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Small business management and HR

7 ways towards a more productive office

Despite signs of the UK economy recovering from the recession, the productivity gap with developed nations is now widest in 20 years according to new figures released by the Office for National Statistics. Output per hour worked in the UK is 21% lower than the average for the other six members of the G7 – the US, Germany, France, Italy, Japan and Canada.

To help counter the slump in productivity, SmallBizPod asked Paul Flinn, founder of Flexioffices, for his top tips on how to create the most productive working environment in your office:

1. Tidy up time, de-clutter your office

Hoarders always have good excuses to keep hold of stuff, valuable documents and unnecessary gadgets on their desks, but a clean desk policy can work wonders mentally as well as visually.

Introduce a “De-clutter day” twice or three times a year as a fun team exercise. You could even have an office competition about the tidiest or prettiest looking desk.

2. Use new technology sensibly not just for the sake of it

Make use of telephone or video conferencing software to save travel time and costs. If you are on a limited budget, then Skype or Google+ Hangouts are a free alternative.

Collaborative documents also streamline time, for example, creating your files in Google Drive allows multiple people to edit documents simultaneously.

3. Consider using serviced office space

The main benefit of using serviced office space is that you can keep fairly flexible especially if you are planning of expanding your business quickly. There is often no minimum contract with a serviced office and you can take serviced office space for as little as a day or even just a meeting. You don’t have to worry about utility bills, buying furniture, broadband or even receptionist, which can save you a huge amount of time.

Flexioffices database of office space includes thousands of properties which and can be searched online by postcode, street, town, stations, airports, and countries. Here is a selection of office spaces in Mayfair, London.

4. Keep a straight posture when sitting on a desk

Staff member suffering with bad backs and repetitive strain injuries aren’t going to be productive – and definitely won’t be happy. In some cases they might take time off sick to treat their condition or in the worst case scenario they might even take you to court.

Take an audit of how your employees sit at their desks. This should be part of your health and safety procedures when hiring new staff. Thighs should be parallel to the floor and upper arms perpendicular to the floor, while wrists should be almost straight. For people that frequently need to type notes while on calls, invest in headsets so they’re not straining their necks and arms.

5. Allow flexible working arrangements

Many studies have proven that flexible working arrangements such as flexible office time and working from home improve job satisfaction and productivity. A survey conducted by YouGov on behalf of Skype found that 23% think they would be able to get more done in their own home than they would in the workplace.

6. Rearrange your office, make it light and green

Open plan offices may look contemporary, but often “sound privacy” can be an issue in open spaces. Also, does chit-chat in the office stop people from working? Does your work involve confidential conversations with clients? For those who would prefer it, make sure you have flexible facilities, private areas, conference and meeting rooms available.

Natural light also increases productivity, energy and creativity. Studies have found that having a desk plant is one of the quickest and easiest ways of increasing productivity and cognitive attention.

7. Encourage well-being in the workspace

Having a weekly fruit delivery – like the convenient service offered by Fruitdrop! – is a brilliant way to promote healthier diet choices. Dark chocolate is also said to be good as it has less sugar.

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