9 Surprising Factors That Can Affect Your Productivity


While every employee wishes to be productive and finish as many tasks as possible, not everyone has the energy to do so.

Sure, you have a solid organization and time management skills, but it is possible that your being unproductive can be due to something else.

That said, we have listed down nine unknown factors that can either make or break your productivity:

Workspace Layout and Design

Whether you know it or not, your workspace’s layout and design can affect your productivity. For instance, the colors of the wall can set your mind at ease, boost your creativity, or evoke competitiveness.

This also explains why some corporate wellness advisors and HR managers suggest that you look at something of a particular color or item if you are losing your focus like an indoor plant, perhaps.

However, it is more advisable to step out of your cubicle and take a quick walk outside.

In addition, your workspace should provide you with proper logistics. Simply knowing where to place your inbound and outbound documents will do.

Lack of Training

Any decent and smart employer would know that in order for the business to grow, they need to ensure that each employee is upgrading their skills. Having training experiences makes your employees be prepared for their roles in their teams. With proper and enough training, the more productive your employees will be. Through multiple training programs, they will gain more knowledge and information that will make them more capable and effective. Mind you, lack of training can hold a business back, and it can hinder them from achieving success.

On the other hand, providing training and skills upgrade is no one-size-fits-all solution. The type of training and its environment will differ from one employee to another.

There are those who are okay attending a whole day seminar or workshop, there are those who can absorb their lessons better in a classroom setup, and there are those who are more productive when taking an online course.

Employee Wellness

Employee wellness deals with an employee’s mental and physical health. That’s because a healthy and happy employee is a productive employee.

How is that possible?

Think of it this way, when an employee is happy and healthy, he or she has more resources that can be utilized to finish a project. This includes being able to focus at work and being productive.

On the other hand, an increased number of employees applying for sick leaves is an indicator that your colleagues are stressed or overworked. This could mean that your employers are not taking their wellness into consideration.

Not to mention that work-life balance is out of the picture.

Let’s be honest, even though sick or stressed employees finished their work, they were able to do so because they worked far harder and even longer than normal which could lead to employee burnouts and delays or missed deadlines.

Employee burnout should not be taken for granted. As their employer, you can encourage your employees to look out for themselves. By simply serving healthy food options in your cafeteria, even providing a workout space in your office, you can lead your employees towards a healthier lifestyle. Some companies, for example Accenture, even issued FitBits which are exercise tracking bands to their employees to push them more to exercise and be physically active. Of course, you should lead as a good example to your employees for this to work best.

These actions will not only benefit your employees but also your brand. When you show that you care for your employees’ health, you also care for your brand. Job satisfaction will increase as well as their motivation to do their job efficiently which will eventually boost their productivity levels. Start prioritizing health over deliverables and start treating your employees as humans and not just machines.

Cluttered Desk

Some people see a cluttered desk as a sign of being busy or workaholic. However, being busy is not similar to being productive.

The thing is, a cluttered desk can distract from your work. Not to mention that you will have to spend a minute or two looking for an important document or your pen every time you need it. This could lead to unnecessary stress on your part.

To avoid that, it is important to keep your workspace clean and organized. Setting up a desk organizer where you can place your incoming and outgoing files is one way to do that.

Work Culture

Company culture is one of those tangible things that can affect our productivity. This can be the mood of your office mates or how things are practiced in the workplace.

According to productivity expert Claire Kumar, company culture deals with how you react to uncontrollable factors. For instance, how would you feel if a meeting did not start on time?

It is possible that you will be upset about it. However, you can either choose to work on your other tasks while waiting for the meeting to start or encourage everyone to practice online conferencing instead.

Either way, the meeting is unable to hinder your productivity.

Building Lighting

One might think that workplace lighting is not important at all. Whether you notice it or not, proper lighting is one of the most important factors that influence one’s productivity and creativity level.

For one, the morning sun sets your body clock and stops melatonin production in the brain, which means that you are energized throughout the day.

Having good lighting at your workplace can decrease depression and improve your mood. The best lighting to have is natural light. This kind of light brings out the best in your employees and can significantly help in their productivity. This is because it helps in the circadian rhythm which makes them motivated throughout the workdays.

Meanwhile, proper lightning and color are equally important at work. More than aesthetic advantages, appropriate workspace lighting can prevent your eyes from getting tired, more so if you work in front of the computer most of the day.

Otherwise, you will experience headaches often, or it can lead to eye illness. Mind you; there are case studies revealing that flickering lights can trigger epilepsy or seizure. 

Workplace Ergonomics

Understanding workplace ergonomics allows employers to provide comfort to their employees. That way, they can do their tasks without compromising their comfort.

Unfortunately, there are a lot of offices with terrible desks and chairs. Hence, employees suffer from back pains, fatigue, headache, and even serious injuries. This can cause discomfort and can hinder you from being productive.

Hence, it is important that you invest in comfortable chairs and desks. If it is something you cannot afford, then you can opt to buy seat cushions, portable backrest, or an armrest to have as much comfort as possible and prevent physical strain, which can prevent you from doing your job.


According to productivity and health expert Marcey Rader, multitasking will not make you productive. In fact, it can increase your work time by up to 40%.

What you should do instead is do your tasks one at a time. You can find various ways to prioritize tasks, such as The Eisenhower Matrix.

You can also opt to set up systems that allow you to automate repetitive tasks. You can also delegate them if possible. That way, you can focus on tasks that have the most impact.

The key here is to find ways on how you can work smart and fast, instead of long and hard.

Not Taking Breaks

It is a common notion that taking breaks impedes productivity. What they do not know is that it is the other way around.

According to productivity expert Penny Zenker, we are not created to sit for long periods of time. We need to stand up and move to be stimulated, as this gets our blood flowing through our veins. When that happens, it allows us to focus better on our work. Even walking to the pantry to get some snacks will do

How often should you take a break? According to one study, working for 51 minutes and taking a 7-minute break is the optimal workflow. And this can result in high performance.

While taking a break, one should not forget to hydrate themselves. This is also very important to boost productivity. In the US, 75 percent of adults are mildly dehydrated which should not be taken for granted. Dehydration can have a bad effect on your employees’ productivity and even their engagement.  Fatigue, injuries, and headaches are experienced by people who don’t hydrate themselves throughout the day.

Each employee has his own way of being productive at work. Nonetheless, knowing the factors stated above allows you to optimize your productivity.


About the Author:

Raymond Chiu is the Director of Operations for Maid Sailors Commercial Cleaning Service New York. Maid Sailors offers its customers unrivaled office cleaning services that can address even the toughest cleaning needs. Matched with affordable prices, Maid Sailors is your best partner in helping you turn your office into a work-friendly workplace.


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