If you pay your staff to work eight hours a day, five days a week, you’d expect them to make an effort during those hours, right? Wrong. Although you can expect some time to be lost to idle gossip, procrastination and social media surfing, research has found that UK office staff are only productive for three days of the working week. Did you know ill thought out commercial office refurbishments are part of the reason?

Tool specialist HSS Hire spoke to 2,000 office workers to find out what distracts them. Shockingly, out of the top 10 factors that lead to an unproductive work day, six of those can be addressed by better office design and workplace provision.

Blowing hot and cold

Although good office design can’t rectify the top reason for reduced productivity (a poor night’s sleep), some changes to your workplace can address many of the other issues. Number 2 and number 9 in the list relate to staff comfort levels. Employees who are too hot or too cold will not be as effective as they should. This situation can be simply rectified with comfort cooling and zoned heating, which allows different areas of your office to be controlled independently so everyone is happy.

Shhhh please…

Another two top 10 entries (3 and 5) pertain to noise. Distracting colleagues who talk too much and a noisy office both reduce productivity. We understand that the open plan office is sometimes the most effective use of space but the general hubbub and lack of privacy can be an issue. Remedy this with sound-limiting shop fit-outs, break out areas and booths that staff can escape to when the tawdry tales of last night become too much.

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Turn the tables

Occupying number 6 on the list is boredom. Of course, much of this will relate to the nature of the job but keeping employees stimulated can be addressed by office design. While it might seem a bit faddy, providing a communal area with a pool or tennis table brings light relief and a welcome distraction. It can also boost staff integration and foster cross-office relationships, so go for it!

Feed the masses

Lastly, feeling hungry can drive staff to the point of distraction. While we can’t provide packed lunches, MPL can provide a fit-for-purpose kitchen with integrated appliances and seating. Many employers have taken to fully stocking a fridge for staff to help themselves to. Not only does it stave off hunger pangs, it encourages staff to eat together and develop ideas over sushi or a salad.

If you’re seeing a worrying level of malaise and disengagement in your workplace, talk to us about counteractive office design and workplace features that can energize staff and keep them focused.