Presentation by Claire Williams,Strategic Business Development Director from OCEE Design Manufacturers and Julian Sheldrake, Director from Q Office Furniture.


Making your workplace more productive

The business world is changing. Ways to improve workplace productivity are set to soar over the next few years.

There is more to improving productivity and being successful than buying the latest office furniture.

Innovation in businesses is key to success. In order to attract and keep creative, innovative people, you need to build the right work environment.

The workplace has changed beyond all recognition. Static personal desks, PCs and landlines have been replaced with organic open-plan spaces, laptops and mobile phones.  Growth in office technology has and will continue to change the way we work.

Do open-plan offices work?

Open-plan working is here to stay, says Claire. There is much written about open-plan, good and bad. Capstone 3 open-plan research produces statements like "While it is open and collaborative, the lack of privacy makes it difficult to focus and overall decreases my productivity".

So Claire asked us to consider, are we designing the modern workplace to be more productive?

Claire quotes a report from The Leesman, “The Next 250K”, which found that 46% of UK workers say their workplace does not allow them to work productively. What’s more, when employers moved or refurbished offices only 7% saw an increase in productivity.  

Put people at the heart of the design

Many visually stunning offices that are professionally designed fail to produce the expected productivity increase.

There are stories of run down offices with ‘broken windows’ with better productivity than the designer styled ‘fully loaded’ office next door.

So what is going on? How do you make the modern workplace work for you?

The answer is to put people at the heart of the workplace design.

Using Activity Based Working (ABW) strategieswill help create a working environment that’s flexible and efficient and where staff can flourish.

Office design must take account of human factors. While building on the Maslow hierarchical needs, we must consider air quality, lighting, thermal comforts and noise, but most important of all is space.

Techniques like Proxemics aim to cut anxiety levels caused when people are too close at work. For example, people crammed into call centres develop burn out very quickly and must move on. The right amount of personal space and spaces to relax or concentrate are essential for the modern office.

Workplace mental health is a growing challenge. UKGOV, ACAS and MIND all say work is the biggest cause of stress in people's lives, more so than debt or financial problems. 

We need to design compassionate work spaces where people can get away when they need to.

Most businesses cannot afford the amazing staff-based facilities supplied by modern high-tech giants such as Google and Sky. However, there is a lot that can be achieved with good planning and product selection.



OCEE Design is a Q Office Furniture manufacturing partner. For a free office design service, contact Julian Sheldrake at call 01992 463358.