The Furniture/Seatings That Improve Productivity

Gopalakrishnan Nair,  Head - Administration, TBWA WorldwideWith over two decades of experience, Gopalkrishnan has worked with companies like JWT, The Walt Disney Company and Getty Images.

Employee comfort is the most important factor in an organization, which will automatically increase the productivity. If an employer is providing a comfortable place to work, right furniture, good seating, ample move around space, enough leg rooms, and more, the productivity levels goes up automatically.

`Sorry, I could not attend the office yesterday due to back ache'. This is the common statement you will hear in any office, irrespective of age groups. But no one has really thought, is it because of the office seating problem?

The organization thinks the work area and seating should be cemeterial, and same thought goes with the architects, since both want to the office to look good. While it is essential to have good office look, with matching/combo colours and others, it is equally important to have a good seating and comfortable furniture that will go with the profile of the employees for example, a corporate office seating must be different from a BPO setup.

While selecting chairs for office, you must ensure that the chair has enough width to accommodate all sizes of employees, good back rest five wheel castor wheels which allow free movements. Knitted or similar surface on chair will give more comfort than the 100 percent leatherseating for a longer duration seating. But for the operational area where you cannot use the air conditioners, never go for Rexene chair, as they generate heat, which may lower the productivity.

One must also keep in mind that an average size of work station, cubicle and cabin must be minimum of 40sq.ft. 70sq.ft. and 100sq.ft. respectively. The above dimensions will give a decent, free movement within the office, rather than in a crumbled situation, which can lead to frustration.
Proper lighting also plays an important role in office areas. Too much bright or too dim lights will have a negative impact on the productivity. Spot lights should be avoided completely in office work areas and must be used only at the reception/common areas or at the passages if needed.

Remember, architect's focus while designing the office will be more on aesthetic look rather than the productivity aspect. It is always better to form a small committee from different departments and get their opinion before you really invest on the renovations. This will bring a feeling that employees were a part of designing the office and no employee will complain about small glitches.

While it is essential to have good office look it is equally important to have a good seating and comfortable furniture that will go with the profile of the employees

Cafeteria is a place where employees meet together for a longer time, wherein they exchange the work/personal work or interactions. It is advisable to have few bench type seating at cafeteria. It is advisable to not make any separate area for Senior Management and junior management team, which will only divide the office further, thus resulting in negativity.

Everyone likes office which looks good, but many forget about the maintenance part. A good office also needs the office to be maintained in a proper way. No employee will like to sit or work at a place which is not spic & span. Regular maintenance, including pest control is a must on all individual work places.

Hygiene also an important factor. Ensure that no food items are left on table, which can attract rodents. We all talk big, but I know one of my colleagues who is so scared of small cockroach and does not want to go back to her desk the end loser, the organization!

Many office work tables have seen pile of storage items. Hence, it is advisable to ensure you keep only the day-to-day papers (preferably paperless office is ideal) on each one's work station. A work station with no unwanted things will help to achieve more productivity.

While we all talk about seating and tables, flooring also is an important factor. The work places need to have flat flooring. In the current office scenario, carpets are not ideal for common office areas, as this can accumulate dust and stink during monsoon sessions.

The most important thing many offices still not have is the signage of Emergency Exit or Fire exit, which needs to be visible when it is dark too. The signage of Emergency Exit gives an immense comfort level to employees, as they know which side to move out during an emergency.

The storage system needs to be more efficient and must be easily accessible to staff, which will automatically clean up the unwanted papers on everyone’s work place. The office also must encourage staff to clean-up their old stuff, with every three months interval.