The business world, regardless of industry, is competitive, constantly changing and target driven.

To remain a leader in your industry you need to be relentless about customer excellence, innovative in your thinking and implementations, and need to go the extra mile to retain your staff.  This is especially true for open plan office environments where working conditions can sometimes be challenging due to sensory overload and staff diversity.

This time of year your staff is often exhausted, demotivated and their productivity plummets as you head into the silly season. Ever thought that the reason for the disengagement or exhaustion could lie in the science behind your office space?

According to the Undercover Recruiter:

  • In the early 1920s, the goal of the office space was to create an environment for maximum productivity. All desks faced a supervisor and each worker sat alone at a forward facing desk.
  • The 1930s and 40s bought air conditioning and fluorescent lighting to offices. This changed interior design of offices as office furniture was no longer limited to being near windows or plug sockets.
  • The 1960s saw the rise of the cubicle. Now this word may strike fear into your heart, but it actually worked in improving productivity and gave workers their own makeshift offices.
  • The recession between the 80s and 90s saw cubicle design to the extreme – companies were cramming as many people as they could into whatever space they could find to save money.
  • In more recent times, the world has embraced a more open plan type office, with space for collaboration and discussion. It has been argued that this causes distractions in the workplace.Distractions, air quality and office lighting are the top 3 factors which decide whether or not your office is a productive one.
  • Having a nice working environment means workers are going to be happier. Unmotivated workers cost money!

The article continues to highlight the fact that 75% of the world’s employees will be young people by this year (2015). Millenials place a high value on work-life balance and see their jobs as an experience, rather than just a pay check. A nice work environment will therefore contribute to a happier workforce, which in turns means productivity (aka your bottom line) will also improve.

In short: Your office space can lead to unmotivated staff, which in turn costs money! But how are businesses supposed to overcome this conundrum?

Answers are now available through a scientific and innovative Sensory Audit:

• It is based on the research of Dr Annemarie Lombard (PhD in Health Sciences) and uses neuroscience principles to measure the impact of external stimuli on human behaviour and productivity;
• It delivers a comprehensive and detailed 50-item best practice rating system based on an on-site assessment of your collective space, individual space and culture/wellness components;
• It provides a blueprint of your current best-practise status (what are you doing well and where you can improve); and
• Is an extensive report with results and recommendations on how the work environment can be adapted to promote optimum performance, employee loyalty and greater profits.

Clients such as Woolworths, TFG, Homechoice and Telesure all found this to be true.

Says Hugo Heunis, Credit Operations Manager, Homechoice: “During February 2014 Sensory Intelligence conducted a Sensory Audit for our 600 seater contact centre. The audit delivered comprehensive results that improved our understanding regarding the use of space on our employees’ wellness and productivity. We could use the practical suggestions to plan our new space. More recently we were able to use the results again to send recommendations to our CEO regarding the use of colour in the centre.”

What are the real benefits of a Sensory Audit?

• Optimised physical workspaces that will reduce unnecessary and annoying distractions
• Increased focus, attention, creativity and productivity for longer periods of time
• Reduced absenteeism and sick leave by reducing stress and health risks
• Teams will work better together and collaborate easier
• Improved customer service and satisfaction
• Creation of a healthier and more productive workspace
• Build morale and employee loyalty and become an employer of choice

If you consider yourself to be an innovative and progressive organisation that takes investment in human capital seriously, we would like to invite you to contact us or to visit our website for more information.