When it comes to promoting increased efficiency and productivity at the office, there are a slew of theories about what works best. Some employers think that open floor plans work best for office spaces because they keep workers close together and engender a team atmosphere. Others, meanwhile, believe that segmented workspaces are better for tuning out distractions and promoting a comfortable environment for each individual person. Some businesses believe that consistent group activities and office-wide games help boost morale and therefore productivity. Other employers think that such activities waste too much time.
In other words, if you are looking to establish better business practices for efficiency and productivity, you are going to encounter a lot of contrasting viewpoints. The 5 tips listed below, however, are all well-proven efficiency practices that the vast majority of employers wouldn’t argue against. Bottom line, if you are looking to get your office staff to be more productive on a day-to-day basis, than any of these “efficiency secrets” could be a good place to start.
1. Maximize Natural Light
The simple design of your office space can have a fairly drastic effect on worker efficiency and productivity. It’s common knowledge that natural light, for instance, improves mood, which in turn boosts personal drive, work ethic, and efficiency. In fact, the natural light of an office space can have effects that go far beyond the workplace.
In 2013, the neuroscience program at Northwestern University published a research article in the journal SLEEP suggesting that “workplace daylight exposure” affected everything from sleep quality to overall quality of life. What does this mean for your office space? Ultimately, the more windows, the better!
2. Spice Up the Office with Better Color Choices
Windows and natural light aren’t the only office design choices that can increase the efficiency of your employees. On the contrary, color can also be an aid to worker productivity. The “Colour Affects System,” developed by psychoanalyst Angela Wright, explains how there are “links between patterns of color and patterns of human behavior.”
By reading more about the Wright Theory (click here), you can learn more about the different messages that colors (and color families send). This information can be used to not only create a more stimulating office environment but also a superior brand logo and style.
3. Pay More Attention to Temperature
Some office managers make the mistake of setting the thermostat maybe twice a year and then letting the air or heat run freely for months at a time. Highly heated offices can offer workers a nice relief in the dead of winter while crisp cool air conditioning can feel like a miracle in the dog days of summer. But when the outdoor temperature and weather are milder, you might want to pay a bit more attention to what temperature the thermostat is reading.
Studies from both Men’s Health magazine and Cornell University suggest that cooler temperatures are a particularly big problem. According to Forbes, research from both sources linked workplace temperatures of 68 degrees (Fahrenheit) and below with typing errors and lower efficiency.
So what’s the ideal office temperature? Based on the Men’s Health study, it’s between 71 and 77 degrees. Again, though adjusting the temperature based on the weather outside is a good idea, asking your workers whether they prefer working in a warmer or cooler workplace is also a good indicator.
4. Cut Down on the Number of Meetings
A few meetings each week are always necessary to keep track of workplace goals, execute big projects, or plan for bigger-picture stuff. One-on-one meetings between managers and employees are also important parts of the day-to-day schedule. Many businesses, though, suffer from some serious meeting overload.
Forcing employees to attend 4 or 5 meetings per day is arguably the biggest detriment there is to productivity and efficiency in the office. Indeed, according to a survey done by Salary.com, 47% of responders think meetings are the biggest time-waster in the office. That’s more than office politics (43%), busy work (22%), and internet distractions (18%).
Bottom line, most people do their most efficient work when they can set aside big blocks of time to really “get into the groove.” Breaking up the day with meetings and taking away from the time that workers actually have to do their jobs, therefore, is not the best business practice.
Forbes recommends designating one or two days per week for meetings and giving employees the rest of the week to focus on their individual tasks and projects. Deciding which meetings are truly essential, though, should be your first step.
5. Implement Document Management and Collaboration Software
Maintaining paper files at an office is messy, time-consuming, inconvenient, and wasteful. Paper documents are also easy to lose or misplace, are prone to theft, and take up way more space than the average office can afford to waste.
Pure and simple, keeping paper files is a poor business practice if you are trying to improve the efficiency at your workplace. Implementing an electronic document management system (DMS) is not only more convenient and less space intensive, but it is also more cost-effective and helps to encourage collaboration in the office.
With a DMS like eFileCabinet, you’ll only pay 10 cents per gigabyte to store your files electronically. You will easily be able to search and access files via desktop, mobile, or even the Cloud, while still having plenty of encryption and other security measures in place to keep your sensitive information safe. You can control which employees are authorized to access different files, track the changes that different people make to different documents, and more. Best of all, eFileCabinet stores all of your files redundantly across several servers, ensuring that you will never lose or misplace another document again.
With these 5 secrets to efficiency in place at your office, you will notice drastic increases in employee productivity, mood, morale, and more. Indeed, boosting the efficiency of a workplace means more than making sure that workers are meeting deadlines and completing heavier workloads each day. It also means a happier, healthier workplace, and having that reputation as a great place to work will help you draw the best employee prospects and build a better business overall.
Fill out the contact form on this page to see a 15-minute demo of eFileCabinet DMS software and how it can benefit your business.