How distracted is your team?
Distraction can play havoc with productivity in the workplace, and you might be surprised at the small things that can affect concentration. Evoke Projects looks at ways to reduce distraction by implementing productive office design strategies during your next office fit-out or refurbishment.
Distraction features as a topic in the book Create a Thriving Workspace by Anetta Pizag. She writes about seven office design principles for high-performance work environments, one of which is the creation of ‘space for a productive business’.
Pizag highlights that in modern office environments, productivity is less about production line output and more about ‘solving mental problems and making efficient decisions’. Avoiding distraction and working in optimum conditions is the key to modern productivity.
What causes distraction in the office?
Pizag writes that even if 99% of the environmental conditions are right, it only takes one small thing to distract somebody; for example, a flickering light. That might seem a very high bar to set for any office design, particularly given the idiosyncrasies of people. Yet most office designs will be a far cry from 99% perfect, so it is worth considering all the likely distraction culprits before you finalise your office refurbishment or fit-out plans.
Banishing distractions with your next office fit-out or refurbishment
1. Turn the noise down
Noise is the obvious enemy of focus and concentration. At Evoke Projects, we work with office refurbishment and fit-out clients to minimise noise distractions, particularly within open plan office designs.
Open plan offices can be difficult for employees who like their privacy, or who don’t want to listen to the details of their colleagues’ lives. You can seek balance by installing acoustic partition screens and having rules about daily quiet times, where conversations and telephone calls are kept to a minimum.
You can also reduce noise distraction with an office design that positions desks and teams appropriately. For example, avoid placing call centre teams next to data entry or accounts staff.
2. Control the temperature
This is always a tricky one. One person’s tropical oasis is invariably another person’s winter wonderland. You will never keep everybody happy with the room temperature.
What you can do is create an office design that caters for different comfort levels. Even within a climate controlled office space, there will be warm areas, sunny spots, desks with a draft and cool, dark corners. Create zones within your office design plans and allow people to spend at least part of their day in their choice of space. In her book, Pizag recommends locating the meeting rooms in the cooler part of the office and the breakout space in a warmer zone.
3. Improve air quality
As well as the issue of air temperature, air quality can distract team members. Stuffiness leads to brain fog and lack of concentration, while bad odours will make working conditions unpleasant. Fresh air is easily accessible if you have opening windows in your office space. Otherwise, ensure your ventilation system is serviced regularly and talk to your landlord about upgrading the system during any proposed office fit-out or refurbishment work.
4. Let there be light
Apart from an obvious problem, such as a flickering light, you might not consider light as a distraction. Yet poor artificial light, lack of natural light, lights that are too bright and even sun glare can impact somebody’s ability to concentrate on their work.
The changing position of the sun during the day can cause problems with glare. Blinds will help overcome this. Desk positions are also important. Working with an experienced office design team will ensure that all these elements are considered during your office fit-out or refurbishment.
There is plenty of evidence to show the advantages of being exposed to natural light during your work day. An office design that lets in natural light will brighten up the office space and the office mood!
Artificial lighting is still likely to be the main source of light. Install artificial lighting that suits your office design and the tasks to be performed. Consider the light fixtures that will work well in your office space and add desk lamps or portable floor lamps to areas that need extra light.
That is just the start
Noise, air, temperature and light are some of the key points of distraction that can be rectified during an office refurbishment or fit-out. Pizag’s book1 has other great suggestions for creating a space for a productive business, such as ways to encourage productive habits and reduce sources of negativity.
Please call Evoke Projects on 1300 720 692 to find out more about productive office design and office refurbishment.