When we talk about office space, what is the first thing that comes to your mind? A white and grey, square, boring looking room? Well, if it is, you’re definitely not alone. However, office spaces are now seen differently and what was considered formal and appropriate has changed over time. Luckily, for anyone doing their 9 to 5 in an office, it’s possible to work in a more relaxed environment that is just as efficient and productive as before but in a more colourful, freeing and happier place. Who would argue with being able to work from a couch or at a shared table if that’s to your liking? Having choice makes people feel freer and that increases productivity. If you feel more in control of your working space, you feel more confident and confidence leads people to greater things. Now, this freedom you’re getting does not mean you won’t have to follow certain rules, especially because you’re at work and rules aren’t always meant to be broken. What you should be doing is making sure your office is both productive and safe. If you want to optimize productivity whilst decreasing stress, here’s what you must do. Green is the Best? Yes! Green is, in fact, the best. Apparently, the colour green helps people be more creative and having plants around you helps them be more productive. Therefore, you heard it here first, add some plants to your office and your staff will get a boost of energy. And if the plants aren’t enough, try adding some green elements to the décor. All You Need Is Flow… No clutter allowed! You need to think ahead and design your office layout keeping in mind that your staff needs to move freely around the office and feel that there’s a certain flow in the space. Some office spaces add colourful lines to the floor, creating a path to follow while moving from one room to another. This creates an effortless flow and adds a pop of colour to your otherwise dull office. Light + Light = Light! Think of large windows. You need natural light in your office. This is one of the biggest musts. People work a lot better if they don’t feel trapped inside a room and natural light gives everyone a sense of peace which will optimize productivity. And if you think of large windows, don’t forget to also add them inside your office. Don’t create cement walls where they’re not needed. Add glass windows/doors all around the space, making certain rooms closed and quiet but still letting light pass through. Sharing Is Caring but I Want to be Alone! In the topic of creating glass doors rooms, I think it’s important to discuss shared tables. These are more and more common nowadays and they work! Tables where anyone can sit and discuss and share ideas with others while working increases morale. Unassigned desks are the go-to option and people need the freedom of being able to choose where they want to sit and change seating whenever they feel adequate. That way, you’ll create a space for brainstorming or for people who enjoy working with some noise around them, and then you’ll have rooms that are quiet, and they will be some of your employees’ favourite spaces. With unassigned desks, there is no clutter on top of tables and the office will look more seamless and organised. Pro tip: add sockets to every desk so people can plug their laptops in their working space and there won’t be cables laying around. Keep it Colourful! Adding some lines to create dimension and flow is one thing, but have you considered using colourful furniture? Maybe a touch of yellow with a chair here and a pop of red with a table there and your office space will look bright and fresh. Colours have a huge impact on people’s feelings and if green comes from the plants, then a splash of colour in your furniture won’t hurt anyone and hey, it’s all to increase productivity! Motivation Comes from Different Places: A simple yet effective way to boost your staff’s morale is to have a whiteboard (or glass wall, for that matter) where every single one of them can write or share something on. One day maybe you’ll have a board full of motivational quotes that others will read and enjoy, and perhaps another day someone will share an idea they had, and a project will come out of it because others joined in and brainstormed together. It bonds people and makes them happier to go to work; being surrounded by people who are motivated makes everyone more motivated. Common Spaces Everyone needs a break and studies have shown that we are more productive when we take regular breaks while working. Having common spaces that encourage your staff to take a break and relax for a few minutes is essential. A kitchen is an ideal space because it’ll provide your staff a place to eat lunch and have a cup of coffee or tea when they want to. Colourful and maybe even ergonomic furniture is, once again, recommended. A few large tables that seat 5 or 6 people (depending on the size of your company and kitchen) and large windows will keep the space simple but cosy. But don’t forget to keep safety measures, especially in the kitchen: keep a fire extinguisher on hand, preferably near the stove if you have one. Make sure your fire ducts are modern and reliable, and check them regularly. Slip-resistant flooring is also something to consider because they can prevent any unlucky slips (carpet pads work great too!). A first aid kit is also recommended as are signs to remind staff what not to warm up in the microwave. Just remember that less is more. Always. People need a blank canvas to work with, to feel inspired and to feel free. Using simple and colourful furniture will help you and your staff be more productive in the long run. Motivating them to create together and discuss will also lead to a higher morale and good teamwork skills. When designing your office space, remember these steps and you’ll make your staff happier and the productivity levels will soar, guaranteed!