Do This One Thing to Improve Productivity

By Chelsea Carter

Productivity:  The effectiveness of productive effort, especially in industry, as measured in terms of the rate of output per unit of input.  

How do you increase your output, with as little input as possible? We’ve looked at the latest research and it all points towards one thing...

It’s Physical

Ricky Gervais immortalised the way we all view the traditional office with his groundbreaking comedy series. Largely shot in beiges, greys and browns, it’s obvious that colour can seriously affect us. A study by the University of Hawaii recently found that while brown can make workers less active, red often has an opposite effect. It overstimulates workers and prevents their ability to concentrate. Large offices have a lot to answer for - a study in the Scandinavian Journal of Work suggests big isn’t always better. Typically, there is more noise which causes distraction, less oxygen and more carbon dioxide preventing our ability to think clearly, and finally more illness - who hasn’t picked up an office cold in their lifetime?

It’s Psychological

It’s not just the physical aspects of the office that prevent us from working productively - it’s psychological too. A study by office designers, Identity Realization Ltd. gave employees £10 to spend on flowers of their choice to brighten up the office. The value of their annual output increased by a huge 15%. Therefore, if they usually made £10,000 then their output would have increased to £11,500 - at the cost of a £10 input. The reason behind this is familiarity. When our environments change, so do our mind sets, in order to think out the box, indeed, one must leave the box. The Cambridge Strategy Centre are experts in helping people think differently, director Gareth Coombs takes his clients such as Bacardi and General Mills to unusual and unexpected places in order to help them think differently. This is because our brains have yet to develop a psychological strategy for how to handle a new environment, meaning we need to think creatively.

It’s All About Control and Variety

So what does all this research suggest? Our environment really does affect our productivity. A study in 2005 suggested that it can affect our productivity by as much as 20% - meaning that 4 days work in a good workspace is the equivalent to 5 days in a poor workspace. Secondly, the evidence suggests that a variety of different spaces triggers creative thinking and enables workers to think outside the box - both physically and psychologically. Finally, studies have shown that giving workers the control to pick their own workspace improves output.

When your output is minimal and you want to increase your productivity, consider your input. What are your surroundings like? Whether you add a splash of colour, a bunch of flowers, or move to a different workspace completely, the research shows that changing your environment could improve your productivity.

Change your environment today. Book an inspiring workspace on Vrumi.

Posted by
Chelsea Carter
On August 10, 2016