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How Flooring Impacts Employee Productivity

Posted on Nov 4, 2015, by Michael Eckert

Your employees spend the majority of their working day in an office environment, and the design of your workplace has a huge impact on their performance. Today, I’m looking at four ways your choice of flooring can impact (and improve) your employees’ productivity.

1) Noise Levels

Workplace noise has been repeatedly tied to reduced productivity and performance, with high levels of noise limiting employees’ ability to recall important information, and even perform basic arithmetic. The problem is (quite literally) amplified in open office environments, with workers demonstrating increased levels of stress-related hormones as a direct result of high noise levels.

Noise even impacts health and wellness, with employees shown to make fewer ergonomic adjustments in noisy environments, increasing physical strain and discomfort in the process. When comparing staff absences between open office and shared office environments, the noisier open office environments will often see significant increases in absences and sick leave.

Thankfully, your choice of flooring can help reduce noise levels. Cushion-backed tiles are particularly effective at absorbing structure-borne noise generated by chairs, foot traffic and trolleys. This is especially evident when raised flooring is used, with open-cell cushion-backed carpet absorbing over 50% more noise than hard-backed products.

2) Sit-to-Stand Working

With more organizations than ever prioritizing the health and wellness of their employees, there’s a growing trend towards sit-to-stand working. To help employees maximize their productivity, whether seated or standing, it’s important to choose the right type of flooring for your sit-to-stand workspace. For help making the right decisions, ask your manufacturer the Health & Wellness questions outlined in the free tip sheet below.

Free Tip Sheet: 25 Questions to Ask Your Carpet Tile Manufacturer

The comfort and wellbeing of standing workers can be improved by choosing a cushion-backed carpet tile. Open-cell cushion backing has been shown to reduce muscle fatigue by as much as 24%, and heel impact loads by up to 30%. Over the course of the working day, this translates into fewer aches and pains, and helps employees to focus on the task at hand.

3) Design and Color

Design and color have an important impact on the mood and productivity of your employees; and while dark, drab spaces can create a demoralizing environment (even inducing feelings of sadness and depression), bright and welcoming spaces can help to improve motivation, creativity and productivity. Design aesthetics also play an important role in attracting and retaining employees, and a colorful, newly-decorated workplace will be infinitely more attractive to employees than a neglected space with decades-old flooring.

In an open office environment, your flooring also plays an important role in distinguishing between separate areas, with different layouts, colors and designs creating transitions from open offices into conferences rooms, creative spaces into quiet areas. As well as facilitating easy way-finding, your flooring can act as a visual cue: with subdued, neutral colors used to denote quieter areas, and bold, bright colors indicating a creative space.

4) Warmth and Comfort

It’s hard to focus in a frozen office or sweltering conference room; and temperature is frequently cited as one of the most important factors influencing comfort and productivity in the workplace. Thankfully, certain types of flooring can help regulate temperatures in the workplace.

Carpet tiles (particularly those with a cushion backing) are excellent insulators, with some products even earning an R-15 insulation rating – on par with certain types of wall insulation. As well as helping to conserve warmth in cool spaces, these tiles can be invaluable for keeping out heat in particularly hot areas. With 50% of offices too hot in the summer, and 52% too cold in the winter, regulating temperatures can go a long way towards ensuring a comfortable, productive work environment - regardless of the climate outside.


Topics: Health & Wellness

Michael Eckert

Written by Michael Eckert