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Office Workstation Layouts for Increased Productivity

04 July 2024

A Gallup poll revealed that the average, full-time working week in the US comprises 47 hours. Naturally, employees spend the majority of this time on their workstations. Another study showed that the typical employee's workspace is only 150 square feet large. Such cramped –and often dull and uninspiring – office spaces are the archenemies of motivation and productivity. Apart from the size of office space, the furniture and equipment layout, the flow between workspaces, and the overall workplace vibe, all play a role in defining employee productivity.

Thankfully, there are several office design and layout ideas that can give the productivity boost that you are looking for.

Office Workstation Layouts for Increased Productivity:

Focus on Ergonomics:

The healthier your employees are, the better the health of your business will be. Employee health translates to greater job satisfaction, increased engagement and focus, improved precision and productivity, and a reduction in the number of sick days and healthcare costs. Poor office design or the absence of ergonomic furniture items can lead to a worn-out, exhausted, frustrated, and unproductive workforce – which, in turn, will negatively impact your company's revenue and bottom line. Therefore, to enhance efficiency and productivity, it is important for your organization to provide ergonomic furniture solutions, such as:

Adjustable treadmill desks, workstation desks, or standing desks,

Height-adjustable chairs that offer support for the lumbar (lower) spine

Accessories like ergonomic keyboard and mouse, wrist-rests, monitor arms/stands, and document holders

Prioritize Variety over Open:

Open-floor plans, while beneficial in certain situations, are certainly not the one-size-fits-all solution that they were hyped up to be. As a matter of fact, open office designs are often associated with lower employee productivity and satisfaction, increased fatigue and stress, and higher percentages of sick days and absenteeism.

To address these and other drawbacks associated with open plans, companies are now starting to shift their focus toward variety and flexibility. This means that organizations are identifying the kinds of work activities that their employees perform, and creating a layout that facilitates those activities.

For instance, flexible office plans often contain personal spaces that employees can use as per their needs, social spaces where workers can collaborate and bond, and brainstorming rooms for when individuals or teams need a bit of quiet and peace. You can also have a fun zone, where employees can come together and decompress.

Divide Things Up:

Collaboration is a top priority for contemporary organizations, as it should be. However, at the same time, it should not come at the expense of individual productivity. Whether it is to focus on a complex problem or just to get a quiet breather, even the most extroverted employees need a bit of privacy every now and then. Hence, while planning your office layout, try to steer away from excessively noisy common areas, walkways, or bathrooms, to reduce distraction and noise. The below installations can help you strike the perfect balance between collaboration and privacy:

Privacy dividers or low-walled cubicles

Mobile or modular walls, and divider panels

Glass partitions and walls

Add a Few Plants:

Traditionally, the inclusion of plants has not been seen as a way to improve workforce productivity. However, that does not mean that their positive impact is mythical and nonexistent. Apart from enhancing the aesthetics and aliveness of your workplace, plants can boost productivity in a number of other ways.

For one, many indoor plants are capable of filtering the air by getting rid of pollutants like VOCs (Volatile Organic Compounds), nitric oxide, nitrogen dioxide, and particulate matter.

Other than that, studies have shown that installing indoor plants leads to a reduction in psychological stress, and promotes feelings of calmness and comfort.

All in all, adding a bunch of plants is an easy and inexpensive way to improve your employee's productivity and overall well-being.

Improve Lighting:

Poor lighting is another leading cause of low employee productivity. Inadequate lighting arrangements can lead to headaches, eyestrain, stress, fatigue, and a list of other physical and psychological problems. Hence, it is important to assess the lighting in your workplace and make improvements wherever required.

For starters, try to utilize as much natural light as possible. A Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine study found that workers who sit close to a window enjoy better sleep quality than those who do not – and we all know that the kind of sleep you get during the night has a direct impact on the quality of work that you do during the day. Of course, it might not be possible for you to put every employee near a window – in which case you can install indirect lighting which provides adequate brightness and reduces eyestrain.


If you want to enhance productivity, you must take steps to ensure that your employees have the right approach and attitude towards work. Using brilliant colors is one way to improve mood and make your staff feel fresh throughout the working day. Color is a really underrated motivator, and can breathe life into an otherwise uninspiring office space by boosting staff morale and the overall vibe. Here is how a few primary colors can affect our psyche:

White: This is linked to cleanliness, but is unlikely to help with inspiration. You can use white for the workplace kitchen or other open spaces.

Black: Portrays authority, but is mixed with sinister undertones. However, when used as a complementary shade, black can make a workplace look high-end and luxurious.

Blue: Generally considered to be highly productive. However, naturally, this will depend upon the kind of work that your organization does. Blue can also serve to enhance intellectual thoughts and feelings of relaxation. Hence, if you are looking to use color to boost employee productivity, blue should certainly be at the top of your list.

Green: The color of nature, green is linked to balance and growth. There is research that ties the green color to improved creative performance.

Red: Emotionally intense, red can often boost the flow of mental energy. However, it can sometimes be overpowering and should be primarily restricted to social areas.

Yellow: Since yellow promotes feelings of positivity and happiness, it is a good choice of color for organizations looking to promote collaboration and teamwork.

Purple: Even though it comes across as a bit unnatural, purple is also associated with feelings of ambition and royalty.

Orange: Linked to happiness and mental stimulation; can be used to highlight the most important aspects of a workplace's design elements.

You can always throw in a bit of art, or scatter a few motivational quotes or posters across the workspace – anything that would serve to motivate your workforce. According to a survey conducted by the International Association of Professional Arts Advisor and the Business Committee for the Arts, 94% of participants felt that art improved the overall work environment. 64% of participants, meanwhile, believed that art helped them become more productive and creative. Art can also make a statement about the values of your organization.

Create a Home for Gadgets:

While tablets and smartphones can help with organization and efficiency, they can also be major hindrances to focus and productivity. One of the best ways to overcome this hindrance is to create a separate home for your employees' gadgets.

Employees can use these dedicated spaces for all their electronic and other gadgets so that they are not bombarded by an unending surge of notifications. Providing a personal drawer where employees can stash these devices away is a good start – out of sight; out of mind.

Create Chances for Movement:

One of the best ways to remain focused during long working hours is taking lots of quick and short walks to give your mind a much-needed break and obtain a new perspective on the project you are working on or the problem you are trying to solve.

Alongside helping us stay focused and productive, these mental breaks help counter the sedentary lifestyle that has become an undesirable hallmark of the modern world. By incorporating physical movement into your working day, you can reduce stress, improve health, and replenish your depleting energy and motivation levels.

Remember the standing desks that we mentioned early on in this blog? One reason that we encourage these desks is that they allow employees to keep changing their postures and positions, and avoid putting excessive or prolonged stress on certain parts of the body.

Other than that, you could also consider placing specific equipment – such as the fax machine or photocopier – at the farthest end from the main workspace, so that employees are forced to get up every time they have to use this equipment. Multipurpose areas where people can work out are also a good idea. Wherever possible, replace formal conferences with walking meetings.

Final Word:

To sum up, productivity is the driving force behind the prosperity of a company and is therefore not something that should be compromised on. We hope that this blog provided some unique and useful recommendations on how you can modify your workplace design and layout to increase your employees' productivity, creativity, motivation, and overall physical, mental, and emotional well-being.