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Environmental Factors Impacting Employee Efficiency

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When it comes to the efficiency of your employees, you want to do everything you can to help them out. After all, happy employees mean productive employees, which inevitably caters to your bottom line. But if you’ve already done all you can with creating a great culture and embracing new technologies for employee efficiency, you have to wonder – what else can I do? The answer might be as simple as providing them with the perfect surroundings. Check out these environmental factors that could be impacting your employee efficiency and you may consider changing your office environment.

Lighting
This is a hard one to balance. Too much light is harsh and can trigger headaches in your employees, but too little light can cause eye strain. Both can be detrimental to user focus as well. How do you balance it? Natural light is the best option. Windows are a huge determinant of employee satisfaction. If your more interior offices don’t have access to natural lighting, it may be time to consider a renovation. While it seems silly to start serious construction work based on lighting, the benefits don’t stop at productivity. Natural lighting means less expenses on interior lighting (approximately $50,000 per year was saved by a post office in Nevada after their renovation).

Temperature
Working in an office that’s too cold or uncomfortably hot is a major distraction. During winter, you want the office to be warm enough that everyone is comfortable, and during summer you want to be sure that you’re cooling the office without freezing out your employees from efficiency. While there is conflicting evidence between studies as to what the “perfect” temperature is, the studies agree that employees are most productive (98% to be exact) between 66 and 77 degrees. Any higher or lower than that and employee productivity is significantly impacted.

Noise
This is a very important factor, since many offices are embracing an open-concept, collaborative environment. It is true that the level of noise in an office relates directly to productivity. Researchers from Cornell University found that increased levels of epinephrine existed in office workers exposed to low levels of noise as compared to workers in a quiet environment. Just like extreme temperatures, noise has an impact on stress levels and should be a consideration when executives are choosing office layouts. White noise machines can be a perfect way to balance background noise in an open space.

Color
Here’s another interesting one – color impacts productivity as well. While you should consider the purpose of a room and who it houses before you choose colors (for example, blues are perfect for those who need to stimulate their mind – like accountants or developers), you also want to balance this information with which colors are the most effective for boosting productivity. Blue stimulates the mind, green evokes a relaxed mood, white makes people optimistic, red stimulates while yellow enhances concentration. Based on these concepts and the purpose of your areas, you can choose how to decorate your office based on your needs.

It might seem a little extreme to go tearing down walls, putting in white noise machines and pulling paint swatches based on how productive you want your employees to be – but when you’ve already taken all of the necessary steps from a technology and culture perspective, this is a great place to move on to.