5 ways to save money by changing the design of your office
Changing the layout or design of your workspace can have a profound effect on your employees.
Sometimes, even the most subtle changes can dramatically improve your team’s outlook, and ultimately, their productivity. As such, it’s fair to suggest that refreshing their workspace every now and again can save SMEs significant sums of money.
Research conducted by Love Energy Savings has revealed how the UK public really feel about where they work. Our most recent survey asked whether people felt inspired and productive in their office, and more than half (55%) said no.
We have recently moved offices ourselves, and have pulled out all the stops to create somewhere that is inspiring, motivating and stimulating. If you’re thinking of revamping your current surroundings, follow these five tips to boost productivity, lift spirits and even make a few welcome financial savings too.
1. Create a work environment that inspires
Designing an interesting office environment may not have always been at the top of a business owner’s ‘to-do list’, but it is far more important than you may have originally thought! No matter what kind of industry you operate in, your employees will produce their best work, feel happier and be able to provide better customer service if they work somewhere that inspires them.
Chelsea Thomas, who trained in psychology and now works at GetAgent.co.uk, said that a simple bit of redecorating can help to make a more productive environment.
“Ban beige walls, whittle out the whitewash and whatever you do, get rid of the grey! These colours, although natural and bright when the sunlight comes in, can induce feelings of sadness in employees, reducing their productivity. Introduce bright colours, particularly blue and green tones, in your workspace to allow for happier (and more efficient) staff. For a creative company, consider adding yellow around their workspace to inspire your creatives.”
2. Improve efficiency and functionality
If you’re moving into a new office, you might want to consider the layout of your different departments.
Making your business as efficient as possible is a great way to save money in the long run, and one of the quickest ways to improve functionality is to group staff together according to their roles. This would apply to smaller teams such as accounting and purchasing, and larger ones such as marketing or administration.
This ensures that email communications, which often waste more time than they save, are kept to a minimum and conversations can be as productive as possible. Additionally, if you have a creative team, don’t hide them away in a corner somewhere. Make an open-plan space that encourages interaction.
When thinking about your layout, you should also consider where people are positioned in relation to office equipment. If one particular department uses the printer or scanner more, have them sat closer. It sounds simple, but it does make things run more smoothly.
Improved efficiency is a great way to reduce lost time; it may not seem like much at the time but it really does add up! Having more structure and functionality also helps to put people in a more efficient mindset.
Charlotte Boss, Marketing Manager at Love Energy Savings, commented on how the new layout of their own office allows different teams to integrate and work more closely:
“The new building looks fantastic - for me the exciting part is how open the space is which will allow Operations and Marketing to become more integrated in order to achieve even more!
“My favourite room has to be ‘The Cave’ - it provides the perfect strategy session setting for blue sky thinking.”
3. Go green
Sometimes it’s the little changes that can make all the difference. Striving to be more environmentally-friendly can be greatly beneficial for your office, especially from a financial point of view.
Phil Foster, Managing Director of Love Energy Savings, highly recommends that companies go green when making an office move, for the benefit of their wallets and the environment:
“As an SME owner, there will be a number of expenses that you’re trying to keep track of, but your energy expenditure is one that you can really get to grips with. Some of the easiest ways to slash your business energy bills include going digital and eliminating as much paper as possible, encouraging your employees to start a carpool if they live close by, switching your energy supplier for an immediate win, and ensuring all equipment is turned off at the end of the day. If you can introduce things like motion-sensing lights straight from the off, you can save huge sums in the long run.”
Here are a few quick ways you can make your office greener....
- Natural light - Big wide windows let huge amounts of daylight in. In summer this will keep everyone warm and cut down on the time lights are on.
- Steady temperature - A fluctuating thermostat uses more energy than keeping it steady. Avoid those hot and cold office arguments and find a middle ground everyone is happy with.
- Lightbulbs - Such a simple tip! Swap your existing bulbs for more energy efficient LED bulbs. They last longer and use far less energy.
- Go paperless - Introduce a “think twice” policy when it comes to printing and encourage everyone to use laptops to take into meetings, and cloud storage systems rather than filing cabinets.
- Turn off plugs - Another simple but effective tip. Encourage your staff to make sure all plugs in their immediate area are switched off at the end of the day.
4. Allow for ‘brain breaks’
Every SME owner wants to work hard, and to have their employees striving to achieve the same goals, no matter what that is. But everyone knows that working throughout the day, from nine to five, non-stop, is going to do more harm than good. We all need a little break from time to time.
Incorporate a few open spaces into your new office design where your staff can retreat to for short breaks every now and then. This could be a park bench, some comfortable armchairs or even a designated meeting room; sometimes a change of scenery is all you need to switch off and recharge for the rest of the day.
Chelsea is a big advocate of mixing up our working environments. She added:
“Seating can also increase productivity. Providing a variety of seating options: yoga balls, swinging chairs, treadmills at desks, standing desks, cosy bean bags and sofas - different chairs in an open plan office can give the illusion of creating different work areas. Accompany these with flooring or rugs in each work area. Different seating options (which are actively used) can decrease fatigue levels and subsequently increase productivity.”
If you have a little more space, and a bit more room in your budget, you could follow in Love Energy Savings’ footsteps and introduce an onsite gym. Exercise is the perfect way to clear your mind, get energised during your lunch hour and be back at your desk ready to tackle the afternoon.
5. Make subtle changes to boost productivity
We’ve mentioned how using certain colours to decorate the office walls can encourage productivity and creativity, but did you know there are other subtle changes you can make that will have a similar effect?
Our sense of smell is said to be the most powerful, and certain scents can have a dramatic impact on a person’s mindset, mood and productivity. While changing odours will have to be done subtly in an office environment, having different scents for each room (such as one that induces focus and concentration in meeting rooms) or installing sprays in the washrooms can be a quick and easy way to do it.
- Citrus - A citrus scent, such as orange or lemon, is thought to be great for making people feel awake and lifting spirits.
- Pine - Use pine if you want to increase alertness.
- Cinnamon - This scent is thought to keep people focused; perfect for long projects or brainstorming sessions.
- Peppermint - Want to feel happy? Peppermint is thought to lift moods.
There’s nothing worse than trying to concentrate in a stuffy and humid room, a problem that often arises when the air in an office becomes too still and warm. Poor air quality can really affect people’s concentration and, if it gets too hot in an office it can cost you even more money when people turn on the air conditioning!
Consider investing in air filters or (remember those big windows we recommended earlier?) make sure they can open and arrange to have them propped open for a small amount of time each day.
Or, better yet and even cheaper, invest in a few plants to have dotted around the office. Plants are a great way to naturally filter the air, consistently recycling old stagnant air into clean and purified oxygen.
Give it a try…
The changes you make to your office don’t necessarily have to be huge; we’re not suggesting that you completely overhaul your design - unless you want to of course! Sometimes a fresh lick of paint, a few plants here and there and even some new lightbulbs can make all the difference!
Here at Love Energy Savings, we’re committed to helping small businesses across the UK to save as much money as possible, whether that’s through giving their productivity a boost, creating an engaged work environment or cutting back on your energy usage.
Want to find out more about how we can help you? Please get in touch today!