How Office Design Affects Productivity

Office Workers

There are several arguments on how to generate productivity in the workplace. Some companies believe that cubicles and closed off work quarters aid productivity, while others believe that working in an open plan environment allows for more creativity and stimulation. Companies like Pixar and Google are renowned for their eccentric offices, but there are classic design tricks that any company can utilise to get the most from their employees.

Here we explore four productivity influencers within the workplace that could work for your business.

Open Wide

The open plan office we know and love today has roots in 1950s Germany, but in other parts of the world people were slower to embrace the open plan office, claiming that its benefits were purely theoretical and unquantifiable.

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Applied workspace theory, on the other hand, has shown that offices that boast an open plan can stimulate creativity and interaction between colleagues. However, studies show that this can also lead to high stress levels and even illness, thanks to the close proximity in which workers coexist together.

Colour Me Beautiful Productive

You probably already know that blue is associated with being a ‘calm’ colour, while red is ‘aggressive’ but did you realise that colour psychology can be applied to the workplace?

Colour has a greater impact on our habits and the way we go about life than many of us realise, and savvy businesses are utilising this knowledge by hiring colour consultants to get the best out of their employees.

Studies show that the wrong colour can strain eyes (white) and cause staff to be ill-tempered, while introducing the right colour to an office can boost enthusiasm (yellow), calm nerves (blue) and stimulate creativity (orange). Colourful artwork, accent walls and even stationery can boost mood and productivity.


Cubicles don’t need to be boring – far from it if these offices are anything to go by – but they can often leave workers feeling isolated. This isolation is not only beneficial for their health, but working in enclosed spaces is also great for productivity levels.

Without the distraction of colleague interaction, cubicle dwellers will work more efficiently, complete tasks to a higher standard and have a greater sense of identity, thanks to having their own personal space to work in. Glass wall panels, bamboo sheets and modular shelving all offer a modern take on the traditional cubicle.

Go Green

A simple and cost effective way of enhancing productivity in the workplace is to go green. Adding plants to the workplace has numerous benefits, including cleaner air, combating noise pollution and lowering stress levels.

In a recent study by Washington State University plants were also shown to have a direct impact on productivity levels by improving responses to tasks and enchaining concentration.

Implement some of these techniques within your office and see the difference in productivity for yourself. What design techniques work for your company?

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