The classic image of corporate America is a row of cubicles: workers segmented in tiny uniform units like bees in a hive, pounding away on their keyboards with minimum interaction, minimum distraction, and maximum focus. But corporate America is being transformed as cutting edge technology companies like Google and Aetna strive make their work environments as collaborative, interactive, and stimulating as possible.
This is in response to a cavalcade of studies indicating that employees perform better in more flexible and positive work environments. For instance, at Aetna almost half the staff telecommutes to allow for family time and mediate the stress of commuting. This strategy is likely thanks to data like that garned by Stanford that showed a 13% increase in productivity among call center representatives who were allowed to work from home.
3 Ways To Structure Your Work Environment To Improve Employee Productivity:
1. Create Opportunities For Employee Interaction
Large break-rooms with amenities like foosball tables, free healthy snacks, and massage chairs may seem like a dangerous distraction. But in actuality, creating opportunities for your employees to relax and interact is one of the most effective ways to encourage work-related strategizing. Organizational guru John Seely Crown was the director of Xerox when he discovered a fascinating fact about his employees: when they hung out in the coffee room, ostensibly just wasting time or shooting the breeze, they were actually engaging in highly focused and productive conversations about on-the-job problems and solutions. Ben Weber, CEO of Sociometric Solutions, went to great lengths to organize employee coffee breaks at the same time, so employees would have the best chance to chat, interact, bond, and formulate.