The workplace is seeing huge changes as modern technologies create new ways of communicating with colleagues and customers, which allows us to work with greater agility and to be more flexible. The need for employees to always be physically present in the office is ending, resulting in opportunities for businesses to use space more effectively and creatively, to meet varied workstyle needs.
At the same time, there is a great deal of focus on improving the productivity of UK workplaces through environments that facilitate efficient working, rather than hindering it. Health and wellbeing is showing a more important part to play in this, reducing absenteeism through illness or injury and supporting everyone to perform to their maximum potential.
Workplace culture is key to a productive workplace, and a positive culture can really encourage individuals and teams to thrive. Workplaces where people are friends, as well as colleagues can inspire people to share information and ideas, challenge traditional approaches, support each other and ultimately perform better. In today’s competitive marketplace, attracting and retaining talent is vital to business success and a positive culture is high on most candidates’ list of requirements. Building this requires strong and supportive leadership, with opportunities for individuals to get to know colleagues better and for people to work more together.
Here are three ways you can foster a positive, productive work culture:
1. A practical, flexible design:
The physical environment plays a vital role in building and sustaining a culture and developing a productive workplace. Businesses need to be attuned to what their particular employees want, and this may vary in different parts of an organisation. Office design is often led from an aesthetic and design point of view, rather than fully understanding the needs of the occupants and putting these at the forefront. Bright colours, pool tables and funky furniture design look great, but frequently do little to improve the long-term functionality of the workplace or motivation of employees, as they do not address their fundamental needs.
Social spaces, such as coffee areas, are important to allow employees to meet and chat, sparking off new ideas and building working relationships. Planning these carefully will enable different functions and teams to meet up informally, improving communication throughout the organisation. Collaborative working areas, with comfortable chairs, such as Adapts Ole chair, allow small teams to work together in an informal but practical environment, outside of the confines of a meeting room.
2. Height adjustable workstations:
Individuals with predominantly desk-based roles may welcome the opportunity to use a sit-stand workstation, to provide them with varied working positions to support body posture and comfort throughout the day. Being able to set up their working area ergonomically to meet their specific needs ensures that frequently used items on the desk including computers and monitors, are in easy reach, reducing the risk of musculoskeletal injuries. Sit-stand workstations in hot-desking areas enable individual ergonomic height changes and chairs with intuitive adjustments can support the employee during long sitting periods.
3. Reduce noise transmission:
We are finding that noise in open plan offices particularly made by colleagues, ranks as the top distraction in the workplace in many surveys. The increasing popularity of open plan offices has exacerbated the problem, and for employees where detailed, individual work is a core part of their role, distractions can have a very negative impact on their productivity and job satisfaction.
Reducing the transmission of noise through the office should be considered at the design stage, but if the base design cannot be changed there are ways to reduce the problems. The addition of acoustic ceiling and wall panels, and privacy panels between desks, will reduce overall noise transmission.
Adapt’s quiet zone pods can provide employees with privacy and an aid to concentration when they need to perform detailed work.
Curating a productive workplace requires time and focus on many elements, with ongoing employee feedback essential throughout the journey. Giving individuals freedom and control of where and how they work day-to-day is crucial to a thriving business in today’s world of work.
Lynne Rushen is Regional Director (UK) for Adapt. If you’d like to find out more about how Adapt’s ergonomic furniture solutions could improve productivity in your workplace, we’d love to help. Please call us on 01327 855833 or 0207 4812201 or email and we’ll be in touch.