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5 Awesome Design Practices to Increase Workplace Productivity

Written by: PeopleKeep Team
February 9, 2015 at 12:00 PM

When you think of workplace productivity, I’ll bet workplace design isn’t the first thing that comes to mind. But, did you know that every aspect of your small business’s design has an impact on the way your employees do their job and behave? In fact, a study revealed that by having an open workspace, 64 percent of employers have not seen ethics violations in the past two years.

So, if workplace design has that much an impact the big question is, what are the best design practices for your small business’s workplace? We’ve put together five practices to help you evaluate how you’re currently doing things, and how you can improve them in order to amp up productivity.

Five Design Practices 5 Awesome Design Practices to Increase Workplace Productivity

Design Practice #1 - Respect Privacy

Take a look at your workplace now. Do your employees have privacy and adequate space to call their own? Now, keep in mind that some types of small businesses don’t have office space for employees (restaurants, mechanic shops, etc.) However, each type of small business can implement a sense of privacy.

To make privacy part of your small business’s workplace, it’s important for you to remember that total seclusion and privacy are two different things. In other words, your employees need to have their private space and still be able to speak to their co-workers without having to leave a confined workplace to do so.

The solution? For an office, choose large desks or low-wall cubicles with locking drawers and ample space for each employee to feel they can make it their own. In workplaces without desks, set aside an area where you can put in large lockers.

As you make privacy a priority in your small business’s workplace, you’ll begin to see that your employees feel respected. When employees have a private space for their personal belongings, they feel more comfortable and safe - increasing productivity.

Design Practice #2 - Choose Colors Carefully

Did you know that color affects mood? For your workplace, choose blues and greens if you want a calm atmosphere. However, keep in mind that if you have too much of blue and green, you may inhibit high energy needed to keep employees motivated throughout the day.

You can add a small amount of red, orange, or yellow in your workplace to increase energy flow and enhance your employees’ productivity. Keep in mind that an entire workplace filled with red can convey aggression and anger, while too much orange or yellow can create a lot of socializing.

Choose a good balance of these colors to convey the right amount of productivity. Additionally, choose the right colors for the right areas of your workplace. You don’t want to create too much energy in the wrong area, or a lack thereof, either.

Design Practice #3 - The Right Fit for the Right Department

Every department is different and it’s important to address these differences when thinking of workplace design. If you want your employees to stay productive, think of how each department does their jobs and what they need to do them efficiently.

The best way to do this is to keep departments together. Your IT, Marketing, Sales, Accounting, etc. should all be grouped together in order to created an atmosphere of unity and productivity. If you separate even one team member from a department, you run the risk of that employee losing productivity.

Furthermore, make sure each department has what they need close by. If a department has to do a lot of printing, make sure their printer is close by. If team does a lot of stocking, make sure their supply room is in close range as well. Whatever the case may be, each department in a small business needs to be able to quickly access what makes their job more efficiently accomplished.  

Design Practice #4 - A Workplace Design that Reflects the Culture

Can your small business’s office design reflect the culture? You bet! How? Think of your culture as it is right now. Depending on what type of culture you have, you should model your workplace to reflect it.

If your small business’s culture has high energy, you’ll want to have a fun workplace to reflect this. Some ideas for this would be a couple arcade games in a room and a ping pong table, or maybe high energy music lightly playing to keep your employees full of energy.

For small businesses with a very focused company culture, it’s important to have designated quiet areas where employees can go to concentrate and give their best work.

As you design your workplace, keep your company culture in mind. Because culture is such an important aspect of your small business, you want to continue to nurture it and make it a forte through effective workplace design.  

Design Practice #5 - Encourage a Healthy Lifestyle

Lastly, your employees’ health should mean a lot to you. When your employees are healthy, it’s easier for them to be productive.

So, how can you keep your employees healthy as you design your workplace? Make healthy decisions readily available. You can do this by utilizing transformable desks which go from sit-down to stand-up desks.

For small businesses without desks, you can give your employees ample room to walk around, rather than confining them to a small space where they must stand for their shift.


As you design your workplace, think of ways to increase your small business’s productivity. It’s important to remember that your employees’ sense of privacy, the colors you choose for your workplace, where things are located, what you include in your workplace, and the ability to be healthy will all contribute to your employees’ productivity.

What workplace design practices do you feel help your small business? Comment below and let us know.

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Topics: Employee Retention, Small Business

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