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What The Most Productive Office Designs Have in Common

According to a report provided by Science Daily, the average worker spends more than 5.5 hours each day behind a desk.

During those 5.5 hours, managers and the workers they lead want to make the most of their time. But when the workspace is uncomfortable or distracting, workers aren’t able to perform at their best.

A recent study by CNN showed that it takes a worker 23 minutes to get back on task after each distraction. That’s a lot of wasted time and lost productivity.

That’s why many companies look to office design specialists to help create workspaces that are aesthetically pleasing and also functional.

In the years we’ve spent in the industry, there are a few things we’ve found the most productive work environments have in common.

Invisible elements essential to creating a productive office design

Balanced temperature

Maybe you remember being in a meeting or conference room where attendees had to fan themselves just to stay awake? Or a bullpen where folks were forced to use space heaters or overdose on coffee and tea just to keep warm?

It’s no secret that temperature affects a person’s ability to focus and be productive.

Being cold is particularly tough on efficiency. One study found a significant increase in work accuracy when temperatures were adjusted from 68 to 77 degrees.

Good lighting

Though particularly common in an office setting, fluorescent lights are, in fact, directly linked to eye strain. Natural lighting can be used instead to help boost productivity.


Branding often plays a key role in designating office colors. But don’t forget to consider these points:

  • Research shows that blue stimulates the brain, yellow inspires creativity and green calms.
  • Color and lighting work together — a brighter spectrum lends itself to analysis, while dimmer environments encourage creativity.

Noise control

“Open offices” are all the buzz – literally. They’re modern, and they’re noisy. Studies suggest that prolonged exposure to noise impairs reading comprehension and many other common tasks.

The best office designs, then, are physically comfortable. But they’re also designed to allow workers to move seamlessly between different types of tasks — both those that require collaboration with colleagues and ones that call for quiet concentration.

Best layout for productive office design

Hybrid offices

Hybrids offer the best of both worlds. Flexibility is the name of the game for the break-out spaces trending in Europe. And they’re catching on here, too, as part of the hybrid revolution.

A hybrid office includes both an open area and private spaces. Each type of space is properly outfitted for functionality.

Since the open office area is for collaboration, it makes sense to equip this part of the office with informal conferencing spaces, small lounge areas and mobile chairs on wheels for easy repositioning.

You may also want to include plenty of dry erase surfaces, too, to allow for on-the-spot collaboration. Tables and other surfaces may even be painted with IdeaPaint so that workers may record their ideas no matter where they are.

The hybrid office’s private spaces, on the other hand, should be a place where workers can escape noise and other distractions to accomplish tasks that require quiet thinking. Include plenty of touchdown stations with places to recharge phones and laptops. That way, workers have everything they need to sit right down, plug in and get the job done.

Flexible Furniture

In addition to “break out” spaces, the idea of “hot desking” is also making its way across the Atlantic, where the focus is increasingly on flexible-use spaces. Instead of workstations belonging to one person, it’s all about functionality. Stations can be shared by various workers at different times of the day.

For hot desking to be successful, you’ll want to be sure to carefully choose office furnishings that suit your purpose. Multi-purpose furnishings, for instance, allow you to use your space in a variety of ways, depending on who’s in the office on any given day. This may include mobile furniture that allows for quick repositioning.

Comfortable Furniture

Comfortable workers don’t think about whether they’re comfortable or not; they’re too busy working. And there’s no reason for workers to be distracted by pain and bad posture when there are so many ergonomically-conscious seating solutions out there.

It’s true that a countless number of factors affect office productivity, but the above is a great place to start.

Have you calculated how much your office space is costing you in productivity? Want to talk about how to fix it?

From choosing the right colors to user-friendly furniture, a skilled office design consultant at Connecting Elements can help your business design a workspace that gets the job done…productively. Contact us today.

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