5 Ways Office Furniture Can Boost Productivity in the Workplace


Employees in an open plan office setting working while making use of their office furniture.

Productivity is one of the most important factors in business today. Being able to provide more goods or services to consumers in the same amount of time means businesses can achieve higher profits.

However, productivity improvements don’t just benefit the organisation. Productive work is also good for the employee. When a worker feels as though they are working productively,  there’s a sense of accomplishment and job satisfaction. Being unproductive at work can make an employee feel frustrated and burnt out.

The worker may shoulder some of the responsibility for their poor output, but they’re also likely to partly blame their poor surroundings. By improving office furniture and equipment, an organisation gives employees the best chance to be comfortable and achieve an ideal level of productivity.

#1 Employee Ergonomics

In the past, it was common to give every employee the exact same office equipment. It was considered good for office aesthetics and easy for the procurement officer, but times have changed. There’s more choice these days, including ergonomic options that weren’t available even up to 10 years ago.

Office workers today have a greater understanding of repetitive tasks and the toll it can take on the musculoskeletal system. We know that there is no one ergonomic chair or height adjustable desk that will suit everyone’s needs. We all have different body shapes, so there are chairs to accommodate people who are much larger and smaller than the average worker. There are also chairs designed to suit the different tasks that office workers may perform throughout the course of a work day.  

Considering they may spend 40 hours per week sitting at their workstation, workers want to choose the equipment that makes their workday most comfortable. When a worker feels comfortable and ergonomically secure, they’re more likely to perform at their peak.

#2 Employee Comfort

In addition to carefully considering the ergonomic needs of your employees, it’s important to remember that air conditioning and office lighting are two of the most complained about fittings in many workplaces. While adequate air conditioning is important in the workplace, especially in a warm country like Australia, most people also want access to natural light and good quality window treatments to stop any glare on their computer screens. For some, overhead lighting is too bright and for others, overhead lighting is not bright enough.

Workers are most productive when they’re comfortable. Being able to adjust the lighting means they have more control over their environment. It may be as simple as an ergonomic light on their desk, but if the office is being refitted, it’s time to throw out the fluorescent lights and install adjustable lighting to suit the natural light and time of day. It’s ideal to dim lights in the late afternoon to allow our bodies to prepare for sleep. Strong artificial light can disrupt our circadian rhythm, making it hard for some workers to fall asleep at night. A poor night’s sleep is disastrous for our productivity the next day.

#3 Collaboration and Communication

For many workers, collaborating with colleagues is a large part of their day. The office layout and furniture needs to allow for team discussion. Employees want to see and hear their colleagues, so high petitions and desks facing one direction won’t work in this environment.

When designing a new office layout, it’s important to ask employees what they want. Making staff part of the decision-making process gives them a say in how their environment will look and feel. Some workers may prefer an open plan layout, while some workers may want flexibility and have the option to hot-desk without an open plan office. Other workers may like to brainstorm and use a boardroom for collaboration and communication. In this case, a large whiteboard may be the piece of equipment that has the greatest impact on their productivity.

#4 Valuing Employees and Their Needs

Buying cheap office furniture that isn’t comfortable or doesn’t suit an individual’s needs won’t help with staff retention. Employees aren’t likely to stick around long if they don’t feel valued, or feel like their needs are not being met. One good way to show employees that they are valued is to cater to individual needs and concerns.

Ergonomic equipment demonstrates to workers that their health and safety matters and is important to the organisation. Furthermore, ergonomic furniture can reduce the risk of repetitive strain injuries and carpal tunnel, as well as sore necks and backs. Employees are not likely to be as productive once they have sustained an injury, so helping to prevent it can be extremely important in helping to boost and maintain productivity in the workplace.

#5 Staff Morale

Staff morale and productivity are closely linked. If morale is low, productivity is likely to be similar. Whether or not low morale is related to the office layout or furniture, it’s important to understand that an outdated environment will contribute to employee dissatisfaction. Providing state-of-the-art office equipment is not enough if the rest of the surroundings (such as the communal kitchen and office bathroom) are also in need of a facelift.

If the office is starting to show its age, with threadbare carpets and dirty walls, it might be time for a makeover and hopefully in turn, a morale boost. An office refresh can leave staff feeling motivated and reinvigorated in their role and workplace.

While new office furniture isn’t cheap, it’s an investment in employee ergonomics, comfort, morale, wellbeing and productivity - which will pay dividends for years to come. The smallest gain in daily productivity, multiplied by every work day of the year and each employee in any given organisation, can become an impressive return-on-investment.   

If you would like help in improving the productivity in your office, call us on 9240 7066 or contact us online.