If you’re reexamining your current office space, you’ve probably got some ideas about how you want things to flow. You might have what you believe to be the perfect design plan all laid out, but in reality, you could be sacrificing functionality for looks. A lot of things you take for granted have a larger impact than you may expect, and that impact may be contrary to your intentions.

Consider your lighting

Offices love fluorescent track lighting. It’s easy and inexpensive to install, and it has a high efficiency rating. The only problem is the impact fluorescent light has on our eyes. Over time, fluorescent lights can contribute to eye strain, and even migraines, particularly if the lights are casting a glare on computer screens. Place lighting wisely, and make as much use of natural lighting as possible if you want everyone to be able to do their jobs effectively.

Think about workspaces

It’s easy to default to basics. Plain desks, cubicle walls, and basic office chairs. It’s cheap, but it’s very uncomfortable. Consider utilizing ergonomic office furniture. Always place screens in a way that they won’t catch glare. Make sure everyone has enough space to work in, and don’t clutter immediate workspace with printers or other large machines. Being uncomfortable and surrounded by clutter is a huge distraction, and that’s no way to work.

How are you laying out your stations?

Servers, printers, fax machines, and filing cabinets all have their proper place. Ideally, you will want to place them farther away from personal workstations. This will improve the flow of foot traffic within the office, and it will also give employees the opportunity to get up and stretch their legs. When people feel confined and their minds start to wander, they’re not going to be able to focus on the task at hand. Encouraging people to move can do them some good.

Utilize open space correctly

Ideally, everything will be spaced far enough apart. People need to wheel carts through. Everyone is going to get up to leave for lunch around the same time. You don’t want common areas to become congested. Everyone needs their bubble of personal space. Employees will feel more confident and calm if it doesn’t seem like the walls are closing in on them.

Ambiance is important

Decorating your office is massively important. Plain white walls and dingy gray carpets may help you save some money, but they’re agonizing to look at. Use friendly, agreeable colors. Things like fresh flowers and modern artwork will give people something to glance at for a minute. Think about the comfort you feel when you’re surrounded by beautiful objects. If the office looks nice, people will feel more eager to come in every morning. Staring at blank walls all day is depressing, and that can contribute to employee burnout. An office shouldn’t feel like a half-day prison that provides a paycheck.

It’s possible to have office space that’s both beautiful and functional. While you may have to make some compromises that are contrary to your original plan, the payoff is worth it. Think about more than how your office space will work for you: think about other people and their needs when designing your space. A productive office always starts with the right floor plan.

Hanna Dickins is part of the team behind DirectorStats.co.uk. With a huge interest in technology and startup industry, she works as a Community Manager. She’s keen on new helpful online tools and productivity hacks.

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