How To Create A Productive Workspace For Your Start-Up Or Small Business

Rumor has it start-up (hereinafter includes the term small businesses within its meaning) workspaces are the envy of every average white (blue?) collar worker.   Of course, start-up employees work long hours with the hope that the likes of Facebook or Google will acquire them one day.  So if you happen to fall in the category of start-ups or small businesses hoping to make it big or just make it at all, ensuring you have a productive workspace should definitely be high on your priority list.

Tip #1:  Open Spaces v. Closed Spaces

So much has been written over the last month on whether open space work offices are really that instrumental in guaranteeing productivity.   Whether you believe open spaces work or not, trying to find the right fit for your start-up will be important to getting the best out of your employees.  Open spaces are meant to boost collaborative spirit but can also serve as a major source of employee distraction.  However, open spaces do generate greater accountability, as employees are hesitant to browse Facebook during office hours at the risk of prying eyes catching them in the act.   In the event that you choose the closed office scenario for your business, maybe having an open door policy can help solve the productivity conundrum.  That way, employees know that their colleagues are easily approachable but at the same time if an employee needs time to zone out and hammer out an important assignment, he or she can very easily do so.   At the end of the day, find what works best for you and stick to it.  Perhaps, an open-closed combination may be the solution for you.

Tip #2:  Step Away, Even If It’s Just For A Minute

Some of the greatest entrepreneurs had their best ideas in the most unusual places.  Be it the shower or on your local train, stepping away from your intense workspace or office can help spark creativity.

Here is what you need do:  every time you need to stretch your legs or use the bathroom, embrace that break and learn to leave your workspace for a few minutes.  You will be surprised by how a walk to the bathroom may result in a flow (!) of ideas.

Tip #3:  Interval Training

For those of you who actually work out, interval training is not a new concept to you.  But for the majority of us, interval training just sounds plain boring.

But this is what we mean:  try to chalk out periods of time during the day where you dedicate 30-60 minutes to interruption free work.  This means, intense, rigorous work that needs immediate attention.  Once those 30-60 minutes is up, reward yourself!  Take a break, maybe even resort to tip #2 above and begin your next set of interval training.   Learn more about interval training here:


Tip #4:  Air Conditioning: An Investment For A Lifetime

We can’t stress enough how important a ‘cool’ workspace is. (And we mean this both literally and figuratively!)  Heat, without a doubt, will kill productivity.   So instead of letting your employees give you the excuse of “it’s too hot to work in here”, install air conditioning.  Air conditioning will help promote two things:  a) it will cut employee stoppages, i.e. employees won’t waste time trying to cool off and b) it will boost overall productivity.   Studies actually show that overall employee productivity was higher when employees were not burdened down by unnecessary heat.  In fact, employee health also improved as a result of air conditioning.   So if you don’t already have one, think about air conditioning as a necessary addition to your workspace. More info here.

Tip #5: Clean, Clean, Clean

Most employees hate being told what to do especially when it concerns their workspace.  But having a clutter free desk can actually stimulate a variety of brain muscles.  When employees have a clutter free desk, their brain can focus more on the task ahead and less on the junk in front of them.  Some of you might say, “I work better when my stuff is everywhere” but who are you kidding, really?   If you struggle with cleanliness, use that part of the day when you are least productive to do some tidying up.   After all, if your desk is a mess, how will you inspire others to keep their own desks clean?

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