If asked to list the most important elements of a successful company, few business owners would list office aesthetics as one of them. Yet this often-overlooked element of the corporate world has a direct impact on the focus, productivity, creativity, collaboration, and overall happiness of your team. Ideally, your office should be functional, welcoming to visitors and clients, and inspiring employees to do their best work. Even the most creative and productive teams won’t perform at their highest level without the proper environment.

Whether you’re planning a move to a new rental space, building an office from the ground up, or considering some renovations to your current location, understanding the most important components of workspace aesthetics will help you determine how to make positive changes to your office setup. Contemplate this list when working with a realtor or contractor or discussing aesthetic changes with your team.

Aesthetic components for success and productivity

1)    Floor plan

The overall layout of your office space is incredibly important to both the productivity and creativity of your team. Instead of limiting employees to cubicles or offices, consider making different types of workrooms (quiet rooms, team rooms, brainstorming rooms, etc.) available to staff members who need a change of scenery throughout the day. Opt for an open floor plan, which promotes collaboration, but remember to cluster desks around specific teams.

2)    Lighting

A well-lit office space is good, but a naturally lit space is even better. Natural lighting boosts serotonin levels, making employees happier. It delivers vitamin D to your workforce, creating healthier employees. And it uses less energy, leaving your pocketbook fuller. Adding skylights, windows, or glass partitions where walls once stood are great ways to let more light into your office.

3)    Acoustics

Sound can be incredibly distracting when working. Noise from the outside world (traffic, construction, sirens), as well as sounds from within the office walls (the clip-clop of shoes, chitchat, phones ringing, music), can lead many sound-sensitive workers to be less productive and more frustrated. Examine the acoustics of your office space and reorganize in a way that places noisy equipment or high-traffic areas away from private workspaces or quiet rooms. Consider noise-absorbing materials for floors, windows, ceilings, and walls in areas where you would like to limit the travel of sound.

4)    Design

The design of your office should reflect your goals and values as a company; businesses that strive to promote professionalism might opt for a more neutral, minimalist approach to design while those that promote creativity might lean toward bolder colors and modern designs. Research shows that allowing employees to be involved in the design of their personal workspace leads to a more effective working environment. Allowing employees to add photos, plants, artwork, or other personal touches can provide the comfort and motivation necessary to stay focused throughout the day.

Creating your productive office space: new, old, or remodeled

The first step in changing your office space for the better is actually evaluating your current space or real estate options. Ask yourself these questions to begin the discovery process:

  • How much renovating can you do (i.e., what are your spending/space/lease restrictions)?
  • What sounds do you hear while in the space? What can you do to limit distracting sounds from outside and within?
  • How much natural light does the space get at each point of the day? Is there a way to add openings to supplement natural light?
  • What materials are used for the floors throughout the space?
  • Can you consult with someone to ensure you’re properly utilizing your space (a feng shui consultant, an acoustical expert, a lighting and energy professional)?
  • Can you update furniture, lighting, and/or décor to create a more professional, modern, or appealing atmosphere.

The aesthetic of your office space not only reflects your company’s vision to clients, but it also affects the attitudes, focus, and motivation of your employees. A simple consultation with a contractor or others within your company will uncover changes and updates that could be made to your office to help promote a more positive, productive work environment.