Financial Fix

Productivity increases when you have a well-designed, appealing office space.

Sponsored by Vantage West.

The next time you walk into your business, challenge yourself to see it through fresh eyes, as though it was the first time you have ever set foot inside the building. Do you see a well-organized office with focused employees working comfortably in their workspaces? Do you see an enterprise customers find welcoming? If you see room for improvement, there are some good reasons to take action. Studies show a well-designed, aesthetically pleasing office has been proven to increase productivity. 

Post-World War II, the open office concept took hold across America. Designed by efficiency experts in the 1950s, open office space was where repetitive tasks such as typing and clerking were performed. Desks were placed side-by-side in rows, and the constant clatter of typewriters filled the air. However, Office Landscape, as it was originally called, was not conducive to creativity or work requiring concentration. Those jobs were conducted in smaller spaces, usually with doors to shut out the din.

Although computers and software revolutionized repetitive tasks, the open office space concept continued to grow in popularity. Silicon Valley start-ups ushered in the Egalitarian Office, where C-level executives located their desks alongside everyone else. Some found the experience to fall short of its utopian notion of sharing information and ideas. CEOs needed more privacy to discuss confidential matters, employees felt restricted from fully expressing ideas during creative meetings, and noise proved to be a constant distraction.

According to Gale Moutrey, Vice President of Steelcase, a major manufacturer of office furniture, walls and doors are not coming back. Their research shows workers are happiest when they have a selection of places to work, depending on what they are doing. Ideally, offices should accommodate individual workspaces free from distraction, collaborative space for groups, and private conference space where confidentiality is maintained. Allowing tasks to be completed in a way employees find most agreeable with their work style caters to all workers of different generations—from millennials to baby boomers. 

One of the goals of the open office concept was to provide more natural light for workers. People who work in windowless offices score lower on quality of life measures related to physical problems and vitality than those exposed to natural light in their workplace. This is according to a study titled, Impact of Workplace Daylight Exposure on Sleep, Physical Activity and Quality of Life, conducted by researchers at the Interdepartmental Neuroscience program at Northwestern University. The windowless group also reported poorer outcomes on measures of overall sleep quality, sleep efficiency, sleep disturbances, and daytime dysfunction.

Last year, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported 35% of Americans are not getting enough sleep on a regular basis. Human circadian rhythms, also known as our internal clocks, take their cues from natural light/dark cycles. The more exposure to natural light workers receive, the better they will be in sync with natural wake/sleep cycles. Could it be that Tucson’s abundance of sunshine gives your company an edge in the marketplace? Maybe so.

Decisions on how to update your office should reflect the unique corporate culture you and your employees have created. Tucson offers many options for business owners considering such a move, including planning and design services, business furniture rental, and asset management. 

Even if your customers never see your office, the quality of work produced by employees who work in an organized workspace, designed to create and execute their best efforts, will always be noticed and appreciated. Ultimately, you can be confident that by creating workspace that’s both visually appealing and highly functional, your business will stand to benefit from productive employees who are focused on serving your customers’ needs. 

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This article was provided by a Vantage West Credit Union guest writer.  Rene Almazan will return to the Financial Fix next month. Vantage West Credit Union, a $1.7-billion financial institution in Arizona, which serves a growing membership of more than 145,000 via branches across Arizona and online channels, as well. Vantage West offers consumer and business banking services, and is federally insured by NCUA.