Productivity Boosting Office Furnishing by Psychology

Productivity Boosting Office Furnishing by Psychology

In our most recent article, we talked about a large number of scientific studies that had found significant links between office environment and furnishings and the productivity, stress levels, and job satisfaction, of the staff working there.

We wanted to give you some of our best #officehacks and tricks for maximising the productivity of your own office taken from all those studies.


1. Ergonomic Furniture

Yes, we know that this one is no secret, but simply because it is so widely known and proven is why this has to be the first item on our list. Ergonomic chairs and desks enhance comfort and reduce strain, and this is not just a health and safety issue. Workers who suffer discomfort at their desks are far more likely to take more breaks and find other opportunities to spend less time at their desks. Morale also drops, and this tends to have a communal effect, where the whole environment suffers where staff are not happy and content.


2. Light and Sound

Where sound is mostly a matter of distraction and minor annoyance, in some locations an office can sometimes become uncomfortably noisy.  Having fabrics and soft furnishings around can help to absorb some of the sound vibrations - you'd be amazed by how much.  Consider getting mesh and fabric seating, and hanging some canvas pictures or even fabric-based wall hangings to make a noticeable difference to the overall sound environment of your workspace.

White furniture can help to maximise the feeling of light in an office, since it absorbs the least light of all colours, and reflects the most.


3. Curves and Corners

Studies where attitudes towards curved office furniture, and layouts of furniture, were examined showed a strong tendency for people to view offices with curves as more creative and more desirable than those with traditional straight lines and corners.

Psychologically, this preference means that curves make employees feel happier, luckier to be working there, which are effects that directly boost productivity. Additionally, the fact that offices with curves were seen as more desirable means that such offices have an easier time recruiting, retaining staff, and have less pressure to outbid rival employers.

Curves enhance creativity and perception of job satisfaction, while the reddish tones enhance productivity where accuracy and attention to detail matter.

If you haven't the budget to go replacing lots of straight-edged, square cornered desks, consider creating some small meeting areas where chairs are arranged in a circle, or break areas with circular tables, etc.  Just introducing a few notable curves into an office can have an immediate effect.  Over time, replace chairs with those that feature a few curves, perhaps tub chairs in reception and rest areas, etc.


4. Colours

We're all aware of the traditions of colours and textures in office furniture - wood to look traditional, black and chrome was supposed to highlight power and modern design in the 80s, etc.  However, there's more to colour in the workplace than just brand or fashion.

Many of the scientific studies have focused more on light and colour in light than in the broader environment.  For example, studies showed that red light increased peoples accuracy with facts and figures (which is why you so often see those military command centres in movies using red light).  Blue and green light are likewise proven in studies to increase creativity, but conversely can also increase feelings of depression.

Modern lighting can be easily obtained where the colour can be adjusted, quite subtly.  However, you can 'hack' the same effect by simply using the properties of reflected light, and placing more items of certain colour tones in the office environment.

Brightly coloured office chair

Adding coloured furniture to a room can enhance the ambient, reflected light in that colour range.

Consider using blue/green fabric or mesh chairs in meeting rooms that are predominantly used for brainstorming and creative meetings.  How about using red chairs in the board room, where accurately talking facts and figures is important?  Using wooden desks with a redder, more mahogany colour for the accounting department could help their productivity.

Posted by Paul Randall
25th May 2017