Commercial Remodeling for a More Pleasant, Productive Office

Let’s face it, for most working adults, the majority of our waking time during the week is spent in our office or business location. Although, certain jobs require travel and moving to different locations, the average office worker spends the majority of their time at a desk. With so much time spent in one place, it’s important that it be a positive environment for the greatest productivity and most satisfied employees.

If you are a business owner, there are things you should take into consideration to create an environment your employees will enjoy coming to each day. Research has shown that factors such as workplace clutter, lighting, temperature, furniture and noise can all affect the productivity of employees. Here are some things to check in your office space. If you find any areas lacking, some commercial remodeling may be in order.


Studies have shown that dim lighting lowers productivity, and fluorescent lighting has been known to cause headaches. It’s a good idea to incorporate both natural and artificial light in the office. Many employees find that being near windows helps them feel more focused and relaxed. Keeping the office bright creates a more cheerful mood. Take advantage of large windows or even sky lights to allow as much natural light as possible then supplement with artificial light as needed.


In addition to more light, adding color to an office, also helps brighten the mood. You can decorate the office with colorful accent walls or murals. Bright colored furniture and accessories can also add interest to otherwise boring decors.

Open Concept

Open floor plans have greatly changed the look of many homes today. In the same way, an open layout in the office can keep people more engaged. Instead of hiding in an office, employees are held accountable when they can be seen by others. Removing walls, or at least adding windows to walls, also allows more light be be shared. When the walls come down, productivity goes up and overall morale as well as in-person interactions increases.


The drawback of a more open office can be noise. Some people work better when there’s background noise while others prefer a completely silent environment to concentrate. Try to find a happy medium, by providing a space where employees can retreat for peace and quiet if needed.


If the office is too hot or too cold, employees will find themselves distracted or not able to focus. There isn’t a perfect temperature for everyone, but try to find what most of the team is comfortable with, and update your heating and air conditioning systems as needed to keep a consistent temperature through all areas of the office.


Make sure your office furniture is comfortable, especially if employees sit for long periods of time. Also, try to space out furniture so it’s not too close together, creating a crowded and cluttered area. Providing each employee with their own space helps them feel more relaxed and less stressed, thus increasing productivity.

Some of these office changes are simple fixes while others may require more extensive commercial remodeling. If you decide more extensive work is needed, a commercial contractor can help with the design and implementation of making your office more inviting and productive.

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The Magic 6 (TM): Six Vital Tools for a Productive Office product office

Setting up an organized and productive workspace doesn’t have to be difficult or overwhelming. Start with the premise that clutter is postponed decisions. A large part of the reason you have piles of paper on your desktop, a full email inbox and/or notebooks full of notes and lists is that you are postponing making decisions on these items. Either you aren’t sure how to decide, or you don’t have the systems in place to deal with the item once you do decide. Break down each and every item that you deal with – whether it be a piece of paper, an email, a phone message or notes from a meeting – into one of three categories. You either need to File it, Act on it, or Toss it. Then, set up your Magic 6(TM); the six systems or tools every workspace needs to be organized and productive and to give you the comfort of knowing you will find what you need, when you need it.

The Magic 6TM

1. Desktop and Capture Tools: Desktop and capture tools include those you use to collect your incoming information before it is processed or filed. The simplest case of this is an “Inbox”, or tray, on your desktop. You may also capture items that need “To Be Filed,” as well as those that need to go “Out” of your office. If you are working towards a paperless environment, your scanner is considered a capture tool. You may also have a tray for those papers that need “To Be Scanned.” Stacking trays are a great tool as they take up less real estate and can provide a visual limit to the amount of paper you collect before it is processed.

2. Trash, Shred, Recycle Tools: While it seems like common sense that in order to Toss an item, you need to have a trash can, shredder or recycle bin, review where these are located for you. Is it simple to Toss when you need to?

3. Calendar: Be sure you have a calendar system that works well for your needs and work style. If you still enjoy a paper calendar, I recommend The Planner Pad. If you like an electronic calendar, be sure it is easy to access whenever and wherever you need it. You may achieve this with an application on your phone or notebook, or sync with an online calendar such as Google Calendar.

4. Contact Management System: You will need a good system to store emails, phone numbers, and other contact information as you receive it. You may also need a place to store business cards or wish to have the ability to scan and save them in an online system. If you run a business or handle sales or customer service for a company, you may need to take contact management a step further by using a customer relationship management (CRM) tool. In this situation, it is very important to do a thorough needs analysis before determine which system is the best fit for your company.

5. Action Files: It is vital to have a location and system for storing information that requires Action. For time-sensitive items in paper form, you might use a desktop action file. In addition, you should have a system for storing project related information. For this, I recommend hanging files in a color different from your Reference Files. Tools used for actionable items should be close at hand. Electronic information related to actionable items should be stored in a way that is easily retrieved when needed. For example, attaching an email to the related task will insure you have the related information along with the task reminder.

6. Reference Files: This is information that does not require action but needs to be Filed for future reference. Reference information in paper form should be stored in hanging files and labeled in a way that allows for easy retrieval. One example is to use a numbering system with an electronic index for searching. Electronic reference information might be stored in a system architecture that mirrors your paper files, or it might be stored to follow the way that you work (e.g. by client, by project, by type of work, or by year).

The specific systems or tools used for each of The Magic 6(TM) are an individual choice. It is important to find something that you like, that works for you on a daily basis, and that you will maintain. In addition, if you share information with others you will want to insure they are involved in the choice and/or trained on the system. Your new systems may not be perfect right away, so continue to tweak and update them as needed. And, review them in the future as your environment or work habits change. Reward yourself for a job well done and enjoy your organized and productive environment!

Note: All trademarks and registrations are the property of Barbara Hemphill, Productive Environment Institute.

The Magic 6 (TM): Six Vital Tools for a Productive Office