I am a firm believer that employees come to work and want to do a good job.
However, it is the organization’s responsibility to ensure the work environment is one that inspires creative thinking and allows employees to do their job without any barriers or distractions to slow them down.
Apple is getting ready to open its new Spaceship Campus or Apple Park. This new, innovative approach to office space has raised the bar for office design.
Much of Apple’s success is the result of creative employees who think outside the box. This new campus was designed with that in mind.
“Steve’s vision for Apple stretched far beyond his time with us. He intended Apple Park to be the home of innovation for generations to come. The workspaces and parklands are designed to inspire our team as well as benefit the environment. We’ve achieved one of the most energy-efficient buildings in the world, and the campus will run entirely on renewable energy.” Tim Cook – Apple CEO
Organizations should strive to create workspace that inspires and fosters creativity but also one that minimizes distractions that cause unintended errors.
Many organizations don’t have the resources to build such an inspiring and unique office space.
Consequently, we need to make the most of the space we have and remove obstacles to productivity and those that contribute to errors.
Employees need to have work areas that are conducive to productivity with minimal distractions.
Distractions slow workflow and can contribute to avoidable errors.
For instance, some employees need quiet space, others need inspirational music to maximize their performance.
Take these into consideration when creating workspace.
Paying attention to those physical elements of the work area can have a major impact on focus and an employee’s ability to achieve goals.
4 Tip for Improving Productivity and Decreasing Employee Errors
1. Manage Office Temperature
It is amazing how the thermostat can affect how productive or unproductive an employee is.
I don’t think I’ve been in an office yet that there weren’t some “tug-o-wars” that went on over the thermostat.
I’ve worked with people who would get too warm or too cold and that would be a distraction from their work.
Having a well functioning and properly zoned HVAC system is a good place to start assessing when issues like this arise.
When it is difficult to maintain a comfortable office temperature, encourage employees to wear layers to work.
For instance, I once worked with a woman who wrapped herself in a blanket all day.
While it may be a humorous visual it is a definite distraction from getting the job done.
2. Manage Noise Levels
We are all different and come to work with different social styles.
These social differences can create a struggle within the workplace when it comes to noise levels.
This can be anything from ringing phones, phone conversations, office machine noise, or general talking in the office.
Some people need a lot of noise to work because the stimulation energizes them and helps them think.
At the same time, there are other people who need complete quiet to be able to concentrate and get their work done.
Be sensitive to those kinds of needs and create the right environment for people to help eliminate distractions, reduce errors, and improve their productivity.
For instance, we had to move people around to different work areas to get them in the right spot for noise levels.
Encourage people to use headphones when listening to music and encourage respectful office chatter.
3. Improve Work Area
Poorly designed work areas can be a major distraction, slow productivity, and create an OSHA violation.
Pay attention to the employee’s work-space. Look at the ergonomics of the desk and pay attention to the computer screen and keyboard position.
For instance, ask the question, does the employee spend a lot of time on the phone? If so, is a headset available?
Is there sufficient desk space, file space, or room to move in their chair?
I worked in an office where the cubicles were so small, you could not turn your chair around without hitting the wall behind the desktop.
This created an environment that felt small and claustrophobic.
Being economical with office real-estate is important but there needs to be a balance.
4. Set Clear Expectations
Employees need to understand what is expected of them and have the necessary tools to accomplish those tasks.
As managers, it is our responsibility to provide a safe, comfortable office space and to help employees focus without distractions.
These simple steps can help to minimize errors in the workplace and optimizing performance.
We may not all be able to build a state of the art facility but we can pay attention to those things that create a comfortable and employee-friendly workspace.
Creating the right environment that is comfortable and inspiring can be an important first step in reducing errors and optimizing employee performance.