How to make a better workplace for your employees
(and why it matters)
Whether we like or not, most of our lifetime is spent at work. This means that our physical and mental well-being is directly dependent on the way we feel during working hours. Office design can improve employee well-being, while also increasing productivity by enabling people to be better at their jobs.
Proper office design is no easy feat, as it has to take into consideration the numerous needs of the employees, together with the identity of the company, the necessary functionalities, and the aesthetically-pleasing factor. By scoring high, however, on a number of points, you can obtain a better working environment.
Designing for wellbeing
One of the most important office design ideas is designing for well-being. What this means is creating a working environment that is attuned to the needs and comfort levels of the people working there.This can be done by creating multiple working spaces and promoting flexibility, thus offering people multiple choices when it comes to their daily activities. Allowing people to choose where and how to work by creating various types of spaces, not only the traditional desk and chair, will bring about a better workplace.
An easy solution to promote staff wellbeing is employing a sit-stand desk that allows people to continue their work standing if they feel like they’ve spent too much time sitting in front of the computer screen. There are multiple studies that warn against the health problems that can arise as a result of sedentary lifestyle, including spending too many hours sitting on a chair at the office.
By allowing people to stand while they perform their daily tasks, you are not only improving their physical well-being, but you are also creating a different cognitive setting. Cognitive theories such as embodiment, stress the importance of the body for cognition. Our bodily movements, positions, and states, directly influence our cognition. Changing position or environment can lead to different cognitive results and this is something you want to encourage in an office space.
Another option for creating a better workplace is making the most of natural light since it directly affects mood, thus impacting productivity. If people’s mood is attuned to the activity they have to perform, their work results will improve. A good lightning strategy to follow, as recommended by office design company K2 Space, is having an indoor lighting of 300 Lux for working spaces and a 150-200 Lux lighting for breakout spaces. This will ensure optimum levels of awareness and wakefulness for efficiently performing work-related activities.
Together with natural lighting, office space colour can also influence mood and productivity. Colour is, afterall, reflected light as perceived by the human eye. So it is easy to see why it affects mood and awareness levels just as much as light does. Choosing the right type of colour for your office space will produce a better workplace for the staff. But what colours to choose and where to implement them in the office space?
One starting point is the brand palette which should be reflected in the interior design of the office. If the brand’s colours are perhaps too vibrant to be used throughout the entire company, a good idea is to use them sparingly, combined with neutral tones, or to use them mostly in the reception area. This way, visitors will be firstly greeted by a space that creates a strong sense of the brand’s identity.
When it comes to utilizing colour for office design, it is important to bear in mind that there is no universal recipe that will guarantee everyone reacts similarly to the same colours, the same tones of colour, or even the same colour combinations. A safe bet here would be using colour not only for wall space, but as part of the office furniture. A bright yellow chair can be a subtle splash of colour that invigorates the office space.
Biophilic Office Design
Another way of promoting office well-being and creating a better workplace is making use of nature in whatever way you can. Multiple studies have shown that nature has a positive impact on the mental and physical health of humans and that sometimes the simple of act of taking a walk in nature can significantly improve someone’s life.
But how can you bring nature inside the office? The simplest answer is: don’t. Sometimes you don’t have to bring nature in, you just have to open up your office space towards the natural landscapes that surround you. If you are lucky enough to have an office that is in the vicinity of a small park or a public garden, all you have to do is ensure that people have a good view of the surroundings. Another easy solution is simply adding more potted plants to the workplace. And you can do this creatively, by implementing pot stands that have interesting shapes.
For those that are willing to invest a bit more, a growing trend is installing living walls inside the office, or even water installations and indoor gardens. While these ideas might seem outlandish, the benefits reaped from having such spaces inside your office can match the investment. If we think of the importance of oxygen levels for mood and cognition, it is easy to see why a boost in plant-produced O2 can lead to an increase in productivity and happiness.
While there are many other ways in which to create a better workplace that takes into consideration the comfort and productivity of the staff, we believe these four are a good starting point for anyone trying to create an improved office design. Striving to achieve a better working environment should be on everyone’s list of office design developments. In the future, this will make the difference between productive and successful companies and those that are less so. Who wouldn’t want to be on top of the game?