In an increasingly digital world, the opportunities to work how and where we like are rapidly evolving. Whether a self-employed worker or an employee in a large company, the scope for us to work from home, coworking spaces or simply while travelling to and from work presents us with the chance to save time and work more. But how important is our work environment on our output and performance overall?
Studies have shown that the physical environment which workers are presented with has an influence on the performance of that employee. In a telecoms company in Kenya, it was found that employees believed their performance was encouraged by having a better work environment. This included furniture, spatial layouts lighting, and noise.
While this may seem obvious, it is often an overlooked area, particularly for smaller companies or startups, where the money is tight. So, what can you do as a small business owner to make the most of your workspace opportunities while sticking to a tight budget?
Coworking is a growth industry in the UK and there are no signs of things slowing down. There are over 35000 coworking spaces worldwide, up from just over 14000 in 2017-18.
The ability to get out of your home office can help to reduce stress and keep your head clear. As a business owner, I recently had to opportunity to work at the lovely Boxhouse Bath Offices. Not your usual workspace, but this refreshing environment allowed me to relax while getting my work done. The rest of my week was noticeably easier.
Chris from Boxhouse (who also manages Whalewharf Offices in Bristol) says “One of the great advantages of our location is the wonderful and unique working environment we are able to offer prospects. We see more and more businesses thinking about the wellbeing of their employees, and making the move to this type of location, regardless of the industry.”
From a direct business point of view, coworking spaces can be a great way to naturally network and meet other business owners who may benefit from your services and skills.
Working from home
One of the fears new business owners have when making the jump from the office to working from home is maintaining a strong work ethic. Getting your home office environment right can make a huge difference to your output and overall performance, especially when starting out. A couple of top tips to making the most of your time at home:
- Light in important – environments with natural light are proven to increase productivity. This aids well being and health which in turn increased performance.
- Declutter – Do not use your desk as extra storage. Having a clean space to work in helps to maintain your focus.
- Dedicated office space – If you are able to make the space in your home to have a dedicated space that is not intruded by the rest of your home. This will help to stop unwanted distractions
- Do have some distractions – As I was just saying remove distractions….but keep some. Everyone needs some rest and breaks throughout the day. Keeping small items around which you can use to distract yourself from work will help to reduce burnout and increase your concentration through the day
As business owners getting your environment right can be a quick win which, in a lot of cases can be inexpensive. The methods we discussed above can help to aid the performance of yourself and your business whatever stage it is at.