Employers have a few options available to them in their quest to maximise productivity in their office. They could opt for a draconian approach, and attempt to crack down on interpersonal relationships in a bid to get employees to work and only work in your office. Try this, however, and you might be surprised at both how fast productivity levels fall and how fast people quit.
Take the opposite approach, however, and you can give your employees the ability to work well and enjoy their day. Never underestimate how important it is for your employees to enjoy their working environment, nor how important the environment is to their health and wellbeing. If you want your employees to work hard and work well, you need to first give them the tools that they need to succeed. One such area to start is with the window treatments.
How The Office Environment Impacts Productivity
The office environment is a critical component when it comes to office productivity. Just imagine if you had to work in a cold, wet basement with minimal light every day? Would your mental and even physical health not deteriorate and ruin your ability to work productively?
Key components that make up a healthy office environment are:
1. Natural Light
2. Good Temperature
3. Clean Environment
6. Sensory Excitement
As you can tell, the majority of those factors can be improved by investing in beautiful and effective window treatments. The right choice can improve natural light, improve the temperature, offer great design, and make the whole office look neater.
You can follow up on these window treatments by adding in some decorative elements, plants, and an engaging office environment to truly maximise the health, wellbeing, and productivity or your employees.
The Impact of Light on a Person’s Wellbeing
Natural light is incredibly important for a person’s health and wellbeing. It’s so important that entire cities like NYC design themselves around light access and lawsuits have been filed when a new build blocked a person’s access to light.
Light is incredibly important. It can be critical for our health and therapeutic to the mind. Some of your employees might be particularly at risk for developing Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), which is particularly prevalent amongst Britons, whose winters are typically overcast and dark. One particular reason SAD is so terrible for productivity is that it affects the circadian rhythms. White, natural light helps wake both he mind and the body up, whereas darkness and lack of light trick our bodies into a type of hibernation that can be an antithesis to productivity.
There have been many studies that have proved the benefits of natural light towards better productivity. In 1983 a scientist named Lockheed determined that natural lighting boosted productivity by 15%, whereas other companies had indicated they experienced a 5% increase in productivity when natural light was prioritised in their office’s design.
The Importance of Maintaining the Right Temperature
When you are too cold or too hot your body’s main focus isn’t on work, but on getting healthier. It is a survival instinct that no employer can fault their employees for, but can take measures to improve. Though there is a legal requirement that offices in the UK should never drop below 16C, that doesn’t mean that is a good temperature to work in. If you want to boost productivity, then you need to aim for a room temperature between 20 – 25C. Any less and your employees will be bothered by the cold; any more and they will be too hot to concentrate.
By maintaining this temperature you can boost productivity and reduce the number of arguments (which cost offices approximately £13 billion every year in wasted time). Of course, keeping it to this temperature can be costly, but with the right window treatment you can actually retain heat better or redirect it depending on your needs.
The Importance of Air Quality for Health
Urban areas are always at risk from air pollution. In many places, it is even a major cause of death. Around the world, poor air quality amounts to approximately 4.2 million deaths every single year, and with the growing issue of pollution and the rising population numbers, this death rate will only increase.
In the UK the situation isn’t quite so dire, but there are concerns about air quality. This does not mean you should keep your office’s windows closed throughout the year, however. Heat can be incredibly detrimental to productivity and you don’t want to refuse your employees if they want to open a window.
Thankfully, with how green most of our cities are summer air quality in the UK is significantly healthier than it is during winter. As such, keeping your windows closed could be hurting your employees more than you think. Poor air quality has been proven in several studies to reduce productivity, but the particulates that cause this drop in productivity are actually higher in concentration inside than they are outside. You need to be able to open your windows, keep the sun’s heat out, and direct the air in as much as possible during summer to improve air quality and keep temperatures low.
How Updating Your Window Treatments will Increase Productivity
Window treatments are a great place to start when your goal is to increase productivity, as they allow you to combat several components that make up a healthy office environment. Your employees can control the amount of light and sunlight as they need, can open their windows and get direct airflow into their office, and of course, the right treatment can improve the overall aesthetic.
1. More Natural Light
Having curtains means you either let all the light in or nothing at all without much wiggle room in-between. They are also not very effective at providing privacy if your office is located on the first floor, as you’d need to either keep them open and have your employees be distracted by the commotion outside, or have them closed and force them to work in a dark environment. This is a fact which we’ve established is terrible both for their physical and mental health.
With custom window treatments like shades or shutters, your employees will be able to customize how they want their light. In summer they could minimise the amount of direct sunlight while also improving the amount of natural light. In winter they could keep them entirely open to brighten the office as much as possible, and then close them when it gets dark to improve insulation and make the office warmer without cranking the heat on for hours at a time.
The result? Your employees can control the amount of light to specific levels, while you benefit from reduced utility costs.
2. Better Temperature Control
This insulating ability is another reason why window treatments can help improve office productivity. If your employees are too cold, they can turn on the heat, but if you want to keep your operating costs low, you need to give them another option first. By installing custom blinds or shutters, they can close these after the sun sets during winter, and retain the heat form their heaters better.
Shutters in the summer can help keep the direct sun out (75% of which just gets turned into heat) and can be positioned to catch the breeze and bring it into your office.
3. Lower Utility Cost
Better insulation means your fans and heaters have to work less to get the same result. Shutters, in particular, are great at reducing heat loss and saving your money Compared to curtains, which prevent heat loss up to 30%, the right shutter can prevent heat loss up to 50%. This will result in approximately 20% cost savings on your utility bill so long as your employees are actively using them to suit their needs.
4. Better Looking Environment
Custom window treatments will always look sharp and professional, improving the office aesthetic significantly. A great looking working environment is something people enjoy being in, and as soon as they enjoy their location, their productivity will improve because they won’t be wishing they were somewhere nicer.
5. Less Dust Attracting Curtains
Another benefit to using shutters or blinds is that they are hypoallergenic. Unlike curtains or even drapes shutters and blinds are very easy to clean and don’t attract and catch dust. For those with allergies this will be a blessing, and allow them to focus on their work and not on their runny nose or burning eyes.
Types of Window Treatments to Consider
Window treatments are a great way to take control of the natural light in your office, add in extra insulation, privacy, and of course aesthetic. Choosing which one, however, can be tricky. You want a cost-effective option that is sure to improve productivity while simultaneously helping you to reduce your operating costs all at once. This means you need an option that will do it all:
- Let light in
- Look great
You also want to choose an option that is hardy. If you install a cheap shade blind it will likely stick after time, get yanked too hard, and then the track is bent and there is nothing anyone can do except completely replace it. To get the most out of your money you will want to invest in any of these types of window treatments:
Shutter blinds are absolutely ideal if you own your own office space. They can be custom fit to your window, and there are a variety of styles and materials to choose from. For ultimate control, we recommend installing a tier-on-tier system. This way your employees can have complete control over their light. On dark days they can completely open the shutters to let as much light in as possible, whereas during summer or sunny days they can close them and direct the light with the slates as desired.
Your employees won’t have to contend with harsh sunlight hitting their computer screen and blinding their workspace. They won’t have to deal with dark rooms. They won’t have to deal with uncomfortable temperatures. Whatever the lighting situation they want, they can have it.
For instance, choose Porchester from Shuttercraft, which is an aluminium material, for your first-floor windows and you will be able to better protect your office and expensive equipment as well, as you can lock the shutters in place but still keep the slates open. This option is ideal for small businesses who operate out of residential conversions as their office space.
Pure wood Venetian blinds are absolutely stunning and provide light and temperature control for any office. Unlike shutter blinds, they can easily be raised into position and out of the way, and are, therefore, better suited to high rises. They can be used to manage light, control the amount of heat is gained or lost, and can improve the look of any office space.
Your employees need a great looking, healthy environment to be productive, and one of the best places to start is with your windows. By adding treatments to them, you can improve the look of your office immensely whilst also giving your employees the ability to control the amount of light they want while they are working. On hot days they can completely cut the light out and open the windows to provide the airflow and shade they need. In winter they can completely open these treatments to break in the sun or natural light.
People thrive on light and work well in environments they feel comfortable and happy in, so invest in your office space today and see that productivity soar.