Everything you need to know about workplace productivity

Young man working in office

Workplace productivity to boost your business

Over the last year, innovative companies have embraced remote and hybrid working models that have enabled them to transform their workplace. And with those shifts have come some pretty impressive performance gains -- like the largest productivity increases since the 1970s.

Forward-thinking companies know that the best way to raise productivity is to create a happy, engaged team. That's why they focus on creating an optimal workspace that helps every team member do their best work. In this guide, we'll walk through all the steps you need to build a productive workspace at your organization.


Section 1

Defining workplace productivity

What is workplace productivity

Workplace productivity is about planning the working environment intentionally, so that every member of your team can fully bring their strengths and talents to their most important work every day.

With the move to remote work in 2020, businesses saw the fastest productivity increase in decades. And as they now return to the office, organizations are seeking ways to build productive workplaces that can preserve these gains using smart office technologies.

Building a productive workplace doesn't mean squeezing the most work out of every employee. Locking employees into the same desk and maximizing their workload day in and day out is a pre-pandemic mindset — and a fast track to burning out your entire team.

Instead, productive workplaces are flexible, frictionless environments where employees have the freedom to make their own choices, so they're more motivated to bring their best selves to the office every day.

Why is productivity important in the workplace?

Let's take a step back and think about what productivity looks like in today's workplace. In a 21st-century workplace, your team members aren't cranking out widgets. They're doing the deep analytical thinking and sophisticated creative work that helps your company achieve breakthrough after breakthrough.

Today's leading organizations know employees reach their highest potential when they're given the freedom to choose the working environment that suits them best — not stuck in a cube farm.

That's why smart office technology has become increasingly popular. Smart office tools support the workforce in finding and shaping a workplace to their needs, so they can work as productively as possible.

How to improve workplace productivity

We’ve seen that your office environment can help your team take their performance to the next level... or make it harder to get work done. And that means it's no longer enough to simply rent out an office space, fill it with desks, chairs, and meeting rooms, and call it a day.

The best workspaces give your people flexibility to work the way they want.

It's 2021. Everything is on demand now. You can download books to your Kindle, stream any show you want, order delivery straight to your door, and book flights to your favorite destination. All in seconds.

And as we come to expect more and more choice in our everyday lives, it only makes sense that workplaces should be on demand, too.

Your needs change throughout the course of the day. When you first arrive at the office, you might need a quiet space to focus for an hour or two. Later, as other team members arrive, you'll start looking for meeting rooms or lounge areas where you can collaborate and discuss ideas. And later in the day, you might need a private booth to jump on a call with a client.

That's the idea behind activity-based working, an approach to work that lets your people choose from a variety of work settings in the moment, depending on the tasks they're focused on. By empowering team members to choose the space they need throughout the day, you can help them reach higher levels of productivity and satisfaction.


"It's not an accident that the best places to work are also the places that make the most money."

-Gordon Bethune, former CEO and chairman of Continental Airlines

Section 2

Elements of a productive workplace

Lightning

Poor lighting can have serious effects on the health and productivity of your workers. One recent study found that 80 percent of office workers reported negative symptoms due to poor lighting, including headaches, fatigue, and eye strain. Workers consistently say that it's difficult to focus and work at their best when sitting under the glare of artificial fluorescent lights for hours at a time.

Smart lighting controls are an ideal way to give your workers more control over lighting levels in their work environment. By letting team members choose whether they want to work in a bright or low light setting, you enable them to customize their environment to their unique preferences.

And when you're designing your office, bringing in more natural light is always a great choice. Natural light doesn't just cut down on eye strain and headaches — it's also a mood booster.

That's why the most productive workplaces are filled with bright natural light, like Deloitte's new smart office space in Amsterdam:


Furniture

Office furniture matters... a lot more than you might think. After all, a fifteen year study in the US found that the average adult sits 6.5 hours per day.

And if you're spending that time in a chair that's not designed to support you, you already know the result: wrist disorders like carpal tunnel syndrome, shoulder pain, and lower back disorders.

Providing ergonomic chairs is an ideal way to help your team members avoid slouching that can impair their health and kneecap their productivity. But that's just a starting point. The truth is, we feel our best when we're in motion, not when we're sedentary. Offer your team options like standing desks that can help them incorporate more movement into their day.

Tip: Click on any management role to learn more about how smart offices help leaders in specific functions.

Noise

Open plan offices are more popular than ever. But they come with a cost. Many workers spend their days in noisy open offices that make it harder for them to get work done.

Workers are up to 66 percent less productive when they spend their days in open plan offices. In these environments, workers are constantly subjected to nearby conversations, ringing phones, and other distractions — all of which can pull attention away from the task at hand and make it difficult to refocus.

And the effects of noisy office environments go beyond lost productivity. Studies have found that workers who are intermittently exposed to unexpected noises are more likely to experience higher stress levels and hypertension.

Design

Fun fact: research shows that how you set up your office can make a big difference in how your team collaborates. Researchers at the University of Michigan found that using spatial design to encourage serendipitous encounters resulted in greater innovation and improved the overall performance of their scientists.

Steve Jobs famously planned Pixar's animation studios around a large atrium containing meeting rooms, bathrooms, mailboxes, and the cafeteria, all with the goal of maximizing chance encounters. Like-minded companies are planning their office layouts with a variety of areas that offer their employees more opportunities for unplanned interactions.

But you don't need to have Pixar's budget to design your workspace for innovation. Simply including a variety of different types of spaces in your workspace can give your team the versatility they need to work at their best, throughout the day.

Meeting rooms are perfect when you need to get together with clients to plan out a project. But when you need to put your head down and focus, it's great to grab a desk and do some work on your own. And when you want to reconnect with your team, social spaces like lounges and booths can be ideal.

Even if you aren't ready for a full-on office redesign, you can still change your layout to benefit your employees. Move furniture around, create solo and meeting areas, and bring in new plants and artwork to spruce up the workplace. Small changes can go a long way.

"It’s time to rethink work. Don’t build bigger. Build smarter."

- Sander Schutte, CEO Mapiq

Technology

Today's leading organizations are building tech-enabled workplaces known as smart offices that give their people full control over their work environment. In a smart office, connected teams can take advantage of a full ecosystem of IoT, hardware, and software, making it easy to find each other, locate nearby workspaces, and customize them to their needs.

The most successful workplace strategies give employees flexibility, enabling people and teams to work wherever and whenever suits them best. Today's leading organizations know that they have to make their people feel great at work to get them to perform at their best.

And by deploying technology, businesses can use their workspaces in an agile manner and cut down on unused floor space. These technical innovations offer more than efficiency. They create a pleasant workspace where employees enjoy coming to work.


Workplace efficiency

Building a productive workplace starts with creating the right environment -- but it doesn’t end there. Each week, knowledge workers lose a full day to meetings, meeting prep, and inefficient processes — and supervisors lose even more. That’s why top-performing organizations make it a key priority to optimize their workflows and processes.

Mapping workflows

Only 2% of the population can multitask successfully. And for the rest of us, task switching is a major drain on employee productivity. Every time you switch tasks, it takes about 23 minutes to get back on track — causing employees to lose up to 40% of their productivity overall.

And meetings are another serious productivity drain. One recent survey in the Harvard Business Review turned up widespread complaints about meetings, with 71% of supervisors across a variety of industries saying their meetings were unproductive and 64% saying they came at the cost of deep work.

This is where technology can be a powerful ally, taking over small tasks that would normally be distractions and getting your team on the same page without a lengthy meeting. Eliminating these bottlenecks can streamline your processes and make it easier for your team members to stay on track.

Getting everybody's input will help you pinpoint issues on the front end. Before you commit to a new process, map it out with your team using sticky notes or a whiteboard platform like Miro. 


Finding resources

Simply locating the right documents is a major challenge for most organizations. In one recent study, 39% of employees reported that document management processes at their organization were broken, with nearly half saying that simply locating documents was a major hassle. Even worse, 55% reported that during the onboarding process, they weren't given access to the documents and resources they needed.

Far too many employees are still stuck in the dark ages of document sharing — sending every document as an email file attachment. But with over a hundred email messages sent per day on average, sharing files by email is a drag on productivity. If you've ever sent files back and forth for editing, you know how much it can slow you down.

In 2021, it's critical to have a platform that's purpose-built for file sharing. Using file storage platforms like Google Drive, Box, or Dropbox, you can keep all your files and make updates directly in the cloud — eliminating headaches about version control.

Prioritizing tasks

You'll also want to help your team learn to take control of their own work. Planning work effectively can make for a happier, more productive team.

Here's how one company did it.

Employees were asked to spend the first five minutes of the day in a quick daily planning meeting. They listed out their tasks for the day, prioritized their top five, and reported to an accountability buddy.

Building a daily practice helped them to focus on what was really important — not whatever was at the top of their inbox, or what felt most urgent. And by laying out everything they needed to do, employees could see what they needed to delegate and hand off tasks proactively.

Finding workspaces

Whether your people need to flesh out ideas with their team or find a space for deep, focused work, employees should always be able to find the workspace that's right for them at any moment.

  • Meeting spaces. Every smart office needs meeting rooms where your team can bring clients, and more casual spaces like restaurant-style booths and lounge-style seating that's ideal for gathering and talking through ideas.
  • Social spaces. Providing social spaces like kitchen areas and cafe-style tables offers workers a place to connect with their peers, while creating a more welcoming and inviting office vibe.
  • Working spaces. Sometimes, you just need to work. An ideal smart office design offers plenty of quiet spaces, enabling workers to quickly find a desk and get to work on their project.
Section 3

Why measure your workplace productivity?

Smart offices make office life more efficient, easier and empower employees to get the most out of their day. What tools and solutions does Mapiq offer to eliminate traditional office problems and transform them into a competitive advantage for your business?

Improve team performances

A truly productive workplace helps your team to get their best work done. And that means the best way to decide if you've built a productive workplace is by looking at your team. Are they reaching their most important goals? Do they use their work hours to get their key projects done? Are they doing work that meets or exceeds your expectations? Do they avoid distractions and prioritize the most critical tasks?

Reduce workplace operation cost

Focusing on what your employees need pays off in the long run. As we've seen, optimizing your workplace helps your people perform at your best and elevates their performance. But it also cuts operating costs. By using smart technology to monitor how your space is being used, you can cut down on unnecessary office space and reduce your operating costs.


Section 4

How to measure workplace productivity

Smart offices make office life more efficient, easier and empower employees to get the most out of their day. What tools and solutions does Mapiq offer to eliminate traditional office problems and transform them into a competitive advantage for your business?

Individual productivity

If you're not setting specific goals to measure individual performance, your people don't have a clear way to know if they're successful. (And that means you don't have it, either.)

And the best way to give them that? SMART goals.

  • Specific: Your goal is clear, detailed, specific, and meaningful.
  • Measurable: Your goal includes a quantifiable metric to track success.
  • Achievable: Your goal is realistic. Your people have the skills, knowledge, and tools to attain it.
  • Relevant: Your goal aligns with the team and company mission.
  • Time-Bound: Your goal includes a clear deadline.

Team productivity

While SMART goals help you to assess individual performance, they don't give you a great picture of your overall workplace productivity. For that, you need team-based metrics that help you look at overall performance across your workplace.

  • Labor productivity formula: This is perhaps the simplest way to measure your team's productivity — it's just total output divided by total input. For example, a company might generate $277,300 in revenue a month from 1,727 total hours worked. That's a productivity of $160 per hour.
  • Revenue per employee: Sometimes, companies calculate their productivity by looking at the amount of revenue they generate per employee. This is similar to the productivity formula we just looked at, but on a per-employee basis, not a per-hour basis. If that same company employs 13 people, that's a monthly revenue per employee of $21,330.
  • Percentage of goal met: Another common way of calculating productivity is to set team or organizational goals, such as the number of sales a team needs to make or the amount of revenue the organization needs to drive within a given period. For example, if the company goal is to hit $12,000 in revenue this month and the company brings in $12,620, then it's brought in 105% of the target revenue.
Section 5

How to create a productive workplace

Once you are convinced of the benefits of smart office solutions, you’re probably wondering how to best get started. When having the right solutions, transforming your workplace into a smart office is easier than you think.

Follow these steps to start creating your smart office:

1. Let employees book facilities

Start by giving people the tools they need to do their best work. Mapiq's smart office app functions as the remote control of your office for employees. Having a live overview of what's happening in the office will let them book days in the office, choose the right workspace and see who's in today. Giving them freedom of choice doesn't only boost their well-being, it also keeps your office efficient.

2. Analyze how they use your office

Now that employees have the freedom and flexibility to decide how the job should be done, it's time for you to get smart. Through your admin dashboard in Mapiq's Smart Office Platform, you can analyze how people use your office. You can discover the most popular facilities, analyze peak-hours and identify dead zones.

3. Optimize your workplace

Workplace analytics are a great solution to efficiently manage your office. Because now that you know how people use your office, you can easily optimize your workspace. Your analytics have shown peak-hours and occupancy rates. Now it's up to you to make smart decisions on where to scale up- or down. You can now reduce operation cost and efficiently manage your real estate portfolio.

Ready to create a great place to work where your employees feel autonomous, aligned and productive?

Our smart office experts are ready to help you establish a personalized action plan! Contact us today!

Section 6

Smart office solutions for highly productive workplaces

Truly delivering workplace productivity goes beyond rethinking your workflows. It's a fundamental transformation of the office. With smart office technology, your team gets the flexibility they need, so booking meeting spaces, coordinating shifts, and controlling their work environment all become simple.

Book a desk

With desk booking, employees no longer have an assigned desk. Instead, they can book desks within the floor or area of their choice throughout the day, enabling them to interact with people they might not come into contact with in a traditional office arrangement.

While hot desking offers employees flexibility, it's also an ideal way for your organization to stay lean. Office utilization peaks around 40% on a typical day, so converting some of your unused desk space into social areas or meeting rooms enables you to make better use of your space.

Find meeting rooms

Room booking makes it simple for your team to find meeting spaces when inspiration strikes. Your team can easily see which spaces are available, so they can grab a space to plan out a project or discuss ideas at a moment's notice.

Align office days

Make sure your team's in-office days are time well spent. Social connector makes it a snap to see who's coming in when. And avoid the awkwardness of being the only one who showed up to the office.

And once your team is there, save them the hassle of wandering all over the building looking for their colleagues. With colleague finding, they can stop searching — and see at a glance where their colleagues are working.

Control light & temperature

Light and temperature controls make it simple for your employees to customize their work environment so it’s comfortable for them — right from their smartphones.

Analyze workplace performance

Setting your office capacity used to be a huge headache. Endless back-and-forth with department heads and hours spent sifting through email surveys -- all to get a very rough estimate of your building utilization.

Smart office technology changes the game. You can easily adjust the capacity of every area of your office, view historical and real-time data on shifts booked, and scale your capacity up or down based on actual office usage -- all with Mapiq's smart office tools.

Section 7

Business case results of a productive workplace with Mapiq

Companies who embrace smart office solutions can expect big returns on their investment. What do those returns look like? Let’s explore some real-world examples.

Real-world business results

The results you gain from your smart office transition depend on your starting point and your strategy. The results of our clients include the following:

Inspiring smart office examples

Be inspired by companies around the globe that benefit from their smart buildings:

Section 6

Conclusions and next steps

Making your office smart is an easy way to realize business growth. By offering flexibility and a personalized experience, your employees will become the best version of themselves. On the other hand, you'll need less space and facilities which means your operation costs will decrease. Or well said, you'll get more out of less square meters.

Get in touch with us today to learn more about how your organization can benefit from our smart office solutions. Subscribe to our newsletter to receive the latest trends in the future of work right in your inbox.

Learn how your organization can benefit from our smart office solutions.

Wieke Jong, team member
Wieke Jong
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