Workplace design is important

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This free article by Derek Stockley highlights the importance of good workspace design as part of creating a productive and positive workplace.

Meeting employee requirements is critical

To be productive, people need the right tools in the right place. The tools of trade will vary, as will the working location.

However, the underlying needs do not change. I am going to use my workspace needs as an example, but the inherent principles apply to all workers.

In an office environment, after safety, my order of priority is:

  • A comfortable and ergonomic chair.

  • A desk or workstation that holds my laptop, phone, printer/fax and provides suitable 'working room'.

  • Easy access to stationery, current files and other resource materials.

  • Suitable heating and cooling in a no-smoking environment.

  • Access to necessary facilities (coffee making, etc.)

  • Low/no noise environment - I often need to concentrate. I know some people need noise (radio, music, etc.), but I am not one of them.

  • Adequate lighting - natural lighting is preferred.

  • Space - I should not feel cramped - there should be room to move about easily.

The accommodation does not have to be luxurious - gold plated fittings do not make any difference to me, apart from the initial novelty factor.

If any of the above listed factors is missing, my performance suffers. An uncomfortable chair has an immediate impact. Lack of working room makes multi-tasking difficult.

Herzberg* classified working conditions as 'hygiene factors'. If adequate, they have a neutral effect on performance. If they are not right, they have a negative impact and performance suffers.

Summary and conclusion

For yourself, make sure your workspace meets your needs. For your staff, ensure that their workspaces are safe, comfortable and efficient. Inadequate facilities have a negative impact on the performance of workplaces.

Related information

* Herzberg Motivational Theory - more information about the hygiene factors theory.

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Derek Stockley conducts public training courses in Melbourne, Sydney, Brisbane and Perth, including a Public Train the Trainer Program.

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