Smart Office Design For More Productivity

How can employers and employees both make sure that office space becomes a buzzing hub for productive and creative minds?

Published on 26 July, 2016 | Last modified on 10 February, 2023
Improve productivity with smart office design

How can employers and employees both make sure that office space becomes a buzzing hub for productive and creative minds?

The office: it’s a space where we spend most of our time. For most of us, the office is our second home, and it’s important that we feel just like at home. For businesses, it’s crucial to provide a good work environment, as unhappy or unwell employees can directly impact on training plans, recruitment costs, and general staff turnover.

But how can employers and employees both make sure that office space becomes a buzzing hub for productive and creative minds?

Open Plan. Everyone’s Favourite?

Over the past years offices have changed to accommodate more open-plan design and create more meeting areas and spaces where employees are encouraged to collaborate. This helps to create a team spirit and, literally, provides room for the mind to roam.

But this design has a downside: there is an obvious lack of privacy. Without walls or dividers between desks, there is no room to hide or even put pictures up. Employees cannot personalise their space or even feel that this space is their own.

Creative employees in smart officeThe recent Gensler Workplace Survey 2016 analysed over 1,200 office workers in the UK to find out what their current office space looks like and what employees really want.

Often employees in leadership positions have “higher performing workspaces, but the gulf between the haves and the have-nots in the UK workplace is dramatic and it poses a significant challenge for organisations looking to innovate.” The most obvious is the use of private offices here: 89 percent of managers asked in the Gensler survey have private offices, compared to 23 percent at lower levels of an organisation. With increased noise level and no private space, this impacts productivity.

The study also found that, while over 8 million UK employees work in open-plan environments, many of these environments are not optimally designed. Many employees are happy with the concept of open-plan office spaces, but the space itself often does not support the work they are doing. This in turn means that productivity, creativity, and work relationships suffer.

In addition to inefficient design, employees often feel they do not have enough freedom over when and where to work. “Employees who rate their organisations highly on innovation measures also report having greater choice, and use a wider range of workspaces to get their work done”, says Gensler.

Improved Design

Creating a big open space is not the answer to everyone’s productivity prayers. An office environment has to be “intelligent” and smart to get the best out of every – often expensive – square foot.

  1. Businesses should take a more considered approach to open plan. Effective workplaces should ideally support both individual and group work with access to a range of open, semi-open, and enclosed spaces. Bear in mind that open plan may not be the best option for your organisation; that’s why it can be a useful exercise to analyse work activities and ask how much and what kind of space these activities require.
  2. More variety. Better choice. We are still using our desks for most work activities, so our desk is directly linked to our productivity. With greater variety of spaces, flexible work areas, and increased agency and choice over where and when to work, employee satisfaction and performance will improve.
  3. Look at job needs. Those employees whose work space is assigned by job requirements, rather than hierarchy, are often much more productive, and there is another plus side: this way of working together means everyone in your organisation engages more, and improvement then happens at all levels of the company.

Other Productivity Factors

In addition to the question “Open plan or not?”, there are a range of other issues that workers identify as problems impacting on their productivity, such as lighting, smell, temperature, security, or general noise.

While artificial lighting is proven to cause eye strain, drowsiness, and even migraines, all of our senses can be easily affected by our office environment. Some of these factors are often hard to control for each individual – for example, temperature – but the office of the future may help to improve the workplace for everyone.

There may never be an “ideal” office layout that works perfectly for everyone, but a few minor tweaks and adoption of new technologies can drive a significant rethink of the office space, which just keeps everyone happy, creative, and productive.

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Mimeo Marketing Team

Mimeo is a global online print provider with a mission to give customers back their time. By combining front and back-end technology with a lean production model, Mimeo is the only company in the industry to guarantee your late-night print order will be produced, shipped, and delivered by 8 am the next morning. For more information, visit and see how Mimeo’s solutions can help you save time today.

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