In a post-pandemic workplace, there is a vast array of factors that can affect the productivity of your employees, from the perks and benefits they expect to internal culture and everything in between. However, what remains constant is the sum of the environmental factors that affect productivity in the workplace. Indeed, your work environment can have a profound effect on productivity in obvious as well as subtle ways.
In this regard, research by Dr. Anil P Sarode and Manisha Shirsath offers an excellent starting point. Specifically, it identifies five environmental factors that may be worth your attention.
Air Quality. Naturally, air quality is vital toward ensuring productivity. Extreme cases of air pollution may expose employees to airborne contaminants. Similarly, milder cases of unclean air may still induce headaches, fatigue, and otherwise hamper your employees’ health. By extension, their productivity will also naturally decline accordingly.
Regarding air quality, you may initially consider temperature and humidity. The ideal workplace temperature has been found to be 71.6 degrees Fahrenheit, or 22 degrees Celsius. If yours deviates significantly, you may examine your heating and cooling solutions to meet this goal. Similarly, ideal relative humidity levels should remain between 40-70%, depending on your temperatures. Should your humidity levels remain high enough to hamper productivity, dehumidifiers may be a wise investment.
Office Furniture. Office furniture can also affect productivity in the workplace both positively and negatively. Indeed, ergonomic furniture will naturally affect productivity, as it will ensure employee comfort. Sarode and Shirsath note, “If all factors surrounding the employee are ergonomically correct, then the employee will … remain motivated.” Conversely, they also indicate that non-ergonomic office furniture may pose health risks and decrease organization. Furthermore, it is not uncommon for needless furniture clutter to distract employees and further hamper their productivity. Thus, consider removing unnecessary pieces of furniture while ensuring the remaining ones are sufficiently ergonomic.
Noise. Among environmental factors that affect productivity in the workplace, noise is likely among the most common. A noisy work environment can understandably distract employees and reduce their day-to-day productivity. However, that’s not to say that complete silence is desirable either; indeed, some healthy background noise is desirable.
Thus, you may examine your workplace’s soundscape and address noise levels through such means as sound-absorbing materials or device relocations. At the same time, you may consider discrete background music, if and where appropriate, to provide a more pleasant work environment and enhance productivity.
Lighting. Similarly, lighting is a crucial, complex factor in productivity. Initially, low lighting levels may strain employees psychologically, while high ones may also distract. At the same time, optimal lightning might better facilitate such tasks as reading, but the placement of lighting fixtures may also create screen glare and other unpleasant results.
Ideally, depending on your workplace location, layout and typical hours of operation, you may address lighting in all such senses. Consider, for example, how your layout makes use of available natural light to create a psychologically pleasant atmosphere. Similarly, consider how your artificial lighting addresses the needs of your premises and how it may accidentally hamper productivity.
Color. Finally, few workplace factors affect productivity in the workplace as much as your color choices.
Initially, your workplace colors can physically affect your employees; consider, for example, how bright colors can strain the eyes, especially if combined with excessive lighting. They can affect your employees in subtle ways as well. You should thus consider the psychology of colors as you examine your color choices. While there is no universal best choice, safe choices should include soft hues of green, blue or orange. In brief, any color that helps your employees relax without distracting them should help enhance productivity in the workplace.