Businesses of all shapes and sizes are worried about employee productivity. In fact, 43% of Fortune 500 and Fortune 1000 executives cited low productivity as their biggest organizational challenge, according to research from Atlassian. While many leaders are debating the best ways to maximize employee productivity, one factor that is often overlooked is the physical work environment.


According to the NBF 2024 Workspaces: Solved Report, a staggering 92% of respondents cited their physical workspace as at least somewhat impactful on their productivity. What’s more – 44% considered their physical work environment to impact their ability to be productive “a great deal.” This underscores the need to pay close attention to the design and layout of our workspaces to ensure optimal performance.


Learn more about how workspace can drive – or hinder – productivity and how you can optimize your workspace below.

The Impact of Workspace on Productivity

The physical work environment of your office is just as important as work-life balance, training and career opportunities in terms of employee satisfaction. From the layout of your office to the furniture you choose, every aspect plays a critical role in shaping your work experience.


Continuous improvement and regular upgrades are essential to keeping your workspace conducive to productivity. This could mean investing in ergonomic furniture to support your physical well-being or creating focus-promoting spaces that minimize distractions.


Moreover, the physical work environment fosters face-to-face collaboration, which is often necessary for innovation and problem-solving. Being in a space that encourages interaction can boost employee motivation and foster a sense of camaraderie among team members.

3 Barriers to Productivity at the Office

According to the NBF 2024 Workspaces: Solved Report, over 1 in 5 employees express dissatisfaction with their ability to work effectively within office settings. Some of the top challenges hindering employees from being productive are:

  1. Excessive noise – Inadequate noise control was cited by 60% of respondents as a barrier to productivity and well-being.

  2. Inadequate meeting spaces – Offices lacking enough meeting spaces hinder productivity, according to 39% of respondents.

  3. Lack of privacy – Of those who were dissatisfied with their ability to work effectively, 79% cited a lack of adequate privacy.

Take time to evaluate your space and see if it’s setting employees up for success. 

3 Ways to Inspire Productivity at Your Office

When the office is designed in a way that promotes employees' ability to perform their work, 83% of respondents believe their team is more productive. To harness the full potential of your workspace, consider integrating elements that promote focus, privacy and comfort.

  1. Incorporate Focus-Promoting Spaces – Controlling noise and providing adequate meeting spaces are key factors in enhancing productivity and well-being. By offering employees both collaborative areas and private workspaces, you cater to their diverse needs and working preferences. Having a workspace that promotes focus is very or extremely important to 85% of the respondents for them to feel like they can thrive at work.

  2. Design Workspaces to Promote Privacy – Lack of adequate privacy can hinder productivity and lead to dissatisfaction among employees. Providing spaces for private conversations and personal work can significantly improve their ability to focus and perform. For 58% of the respondents, being able to have private conversations is very or extremely important for effective performance.

  3. Invest in Ergonomic Furniture – Adding ergonomic furniture throughout the office is a no-brainer when it comes to boosting productivity. Not only does it support physical health, but it also enhances comfort and reduces the risk of workplace injuries. Respondents overwhelmingly agree that ergonomic furniture is essential for effective performance, with 83% rating it as extremely or very important.

Promote Productivity Today

In the quest for productivity, your workspace is your secret weapon. By prioritizing its design and functionality, you can unlock new levels of efficiency and creativity.


As you reflect on your workspace, consider the changes you can make to optimize productivity levels. Whether it's upgrading your furniture or creating designated focus areas, small adjustments can yield significant results.


Need help designing a space that fuels your success? Looking for inspiration? We’re here to help. Fill out the form below and an NBF expert will be in touch.

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Pro Tip: Say Yes to Expert Support 

We can make the process easier. Receive trusted guidance from our national network of 100+ experts.