negotiable for a productive workforce.

Workplace technology is often the catalyst for working efficiently at both an organisation and individual level. This could be through:

  • Work cafes with Wi-Fi and power points for charging
  • Meeting rooms with interactive whiteboards and remote sharing capabilities
  • Huddle spaces and booths with power, light and ventilation for individual or group work
  • Easy access cloud-based video conferencing
  • Online meeting room booking systems (no more awkwardly kicking people out of your booked room!)
  • LED and video walls

Whatever technology or software you choose, just ensure it’s useful and relevant, and give your team adequate training so they feel confident using the tech. Something that’s going to make things trickier won’t go down well or increase productivity!

Acoustics to reduce distractions

Installing elements that’ll reduce distractions around the office boosts productivity and lowers stress. Especially if you have someone that’s neurodivergent in your team, standard office noises such as the kettle, general chatter and keyboard typing can be a big distraction and cause discomfort or even frustration.

Good sound design can make all the difference. Acoustic solutions such as the ones below reduce reverberation, which means sound doesn’t travel as far across the space. It’s amazing how much calmer an office space feels when there’s less noise.

Take a look at some of the following options if you’re having problems with office noise:

    • Pods
    • Screens
    • Booths
    • Ceiling & wall panels

5. Use plants and natural elements

People are generally happier when they are near or can see outdoor space. Offices that maximise natural light and use natural materials and textures such as wood, bamboo and plants have seen increased productivity.

Plants also purify the air, and a recent Harvard study found that greenery in the office made the workforce more productive by 26% and caused a 30% drop in sickness-related absences.

As well as bringing the outside in, having outdoor space where your team can relax is a big bonus. Getting some fresh air into the system lowers stress levels, and it gives that change of scenery we spoke about earlier too. Your outdoor area doesn’t have to look like Chelsea Flower Show but a few benches, tables and chairs, with some nice flowers and plants will encourage people to use the space and feel the benefits.

6. Consider wellness

According to the WELL Building Institute, workplace design can significantly impact staff health, satisfaction, wellbeing, and productivity. When people feel better, they perform better, so consider the following:

  • Air quality
  • Lighting
  • Nature views
  • Overall interior layout

These all play a huge part in staff wellbeing and should be considered when updating your office design. Bright, healthy and lively spaces increase productivity and inspire those that use them.

In conclusion

Office design and productivity go hand in hand. Create a workplace that not only inspires but provides for the needs of your team and you will see the benefits for individuals and the wider business. What’s more, you’ll give off a great impression to your clients, potential clients and supply chain partners.

Mitigating distractions through acoustic solutions, utilising relevant technology and including natural materials and greenery have all been proven to increase productivity.

So, what are you waiting for?

Design your workplace with productivity in mind

We’re office design and fit-out specialists who create inspiring workplaces. Every business has its own needs for its workplace and team. If you’re looking to create a space that your employees live to work in, talk to us.


Chloe Sproston

Creative Director