4 Ways the Wrong Office Can Harm Business Productivity

by Knotel: Jul 05, 2018

Many companies view their offices as just a collection of desks and computer terminals, a utilitarian space to get things done. But the most successful ones see the office as an environment for creativity, collaboration, and the unleashing of potential.

Exactly what constitutes the perfect office depends on each specific business and the individuals that power them.

If your office space isn’t suited to your operation, your business’s productivity could suffer. Unfortunately, too many business owners don’t realize how suboptimal offices affect team morale and output until serious problems begin to surface.

Here are four potential ways your office could be holding your business back.

1. Excessively large offices can isolate employees

An office that is too big can make collaborative working difficult. Great things aren’t generally accomplished by yelling at colleagues across the room.

There’s also the isolation of employees to consider. A huge, cavernous office space can create a real sense of remoteness—giving the impression that everyone is on their own. When this happens, morale can take a dive pretty quickly.

Large offices also require more furnishings—most of which aren’t necessary. Extra cabling might be required, cleaning bills will be higher, and cooling and heating costs will shoot up, too.

Why pay for space your organization simply doesn’t need? All of these issues increase business expenses and hurt profitability.

2. Excessively small offices stifle growth

If your office is too small, there’s a good chance that your existing employees are already working on top of one another.

While collaboration is great at the right time, a lack of privacy and personal space can make people self-conscious and uncomfortable. If your employees are constantly thinking about how close their colleagues are sitting, they won’t be able to thoroughly focus on the task at hand. Quality of work dips.

And what happens when you land that huge new contract you’ve been chasing? If you’re locked into a long lease for an office that’s too small, how are you going to expand your team to prepare for the extra work coming in? Even if you manage to squeeze new recruits into the space, where will meetings and breakout exercises take place? How does it reflect upon your company’s organizational skills that your space is so ill-suited to the growth of your business?

There will come a time when the lack of office space begins to directly hurt productivity—and that’s when you start to throw money away.

3. The wrong layout makes teamwork difficult

The importance of an office’s layout simply can’t be underestimated.

Think about how your team operates and how you like to supervise. A labyrinth of corridors, hidden corners, and dark recesses isn’t conducive to teamwork, communication, or support.

If the work you do requires lots of collaboration, you probably need open spaces, lots of breakout areas, and leisure zones where people can relax and recharge their batteries from time to time.

On the other hand, if you work in an industry that requires a high level of privacy, more phone booths and conference rooms might be desirable.

The bottom line? Rather than adapting to wholly inappropriate working environments, you should be demanding office space that complements—and even enhances—your operation.

4. An uncomfortable office produces uncomfortable outcomes

Sure, you might be able to save some money by squeezing lots of employees into the smallest space possible. But the lack of comfort and space would likely have a negative effect on morale.

When people are unhappy, stressed, and physically uncomfortable, they simply can’t devote 100% of their attention to their work. The resulting lost productivity is often higher than the savings delivered by choosing the smallest office possible.

The simple truth is that no two organizations are the same. For too long, the office rental industry has been failing startups and growing companies by offering inflexible leases on spaces that don’t meet business needs or support business objectives.

Offices should adapt to the businesses they host—not the other way around.

This is the ethos adopted by Knotel. Flexible leasing agreements enable offices to grow and adapt as businesses evolve. The result is a working environment that promotes positive morale, productivity, and a healthier bottom line. And it allows executives the freedom to focus on changing the future.