When it comes to improving the performance of your business, there are many possible areas to look at, from recruitment and staff training, to marketing and customer service. However, one area that is sometimes overlooked, but which can have a major impact upon company performance, is the everyday working environment.
Indeed, in many cases, one of the biggest obstacles between present performance and desired performance is the workplace itself. Research has found that the layout of an office, interior design techniques and office branding have a bearing on performance, meaning if you want a thriving business, you may need to review your work space.
Various studies have shown a link between comfortable workplace furniture and improved performance. This is primarily due to the positive impact upon employee well-being. For example, refurbishing your office with ergonomically designed chairs could reduce instances of back pain, leading to reduced absenteeism.
"Lower back pain accounts for more sick leave and disability than any other medical condition," says Martin Atkinson, MD of PiMS Workspace. "One study in the US revealed that the additional investment [in ergonomic workstations] was returned in only five months following a significant increase in productivity and decrease in sick leave." Sit-stand desks and adjustable chairs are both worth considering, and it is also worth reviewing other aspects of your office interior design. For example, according to the findings of a team at Northwestern University, increased exposure to natural light in the workplace leads to improvements in sleep, mood and productivity.
Another effective way to improve the performance of your business is to ensure the right conditions are in place for work to be carried out. Unfortunately, this is an area where many companies fall short. In fact, a recent survey carried out by Ipsos and Steelcase found 90 percent of workers are less than satisfied with their work environment.
One of the most frequently reported problems was a lack of workplace privacy and this is a problem which has grown since open plan office designs became commonplace. Although an open plan design can improve collaboration, which is essential in some industries, many workers feel distracted or unable to concentrate fully. Your office interior design should prioritise choice and flexibility, with designated quiet and collaborative spaces. In some cases, it may also be worth embracing remote work. Contrary to popular belief, studies from Stanford University and Softchoice show that people working remotely are more productive and less likely to take a sick day.
Research has repeatedly demonstrated that employees who believe in the 'brand promise' will work harder and produce better results in the long term. Although your products or services will play a key role in ensuring this is the case, branding of the workplace can too. Well-placed logos, slogans and brand values at key touchpoints can help to remind employees of the important work they are doing in providing solutions for customers' problems. Moreover, if your workplace receives visits from clients, effective branding can help to make a positive first impression and inspire trust.
Reno is a founder and director of a leading exhibition and event company Enigma Visual Solutions, specialising in retail designs, interiors, graphic productions, signage systems, office design, event branding, modular exhibition stands design and much more. He specialises in experiential marketing and event productions. He enjoys sharing his thoughts on upcoming marketing ideas and design trends. Feel free to follow him on twitter.