With World Productivity Day celebrated on June 20th, we highlight how to peak your productivity on a macro and micro level. Let’s start with the macro: What can a business do to increase its employees’ productivity? All businesses would like to see their productivity rates improve, but what actually makes a difference? Architects have long insisted that office design can have a much greater impact than purely on a functional or visual level, a number of studies now support that view.
It has become popular to advise workers to go outside during their lunch breaks in order to ease stress and take time out of the workplace, but what if businesses were to build a bit of greenery into the office environment? A 2014 study by the University of Exeter found that furnishing an office with plants could increase productivity by 15%. Researchers examined the effect of green offices on staff’s perceptions of air quality, concentration levels, and workplace satisfaction and found that the existence of plants in the work environment significantly increased workplace satisfaction, self-reported levels of concentration and perceived air quality.
A further study, by Harvard University, found that improved ‘indoor environmental quality’ i.e., the existence of plants, doubled occupants’ cognitive function test scores. These findings are being put into practice across the world, including at the new headquarters of Apple in California. There, approximately 10,000 trees have been planted across the campus in a bid to increase employees’ access to nature and thus aid their productivity levels.
Spaces also loves to put a lot of plants in our work environments. With the productivity implications of having plants in the office space scientifically proven, our green business clubs will aid in our members experiencing less stress, lets them be more creative and healthier, and therefore more productive.
LET THERE BE LIGHT
Along with nature, a number of studies have highlighted the impact of different lighting levels on productivity. The book Ethonomics: Designing for the Principles of the Modern Workplace shows that veering away from ‘dingy lighting’, small cubicles and colourless, uninspiring offices will not only improve the mood of employees, but also increase productivity levels.
In the UK, workers apparently spend on average 22 hours a day inside. So, with such little exposure to the outside world, it is not surprising that companies see the benefits of bringing the natural light in. A 2018 study by Cornell University concluded that workers in day-lit office environments reported an 84% drop in symptoms such as eyestrain, headaches and blurred vision – all of which reduce our ability to work productively.
prOductivity ON THE DAILY
So, we’ve established what the employer can do for its employees. But what can everyone do themselves to keep your productivity level up. It’s a real misconception that the success of the working day depends on external factors. Because there are quite a few things employees can do to make a day at work fruitful. Curious to know more? Below you’ll find some tips to have a good working day.
TRACK YOUR PROGRESS: ACCOMPLISH SOMETHING EVERYDAY
Are you finally finishing that report that you started working on a week ago? Or did you solve a problem that you’ve been dealing with for a while? Then you’ll probably consider your working day as successful. Progress is an important factor in deciding whether it’s been a productive day. Therefore, on a daily basis, try to get as much done as possible so you can so you feel that you’ve made progress. For example send that last e-mail to round up that meeting from last week or take 30 minutes out of your day to clear away those piles of paper on your desk.
RESET YOUR FOCUS
The concept of having set working hours can have a limiting effect on people. Those who are able to replace the 9-to-5 mentality for a focus on productivity, will label their working day as ‘good’ more easily. But how to put this into practice, placing emphasise on productivity? To start, it’s important that you have enough time to execute your tasks. Try to give yourself that time by resetting your focus from speed to efficiency. You’ll notice that your work speed will actually increase when you do this. Also, don’t hesitate to ask a colleague for help when you’re stuck. Every action that supports your work, enhances your productivity.
ENCOURAGEMENT AND RECOGNITION
A pat on the back every now and then will take you a long way. Is there no-one that can give you one? Compliment yourself from time to time. Or discuss your recent accomplished successes with a friendly coworker. By taking a moment to stand still at your successes, you’ll realise what you’ve accomplished. What also helps is using a task management tool, like Asana for example, which rewards you from time-to-time with a funny image when you tick off another task. A little rewards goes a long way, even if it’s only a rainbow unicorn flying on your screen.