Shockingly easy ways to create a productive environment for your business
Physical Work Environment

Shockingly easy ways to create a productive environment for your business
The physical environment factors that are usually mistakenly overlooked

Let’s get the basics right first

Before delving into the intricacies of the psychological foundations of employee engagement and commitment, there’s a few fundamentals any business needs to get right. It would be ludicrous to send your managers off for professional development to enhance their communication skills in an attempt to improve productivity by 2-3% when you might achieve the same effect by turning the air conditioner up or down a degree.

Welcome to the Physical Work Environment!

This is the easy stuff

The low hanging fruit, but it’s so easy it often flies under the radar, avoiding detection and insidiously undermining the organisation’s efforts to support the performance of employees.

Consider the following;

  1. Above or below the optimal temperature range of 22-23oC, productivity falls by about 2% per degree!


  1. Offices with the best lighting/outlook result in less than 2 days per annum sick leave, compared with the worst which average 6-7 days__¹__
  2. Over 50% of employees are dissatisfied with the noise/chatter in open plan office areas__²__
  3. Cleanliness correlates significantly with a higher work satisfaction level of employees, which in turn leads to a higher level of perceived productivity__³__

I remember well the first company to ever undertake the precursor to the SHAPE survey. Their CEO was waiting in anticipation for the data to reveal all the detail regarding the performance of his employees. When we told him that the single most important factor driving down employee productivity was that the office was too hot, he was astounded. But the data doesn’t lie. The aircon folks were out in a flash, and some blinds were installed to control the afternoon sun. Issue resolved – in a week.

Reaping the benefits

Another very important lesson from this experience was that when management took quick and decisive action on issues identified by the staff after they took the time and effort to complete a survey, they appreciated it. The CEO maintains it was an important event for the business, one where the timely and clearly overt actions could be observed and judged, in this case very positively. The staff felt the love, and still do!

__¹__Ihab, Elzeyadi. 2011. Pdfs.Semanticscholar.Org.

²"What Science Says About Open Offices — And 6 Things You Can Do About It". 2018. Workfront.

__³__Horrevorts, Mirte, et al. 2018. Facilities 36 (9/10): 442-459. doi:10.1108/f-02-2017-0018.

Physical Work Environment