5 Ways to Use Your Environment to Increase Your Startup’s Productivity

Productivity tips are all the rage. The limited attention span of humans has ensured that we’re constantly trying to do and fit in more work in less time.

As a result, there has been a spike in the creation of tools to help you increase productivity and even motivation. From a tool like RescueTime to help you track time so you can determine and stop activities wasting your time, to a took like USPhoneBook to help you spot potentially time-wasting calls; there’s probably a tool for almost anything you can think of.

But it’s not always about tools. You can improve productivity by focusing on your startup’s environment before going tool-crazy. Here are some ways you can do this:

1. Change your startup’s location.

Startups change locations for several reasons, most of which are not even related to productivity. For example, it could be to reach or enter new markets, to lower costs of running the business, or just for an upgrade to allow space for more office equipments.

 But even if you’re not changing locations primarily to boost productivity, it can still have that effect. For example, if your current offices are small with little room for employees to get up and stretch periodically, employees may benefit from the extra space of a new office. Apart from that, bigger offices are often more comfortable and can stimulate productivity.

While research has shown that comfort can affect productivity, changing locations may not increase productivity for everyone at your startup since comfort is relative and can be independent of office space for some employees. Also, changing location may not even work out for your startup business-wise too, but it’s an option, and it’s one worth considering.

2. Have a spare office.

This is another advantage of changing your startup’s location, that is, if the new location is a size upgrade on the former. And it doesn’t necessarily need to be an office since a conference room can serve this purpose too.

If you’re using open space offices for your startup, a spare office or conference room can help employees who need to focus and get serious work done. For others who work better in quieter environments, a spare office can also help them get more done when they need to. According to the BBC, workers are 15 percent less productive and have trouble concentrating in open office spaces.

And that’s not even mentioning the constant disruptions an employee may face from coworkers while probably working on a tight deadline or on a project that needs lots of creativity. Research has shown that 58 percent of high-performing employees need more quiet work spaces. So this option could be the answer to some of your employees’ productivity woes.

3. Change the office layout and colors.

Look closely at the layout of office furniture or other office equipments. Ensure that they are in good working condition and also comfortable for employees.

Encourage employees to personalize the layout of their office space. The following suggestions can be helpful:

  • Keeping any tools needed for work within reach, preferably at arm’s length reach.
  • Adding personal effects to their space to  bridge the disconnect between work and their person. This can include using family or pet pics as screensaver or having it in a frame on their desk.

Personal effects will differ from employee to employee, so be flexible with what you approve in the company.

The right colors trigger the right moods in people. Again, this will vary from person to person, but according to studies conducted by Hawaii University, here are some things you should keep in mind:

  • Green and Blue: Green rests the eyes and reduces anxiety. Blue reduces stress by lowering the blood pressure and heart rates.
  • Yellow and Orange: They cause feelings of warmth and happiness.
  • : It evokes feelings of sterility and cleanliness.  
  • : It increases respiration, heart rate, and brain activity.

Color psychologist Angela Wright recommends red for manual labour, green for focus, blue for mind work, and yellow for creativity. You may keep that in mind when deciding what colours to paint your offices.

4. Use air fresheners or plants for scents.

A study by The Society of American Florists in collaboration with the Texas A&M University research team showed that problem-solving skills and creativity improved in workplaces with flowers and plants.

Having plants indoors can help reduce stress, freshen the air, and boost productivity. In fact, some plants are even known to have different effects on different tasks. For example, a plant might be good for a “performance task” but not suitable for a “concentration task.”

Apart from the psychological benefits, there’s the aesthetics--plants add beauty to the office space and makes the area more pleasing to the eyes.

5. Maintain optimal temperature in offices.

If you’re anything like me, then you can’t do much in a cold environment. In other words, you’re less productive at lower temperatures.

A study from Cornell tested different office temperatures at an insurance company in Florida. They found that employees made 44% more mistakes at 20 degrees Celsius than they did at optimal room temperature of 25 degrees Celsius.

When you are cold, your body uses up a lot of energy trying to keep you warm. This means you spend less energy towards whatever tasks you have at hand in a cold environment. And that’s not mentioning the discomfort of working in a cold environment too.

Warmer environments enhances productivity. And some studies have also shown that it makes people happier, thus indirectly enhancing job satisfaction of your employees. Keep your office space warm enough for employees.