Great Designs: Office Design & Staff Motivation


Is there a link between office design and staff motivation? The short answer is yes! There have been a lot of research reports published on the links between office design and staff motivation and productivity, which have highlighted noise, air quality, lighting and colour schemes as important aspects which shape how productive we are and how happy we feel in the workplace.



Is There A Link Between Office Design and Staff Productivity?

According to the Leesman Index, an independent benchmark of workplace effectiveness, 54% of workers think their workplace design allows them to be productive. More than 85% of people feel the design of their work space is important, with more than half saying a well designed workspace contributes to a sense of community in the office, contributes to their enjoyment of work and enables people to work productively.


In a different survey conducted by the global research firm IPSOS, results showed a strong correlation between people’s satisfaction with their work environment and their level of engagement. And the main reason cited was lack of privacy. Open plan designs tend to encourage too much interaction and not enough privacy which has a negative impact on creativity, productivity, engagement and wellbeing.


Has the open office decreased worker productivity?


Has the open office decreased worker productivity?


Constant distractions aren’t only demotivating, they’re also damaging to productivity: on average, we get interrupted every 11 mins, yet it takes us an average of 23 minutes to get back into the flow of our work...and the likelihood is we’ll get interrupted again in only 11 minute’s time. Sometimes we just need a quiet space to get on with things.


To put it in evolutionary psychology terms, humans work best in environments that mimic the African savannas we evolved in. These environments gave us clear views of what was happening around us, with the option of somewhere to hide quietly if needed. Good office design will incorporate the modern equivalent of ‘caves’, ‘watering holes’ and ‘gathering places’ to relieve the deep-rooted prehistoric needs of our inner hunter gatherer (though maybe it’s a good idea to ban the painting of bison on the walls).


Breakout spaces & co-working areas


Are social spaces & breakout areas the future of workplace design?



What Are the Advantages of a Motivating Design?

In the IPSOS survey, only 11% of respondents were highly satisfied with their work environment; but they they were also the most highly engaged (down from 31% in a 1999 survey carried out by the American Society of Interior Designers). Motivated employees reported that their workplace allows them to:


  • Concentrate
  • Express and Share Ideas Freely
  • Work in Teams
  • Choose Where to Work Within the Office
  • Feel Relaxed and Calm
  • Feel a Sense of Belonging to Their Company and its Culture


To discuss ways your office design could be used to motivate employees and increase productivity, take a look at our large variety of case study projects - big and small, or talk to us about our office refurbishment and complimentary space planning services.