Personal Finance

3 Steps to a More Productive Office

Here are three top tips to improve office productivity that will help increase the output of any office and boost the overall well-being of employees—and are easy to implement.

One of the most common questions employers ask is how to best increase office productivity. We’ve gathered three tips for employers to implement that will increase overall efficiency and boost employee morale.

Crank up the temperature

Although the UK has no official guidelines on maximum temperatures for office workers, there are some generally agreed-upon limits. For example, 30°C if seen as too hot for sedentary workers, whilst 16°C is seen as too cold. Most offices in the UK aim for around 22°C to ensure employees are kept happy and motivated, whilst keeping electricity bills at a minimum.

However, research by Cornell University has shown that the optimal temperature for office workers is 25°C. The study has identified 25°C as the best temperature to reduce typing errors and significantly increase typing output and efficiency.

Typing Efficiency at Different Temperatures% Time Typing% Error Rate
20°C54%25%
25°C100%10%
chart showing typing efficiency and errors by office temperature

Overall, offices that increase their temperature from 20°C to 25°C can expect to see measurable improvements in efficiency and productivity. Offices that are too warm, however, may need to implement some form of cooling—especially considering the unusually warm summer temperatures we've been having!

Snacks and drinks

Everybody loves a snack and cup of coffee whilst working, and employers who provide their employees with free coffee, tea and small healthy snacks can enjoy the added bonus of increased performance. There is a lot of research that shows the positive consequences of caffeine for employees, with sharpened focus and increased output being just some of the most important benefits.

Having a selection of snacks and coffee available to employees will also give a boost in morale around the office, improving productivity and wellbeing. Healthy options are key to keeping employees healthy, focused and motivated. Fruits and vegetables on offer will even boost happiness and creativity.

For employers it is also important to consider the cost of offering free food and drinks. It may be possible to earn credit card rewards when buying food and drink for the office, if the company or office manager has a rewards credit card. Providing coffee for employees is significantly cheaper than buying takeaway cups from local coffee shops, even if you opt for quality capsules or grounds.

Average cost of a black coffee
Costa£2.10
Starbucks£2.25
Nescafe capusule£0.25
Ground coffee with french press£0.16

Shorter days = increased productivity

UK research has shown that some office employees do only around 3 hours of effective work in a full workday, with the rest of the day often wasted. Shortening the workday may sound counter-intuitive, but in fact it has been proven to have a positive impact on productivity and efficiency, not to mention the boost to employee happiness and morale.

The theory is that giving employees more time to pursue outside interests and personal hobbies will improve their overall health and quality of life, which has a proven benefit to their productivity at work.

How can employees initiate change?

Employees have a right to implement changes, and you may see other positive benefits if you begin to take action that improves the company’s efficiency and output.

Take a few simple steps to improve your own wellbeing, whilst also improving the company’s bottom line and overall productivity:

  • Change the temperature, and encourage natural air to flow through the office. Even on those colder days it’s important to have natural air, whilst maintaining a steady temperature.
  • Get some snacks in! Taking a break and taking your mind off the work at hand will improve your ability to work effectively. It may also be worth asking your employer about discounts and company benefits before buying your own snacks and drinks for the office.
  • Make the most of paid time off and ensure that when you’re on holiday you don’t fall into the trap of checking emails. You may not be able to control your hours in the office, but you can control your holiday time.

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