Is Your Office Designed for Maximum Productivity?

Last Updated Oct 2, 2008 11:16 AM EDT

521083416_f473b2370f_m.jpgIs your office design helping you get the most out of your staff? Recent research has shown that the typical business focus on office costs rather than aesthetics could cost you in lost productivity.

A survey by top architectural firm Gensler found that 90 percent of office workers believed that better design could lead to better performance. They said they could increase their work output, on average, by 21 percent with a better office environment. In addition, nearly half said they'd be willing to work longer hours in a better workplace design.

Want real costs? The study estimates that poor workplace design costs U.S. businesses at least $330 billion in lost productivity per year.

This doesn't mean you have to completely scrap what you've got now. Even simple changes, like ensuring good lighting and providing adequate daylight, can reduce absenteeism and improve productivity. But taking a critical look at the office environment and committing to an upgrade can pay dividends in happier and more productive workers.

Want to build a better office? Five steps will get you on the right road.

  1. Size up your current space. Analyze layout, usage and workarounds -- e.g., employees meet in a coffee shop because there isn't good common space.
  2. Involve your employees in a redesign. Find out what they need up front and keep them in the loop.
  3. Decide on goals. Figure out what priorities you want your redesign to address -- increased collaboration? Improved productivity? Better use of space?
  4. Consider relocation vs. redesign. Given the project scope, time and budget, is it better to reinvent your existing space or to move?
  5. Keep making adjustments. In the long term, tweak your design as needed and continue to solicit feedback.
If you need some inspiration, check out BNet's image gallery of best and worst workplace design.

(image by ste3ve via Flickr, CC 2.0)

  • CC Holland

    CC Holland is a writer and editor whose work has appeared in the Los Angeles Times, the San Francisco Chronicle, and a number of national magazines. Online, she was a columnist for and writes regularly for and BNET. On the other side of the journalism desk, she's been a managing editor for ZDNet, CNet, and KCBS-TV in Los Angeles, where she earned an APTRA Best News Web Site award.