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"Work smarter, not harder." We hear these workplace mottos all the time, but sometimes workplace efficiency has less to do with how you are working, and more to do with your surroundings.
We were inspired by an article we recently read in Forbes, and thought we'd share five things for you to look out for in your office that may be holding you, and your employees, back.
Depending on the kind of projects you're working on, a clean desk or a messy desk may be more appropriate. A study shows that if are working on something that requires creativity, don't work in a very structured atmosphere.
You also want to take a look at your office decor and make sure there is nothing too distracting. You may want to paint walls different colors depending on the kind of work you'll be doing in different parts of the office. Various colors elicit different responses -- for example, blue has a calming effect, whereas yellow has an energizing effect.
Make sure that all workstations have enough light so that people aren't struggling with the basics -- like seeing. You also want to make sure that light isn't directly hitting computer screens, to reduce glare.
In this day of cubicle life, it's hard to get anything done if everyone around you is chatting away. Try to designate conference rooms and other areas for conversation, and try to minimize distractions around personal work spaces.
Keep the temperature in a comfortable zone. People will not be as productive as they can be if they are shivering or sweating.
Keeping ergonomics in mind not only increases productivity, but reduces workplace injuries as well. Having the right chairs, keyboards, and mice for your employees is one simple way you can increase productivity.
There's always room for improvement. If you're trying to get more productivity out of your team, take a look around your office and see if there are little things you can tweak to make a more efficient workplace.
Editor's Note, January 11, 2017: This article was first published in November, 2013. It has since been updated.