When it comes to morale and wellbeing, the office environment is all important. For employers looking for a burst in productivity, ‘new year, new start’ should mean a workplace review and refresh.

There are always simple measures any business can take to refresh its workspaces within budget. If a desk move-around and a lick of paint are what the business can stretch to, these can have impact on motivation levels if implemented well.

By taking a fresh look at employees’ surroundings and assessing with an open mind where and how changes could be made, the benefits in performance terms can be significant.

According to Forbes magazine, the main elements of a highly productive office are sound control, lighting, ergonomics and layout. Get these right and the greater the chance that people will enjoy coming to work, be more effective and stay with the business longer.

Here are five suggested moves for refreshing a workplace:

1. Lighting

The trick of lighting a workplace well is to provide enough light for people to comfortably view documents as well as screens without over lighting the environment and racheting up energy bills.

While poor lighting can contribute to eyestrain and headaches, many workplaces are overlit, which is said to be as damaging to productivity as a lack of light. With more light needed to view paper documents than a computer screen, desk lighting or ‘layered’ lighting could be the answer. By enabling people to adjust lights to focus on desk documents, with an ambient layer of lighting overhead, employers may see some impressive results.

One study by the California Lighting Technology Center and the California Energy Commission showed that making LED-based localised task lighting the primary layer of light in offices resulted in a 50 percent saving in lighting energy and overwhelming user satisfaction.

From a morale perspective, providing desk lights gives each worker control and the ability to optimise their workstation lighting according to personal need.

2. Layout

There is growing trend for ‘mixed use’ offices where people can work together in an open plan setting, use break out areas for informal meetings and use private or quiet rooms for uninterrupted work.

Giving employees all these options under one roof is a great way of meeting different needs and working styles while keeping people together at work.

Using the latest bench desk systems can be a great way to upgrade from the old left and right handed workstations. These space saving desks help to create cleaner looking offices, freeing up space for social areas or more desking if required.

3. Sound reduction

Noise can be a cause of stress for some employees, so finding ways to minimise sound is key. Acoustic desktop screens or partitions can help to deflect noise and add a burst of colour to any office.

While ensuring there are rooms for people to hold meetings and conference calls will help to stem the level of disruption for colleagues in open spaces, providing headphones for people that need to listen to audio or participate in skype calls at their desks should also be considered.

4. Storage

Are there piles of papers on desks, things out of place or clutter building up on floors? A messy office can be a dispiriting sight and undermine efficiency, so storage should be included in any workspace review.

Storage solutions such as the easyOffice Design Your Own Cupboard range let customers add their personality to office furniture, with state of the art printing of photographs, logos or text onto these cupboards helping to create a bespoke look for any office.

5. Ergonomic seating

A review of seating can not just help to improve the look of a workspace but is also essential to employee comfort and productivity. Back pain caused by poor posture is a significant factor in lost working days, so it is legally and commercially sensible to speak regularly to employees to assess how they are sitting and whether they have a chair that meets their needs. All desk based workers should be regularly checking and if necessary, adjusting the height of their seat and the height and angle of backrests to ensure they are seated correctly.

If new chairs are needed, then these come in a range of styles and colours and can help revive any office environment.

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