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Environment Matters: How to Design Your Workspace for Productivity
happy productive workspace

Environment Matters: How to Design Your Workspace for Productivity

There are only a few hours in a day, and employees need to make the most of their time if they're to finish their tasks. Yet being productive at work requires more than just managing an employee's time. A worker's environment has a very real impact on their mood and performance. You can't demand productivity. You have to design for it.

How to Design Your Workspace for Productivity

Environment Matters: How to Design Your Workspace for Productivity

Design is not just what it looks like and feels like. Design is how it works.

- Steve Jobs


One of the most important factors in staying focused and inspired is to have proper illumination. Yet unfortunately, this factor is one of the most overlooked elements in many offices. When an office has poor lighting, it can contribute to eye strain, headaches, fatigue, and overall irritability. Dark spaces can even trigger depression.

Nothing beats natural lighting for its effect on worker mood and performance. Opening the doors and windows can bring in some crucial natural light into the space. If not possible, however, offices need to consider using light therapy devices or natural light bulbs. For a large company office where employees might have no control over the general lighting, it is better for workers to bring their own lamps.


Studies show that colors can affect a person’s mood and behavior. Employers should take advantage of the positive effects of colors in a workplace. Painting the wall with colors that are calming, for example, can help improve an employee’s focus and productivity.

Here are some colors that will fit in an office setting:

Pink helps reduce feelings of aggression, irritation, and loneliness.

Red helps increase blood flow and heart rate while improving both energy and attention.

Orange helps boost enthusiasm and self-esteem.

Yellow increases creativity, alertness, productivity, and clarity.

Green helps promote efficiency and also aids in decreasing fatigue.

Blue is for enhancing feelings of stability, trust, calmness and confidence. It also encourages both focus and creativity.

Comfortable furniture

Besides lighting and colors, an employee’s productivity depends on how well their body can carry their performance. A long tiring day at work can cause headaches or back and muscle pains. Carpal tunnel is a total downer.

It is important therefore for companies to invest time, effort and money into selecting office furniture that will let the employees work comfortably.

Here are some quick ergonomic checks for the office furniture.

  • Desk

When buying a new desk, employers need to make sure that the desk is the ideal height. An employee’s feet must be flat and firm resting on the floor. Of course, employees can adjust the height of their seat, but it is better to plan these things ahead of time.

  • Chair

A comfortable office chair must have armrests. The armrest should be at par with the shoulders for it to relax and for the elbows to bend at least 90 degrees. Also, to minimize back pains and reduce pressure on the spine, it is best to use a slightly reclined chair.

  • Computer screen

For the computer screen, it's important that the eyes be 24-36 inches away from the monitor. Also, make sure that the top of the computer screen is below or at the eye-level.

Minimize clutter

Clutter contributes to anxiety, and so it's important that there be an established system within the office for reducing clutter as much as possible. You can create color-coded folders and files or establish organizational routines for each person to help organize documents. This can also help with time management and organization of tasks.

Employees must be responsible for getting rid of their own paper clutter. Companies can use the “touch it once” system. It is a system where an employee picks up a file or paper, and then decides what to do with it. Employees can either toss it, file it, trash it or shred it.


Productivity in the office is central to an organization's success, and one of the biggest factors that can affect an employee’s mood and performance is their surroundings. Be sure not to overlook the importance of environment. If you want to encourage productivity, design for it.

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