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Productivity

Via Occupational Health & Safety : Five Ways That Natural Light Improves Productivity in the Workplace

Natural light in the workplace affects a number of health aspects like mood, sleep, vitamin D levels, and eye health–and it heightens productivity levels.

Natural light and views of the outdoors are among the most highly-sought workplace perks, according to a study carried out by HR advisory firm, Future Workplace. This same study also revealed that employees sitting closer to windows are more likely to show up for work, and have increased productivity throughout the day compared to those sitting under artificial light.

Find out just how natural light improves productivity in the workplace.

Mood enhancement

Natural light improves your mood. Those impacted by Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) will be familiar with the shift in their frame of mind when the shorter days and darker evenings set in. The reason for this is likely related to the affect that light has on the hypothalamus in the brain, which influences the body’s internal clock and the production of melatonin and serotonin.

Those who are not exposed to a good amount of natural light are more likely to see a drop in their mood, and potentially—as a consequence—their productivity. The same Workplace Wellness study by Future Workplace also found that 38 percent of employees lose 60 minutes of time when their emotional wellness is suffering.

Creativity

Many of those who work in the arts—whether this be writing, painting, singing or other—would agree that natural light is imperative for stimulating creativity. In fact, Irish author George Bernard Shaw was known for commissioning the construction of a well-lit ‘writer’s hut’, which boasted a mechanical turn table inside. The purpose of the table was to move it according to where the light moved, so he would always be exposed to natural light while he wrote.

To take a leaf from Shaw’s book, so to speak, consider the fact that the creativity and productivity of your workforce could vastly be improved with the installation of large windows which would expose employees to as much natural light as possible.

Better Sleep

Another benefit of plenty of natural light is the impact this has on a person’s sleep. A research team at Northwestern University of Chicago concluded that office workers who spent their time below artificial light, with no exposure to natural light, had 46 minutes less sleep than those who worked in an office with windows.

It’s also well-known that more sleep equals higher productivity, because sleep is so important in its restoration of the body and mind. Those who suffer from insomnia often have trouble concentrating, and therefore cannot be as productive as a well-rested person.

Vitamin D

Vitamin D is essential for good health in humans. Natural light is the chief provider of Vitamin D, and those who do not have access to enough natural sunlight can often find that they develop a deficiency. A Vitamin D deficiency can cause problems with bones, teeth, and muscles—all of which can go on to affect other areas of health.

In the workplace, employees who suffer from Vitamin D deficiency may encounter problems with health, which can then go on to impact their productivity. Good overall health and nutrition is needed to boost a person’s ability to concentrate and apply all their efforts to the task at hand.

Eye health

Research undertaken by Professor Alan Hedge at Cornell University in 2017 revealed that office workers reported a 51 percent drop in eyestrain, and a 63 percent drop in headaches, as a result of more exposure to natural light. Eyestrain and headaches can be attributed to a condition known as Computer Vision Syndrome (CVS), which is said to effect 70 million employees across the globe. CVS could potentially be significantly abated with the introduction of more natural light in the workplace.

In regards to employee productivity, fewer instances of eyestrain and eye-related headaches are likely to decrease the number of breaks an employee needs to take away from the screen. Plus, improved eye health will enable them to better concentrate on their work and maintain a good production rate.

Considering the significant impacts that such a simple thing as natural light can have on a workforce, it is clear that employers should try to achieve this in their workplace if possible. In addition to the productivity and health benefits, remember that natural light is by far the cheaper option for lighting your office in comparison to artificial light.

Via Business : How to Increase Productivity at Your Workplace

By implementing these 9 changes, your business can improve employee productivity.

People usually have a dedicated workspace or office because they find they work much more efficiently without the distractions of home. In some circumstances, it also allows for a better work/life balance, as the home is for family life and downtime, whereas the office is purely a place for work. Working from home can often blur these lines.

Office spaces can – and ideally should – be crafted to improve the productivity of each individual employee, by designing the workplace better. An article in Inc. mentions that practical office design solutions tend to help workers focus more.

However, functional design is only one-half of the equation. Businesses also need to include a methodology for helping workers find mental peace. The modern world is increasingly hectic, and workers that have their minds focused on other things can’t function at peak performance levels. Companies can incorporate several things, both in their design, and to promote positive office culture, to help their employees enjoy their jobs. Here we explore some of the measures that businesses can put in place to help their employees be more productive.

Build off the company’s mission

A mission statement, as Shopify informs us, is a pure expression of a company’s existence. The business’s purpose, however, doesn’t always translate well to the employee’s goal of doing his or her job. By incorporating the company’s mission into the everyday workings of an office, a business can promote its reason for existing alongside what it needs from its hires. Harvard Business Review notes that when employees have a sense of purpose, they are usually far more productive. Individual goals tend to allow for more self-motivation in getting work done.

Incorporate individual and collective achievements

Employees are individuals, but most companies seem to overlook this fact. As a business grows, it’s unlikely that individuals remain working by themselves. When projects scale up, work teams need to do the same to cope with the workload. As the company has already given employees their own sense of purpose, the next step is to bring individuals together to provide a working environment that focuses on the overall goals of the business. However, these goals also help individuals pinpoint the targets they need to achieve from a specific project.

Collective achievements can only be obtained if everyone is mature in how they approach the project. A company that’s operating on a team-based system needs to have project planning in place so that everyone is aware of what others are doing. Alongside project planning, weekly meetings that help employees pinpoint their short-term goals can keep the system moving and offer milestones that motivate employees. Finally, feedback among team members is essential. The marketing agency Distilled mentions that it considers feedback to be the most critical factor in creating a good team. Without proper feedback, communication suffers and causes the entire team to fail.

Include psychological cues to boost work productivity

Psychology has shown several ways in which the things that surround an employee could affect his or her mental state. To this end, a business could consider using these psychological cues to help employees increase their focus. Among the elements that a company can incorporate include:

  • Music. A study in the Journal of Consumer Research mentioned that music at around 60-70 decibels created a more conducive environment for people working on both monotonous and creative tasks.
  • Plants. The New University of Technology Sydney stated that plants may have a beneficial effect on the mental state of employees within an office environment.
  • Lighting. Interior lighting can have a significant effect on the mood of individuals within an office space, according to designer Stanley Felderman, as quoted in a blog post for The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill’s Kenan-Flagler Business School.

Change the background a bit

Office work can be dreary. It doesn’t matter if you’re working out of a cubicle, or have an office rental in Sydney, eventually changing the scenery is necessary to get productivity to its peak level. Changing landscape doesn’t necessarily mean offering an employee a chance to work from home for one or two days. It can be achieved by making the break more inviting or by creating “living nooks” around the office that offer something better than a desk and chair to get work done on. Some employees are far better at working on a couch than in a cubicle.

Encourage employees to help each other

Human beings are social animals, and ever since they existed in tribes, the natural inclination is towards helping others. Proof Hub notes that collaboration helps to make a company more efficient and gives a more equitable distribution of work across all segments. Collaboration takes multiple methodologies, including brainstorming, cross-document collaboration, or picking up projects where other employees get stranded. Additionally, this sort of partnership fosters teamwork and a more united attitude towards the job.

Offer workers the tools they require

Modern workplaces can provide a wide array of the necessary equipment to get work done. Software is a prominent part of this structure. Most companies have an inventory of computers that are loaded with the software they want their employees to use. Keeping these assets up to date ensures that employees can get the job done when they need to. Updating hardware and software also means ensuring that these updates are timely.

It can be tempting to give employees more software than they need on a system, especially if the employee is a multi-tasker. Instead of it helping the situation, it could lead to the employee getting sidetracked on jobs and responsibilities that are not theirs. Keeping workstations focused can help to keep employees fixed on a project as well.

Don’t forget to take a timeout

Business Insider mentioned that breaks fuel better productivity in employees. The tipping point, according to work done by the Draugiem Group, is around 52 minutes of work to 17 minutes of rest time. The most critical element mentioned in the study was that these 17 minutes needed to be spent away from the computer for it to have a better effect on the employee. Relocating to a new room or a water cooler would be an ideal method for implementing these breaks. To keep fit and help to exercise some muscles, employees could consider taking that 17-minute break to stretch a bit.

Make achievements public and celebrate them

While some employees aren’t a fan of having their work celebrated, doing so helps them to see that their work is appreciated. The Houston Chronicle recommends developing an employee recognition program that outlines the benefits the employee has presented to the company. Celebrating achievements offers employees the chance to enjoy the fruits of their labor in the short term. The achievement might not be an essential goal, but it does constitute a milestone. It is important to remember that this celebration needs to be genuine, or else the feeling it gives to an employee could be compromised by the sense of insincerity.

Appreciation is the key to productivity

A productive office doesn’t need a lot to maintain its efficiency. The workers are a competent bunch, and with the right incentives and celebration of their successes, the company culture can fuel even higher productivity. Office design contributes to the overall productivity of employees, but companies shouldn’t spend too much time focusing on the physical aspects of their business’s layout. Instead, focus on the creation of a company culture that welcomes all, and celebrates them as people and individuals, not just as cogs within a machine.

Via Verdict : Productivity drain: 60% of work is about work, survey finds

From email to spreadsheets, there are many ways in which technology has made our working lives easier. But new research suggests that technology doesn’t always mean that we are working smarter, resulting in a drain on workplace productivity.

A survey of more than 10,000 office workers across the UK, US, Japan, Australia, New Zealand and Germany found that more than 60% of their time is spent doing work about their work. That includes searching emails, talking about projects and sitting in meetings.

This means that just 27% of knowledge workers’ time is spent doing the job they were actually hired to do – a huge drain on workplace productivity.

The survey, published by work management platform Asana, highlights a problem unique to the knowledge economy, an economic model where growth is tied to the quality and quantity of information – rather than the means of production.

Duplicated work drains workplace productivity

Paradoxically, despite workers being better connected than any time in history, a large chunk is of work is being accidentally duplicated. Globally, each worker wastes 4 hours and 38 minutes per week doing work that’s already been done.

Contrary to Germany’s reputation as being highly efficient, the survey showed its workers spent the most time on average doing duplicate work – five hours and nine minutes per week, or 270 hours per year.

In the UK, five hours and five minutes per week spent doing work that has already been done, or 30 days per year.

And around the world, respondents said that two-thirds of meetings are unnecessary and a waste of time and a further drain on productivity.

Technology has made it easier than ever to work remotely and at any time of day, but that has resulted in 30% of workers often or always working lake. That’s despite research suggesting the ‘always on’ work culture of checking ‘one more email’ has been shown to negatively impact worker’s health.

“Despite having more ways to communicate and collaborate than ever before, the majority of teams are still turning to antiquated tools like email and spreadsheets that were never designed to synchronise work,” said Dustin Moskovitz, CEO of Asana.

“As a result, they’re spending more time managing the chaos of coordination rather than on the actual job they’ve been hired to do. We believe this represents a tremendous opportunity for teams to streamline their processes and better orchestrate their work — ultimately giving them valuable time back in their day to focus on what matters most.”

Via Askmen : 11 Easy Ways to Increase Productivity in the Workplace

Sometimes, finding steady motivation in the workplace can be tough – whether you’ve become complacent in your current position, have too much going on, or simply haven’t been sleeping well… There are endless reasons why you may need a boost in productivity to get through the day.

What’s more, being able to maintain consistent productivity is a little known hack to getting things done well. Instead of having a peaks-and-valleys style workflow, being consistently productive will help take your business or work life to the next level.

We tapped into the mindset of CEOs and business owners to get their best tips on staying productive at work – and some of them will surprise you.

Take Advantage of Email Folders

Most professionals can probably relate to an overflowing email inbox that can be difficult to manage, especially when you’re on the road traveling for business. Matthew Ross, co-owner and COO of one of the leading sleep websites, says, “to stay organized and productive, I utilize over a dozen different folders. Every email I receive, I promptly move it to a specific folder to make sure it doesn’t get neglected. Not only does this help keep me organized but it also helps me prioritize which emails I should be responding to first.” He says you can even set certain rules for folders to automate the process depending on which platform you use.

Switch Up Your Workstation

“I recently purchased a desk bike that has helped improve my productivity in the afternoons,” says Ross. “Essentially, it’s just like the exercise bike you would find at your gym except it has a desktop that extends upwards for your laptop. I don’t use it all day obviously but it’s definitely nice to get up from my normal desk and cycle a little bit in the afternoon after eating lunch.”

Let’s face it, we’ve all been there before – you eat lunch and then you suddenly feel like you need to take a nap once 1 or 2 p.m. rolls around. “Luckily, the exercise desk helps me wake up and relieve stress while still getting work done.”

Use Your Earphones to Your Advantage

“When someone on our team wears headphones or earphones, we’re not allowed to disturb him/her. It means he/she wants to be focused and concentrated on what they do, whether it’s coding, designing, copywriting or else,” says Jonathan Aufray, co-founder and CEO at Growth Hackers. This is a polite and simple social cue that will help you stay focused without distraction – even if you’re not listening to anything.

Write a Mindful To-Do List

“At the beginning of each week, we recommend (it’s optional, not compulsory but almost everyone does it as it helps them) our team members make a to-do list on the things they want to achieve by the end of the week,” says Aufray. “We do the same with smaller, daily to-do lists. This allows people to set small milestones and see what they’ve achieved.”

It may also be helpful to take a look at the length of your to-do list before getting started. If it’s too long, you may get lost in the small tasks. Try to only include the top tasks you want to get done.

Work from Home!

While some people think that working from home means daytime TV, afternoon naps and a general lack of motivation, Aufray says it’s actually quite the opposite if it’s a regular routine. “Remote work isn’t for everyone but there are many people who are more productive when they work from home,” says Aufray. “Whether it’s from a coffee shop or from elsewhere, working remotely for up to three days per week will result in more productivity and a clearer mindset.”

Pick a Desk Near the Window

According to HBR, almost half of employees feel tired due to the absence of natural light at their office. So, daylight seems to have a major influence on productivity. “If your work desk is far from the window and there’s no way you can change that, you should at least try to compensate for the lack of sunlight by using a bright lamp,” says John Breese, founder and CEO of HappySleepyHead.

Take Naps at Work (Yes, Really!)

Most people have a one-hour break in the middle of their day and use it for lunch. However, according to Breese, 15-20 minutes should be more than enough to have lunch, so the rest of your break can be dedicated to a quick nap. Even sleeping for only half an hour may increase your productivity immensely.

Avoid Multitasking

“Focusing on one thing at a time is a better way to manage your time than trying to juggle multiple tasks at once,” says Sacha Ferrandi, founder and principal of Texas Hard Money and Source Capital Funding. “As a business owner, it can sometimes be difficult not to get wrapped up in multiple things at a time, which can actually lead to a decrease in productivity and performance.” Allowing yourself to give your full attention to the task at hand will bring greater success in your personal life and your business’.

Take a Walk

Take a break and a deep breath after completing a task before reviewing your work. “Get up from your desk, stretch out and maybe take a walk to the restroom or water cooler,” says Chane Steiner, CEO of Crediful. “Let your mind reset prior to reviewing your work. This process is almost like having a second set of eyes reviewing your work. There’s a good chance it alters your perspective and you may find revisions are necessary that would have otherwise been overlooked.”

Surround Yourself with Productive People

You’ve probably heard it many times: you are the average of the five people you spend the most time with. “If you hang around unproductive people who waste their days away, guess what? It will rub off on you,” says Thomas R. Harris, owner of The Exceptional Skills. “Instead, hang around productive people, and it will push you to be more productive.”

Learn to Say “No”

Harris suggests that saying yes to one thing is saying no to another. When you say yes to everyone’s requests, you are saying no to the more important tasks that you have to do. Be helpful, but limit what you say yes to.

Via Real Business : How workplace design drives productivity for employees of all ages

There are many ways in which businesses can design their workspace to boost productivity and attract talent, while also keeping costs to a minimum. However, it’s understandable that business owners can be a little nervous about how to cater to the preferences of employees from a variety of different generations all in one space. Here are some tips to make a start…

The workspace of today has evolved far beyond the conventional office portrayed in popular culture, which are typically comprised of sterile white cubicles and grey carpet tiles. What has remained the same, however, is the desire to utilise the space to encourage productivity among employees.

Employee habits are changing, including the way they work and collaborate. With productivity levels in offices across the UK falling to an all-time low, it’s now essential for businesses to create a workspace that fosters productivity and collaboration among its employees.

How do you cater for different generations – all in one workspace?

By 2020, the global workforce is expected to be dominated by Millennials (22-37 years old) (35%) and Generation X (38-53 years old) (35%), with baby boomers (54-72 years old) accounting for 6%. With this in mind, designing workspaces to meet the needs of all generations of the workforce can be challenging, costly and time-consuming.

Avoid dangerous assumptions about certain generations

Attitudes towards work-life balance have shifted considerably over the last decade. While the assumption may be that Millennials and Generation Z employees’ value work-life balance most, research suggests 94% of baby boomers also want a flexible work schedule that provides quality of life.

Whether a business is expanding, refurbishing an existing office or relocating, flexibility must be built into the heart of every workspace. While the assumption may be that trends like hot desking embrace flexibility, research has shown that the lack of ownership of a space can make employees feel less valued as a result.

One size fits no-one

To create a productive and successful workplace, office design must move beyond generalisations and recognise that one size does not fit all. Designing an office to promote optimum efficiency is about creating the space and work environment that incorporates the right tools needed to meet the unique needs of your organisation.

As a result, businesses relocating offices to accommodate their design requirements should take into consideration how each of their employees approach their work.

Today’s employees are used to working in a variety of different spaces to suit their task. In settings where a combination of individual and collaborative work is required, activity-based working can provide far greater flexibility, while increasing productivity and collaboration.

Organisations embracing activity-based working should create versatile areas for employees to work at through the day, according to their task. This includes designated meeting areas, secluded spaces for quiet time and concentration and breakout spaces.

Breakout spaces

Introducing a designated area for employees to meet and socialise away from the main office creates a ‘home from home’ feel, while fostering a workplace culture that promotes creative thinking and employee wellbeing.

Breakout areas do not need to take up excessive space, and can be created on a low budget. Businesses can enhance their existing space by simply fitting comfortable furniture, such as sofas and tables, which work to enhance the interaction between employees and provide a space for ad-hoc meetings and brainstorming sessions.

Maximise private spaces

When relocating offices, it’s important to consider that while the open-plan workplace may work for some, there are still a substantial number of office workers across all ages that prefer private areas to maximise efficiency when working individually.

Workplaces operating within creative industries, where interaction and team-work is encouraged, are more likely to benefit from open plan offices. However, offices without private areas can be particularly problematic in workplaces that require high levels of concentration or frequent telephone contact, such as in financial, technological and contact centre environments.

Installing segregating panels on desks can reduce distractions and background noise, while also offering employees a sense of privacy. By offering this option, businesses can reap the collaborative benefits of the open plan, without sacrificing productivity.

Add some colour to the workday

More businesses are viewing their office space as a strategic component of a business plan than ever before. Colour schemes are an example of how businesses are communicating their brand values through their workspace, while leaving a lasting impression on clients.

Bright colours bring life to a workspace, whether by reinforcing your brand identity or by creating a personality, a unique feel and atmosphere for every area and space.

Under a traditional model, businesses are highly restricted in how they can design their office to communicate their brand values. Additionally, the possibility that businesses may need to expand, reduce, reallocate or relocate their workforce can be extremely costly and entirely impractical.

With flexible managed office models like Managed Office Solutions (MOS), office design is determined by the occupier and not the provider, and can be bespoke to the business’s requirements. This integrated approach manages each component of the process, while providing the expert knowledge that most organisations don’t have internally.

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