Once previously sneered at as a fad or ‘only for the bean bag dwelling creatives’, good office design is now recognised as an important factor of any successful business strategy. Research has proven that a focus on employee and workplace well-being often results in increased collaboration, productivity and morale, resulting in less sick days and better staff retention. It’s no wonder then that many businesses are adapting their offices to create considered workspaces for their employees.
Here’s 6 ways in which good office design can improve employee well-being:
Everybody is different and has a different style of work. Some may prefer to work collaboratively, others may prefer to work in silence. The recognition of this has meant that a ‘one-size-fits-all’ model when it comes to work areas is simply not good for employee well-being, productivity or satisfaction.
Traditional office design provided each employee with a designated desk, computer and phone etc. However, the use of laptops, mobiles, cloud-based software and IP phone systems means that this is no longer necessary nor productive for those that find this way of working restrictive.
Today, office design provides the employee with flexible work spaces which can be used in a variety of ways such as breakout spaces for informal catch-ups, team collaboration or that much needed coffee break and private spaces or booths for confidential conversations or for employees who need that peace and quiet to work on a project without interruption.
Of course, desks are still required and are often the space in which most work is carried out. However, the mindset is changing to this not being the only place employees can work. It’s also important that employees are given the choice to decide how or where they work best. This flexibility also increases movement around the office, which has been proven to increase employee well-being and health.
We wrote a whole blog post on this previously. Plants and nature in the office (or biophilic office design for those in the know) has also been proven to improve employee well-being in the office. The introduction of a few green-friends can increase oxygen levels as well as boosting concentration levels, mood and productivity.
Nature is not limited solely to plants however. Natural light, colours, a scenic view out of the window, natural finishes to furniture can all have an impact on employee well-being and designers are incorporating this into their designs wherever possible.
3. Lighting is key
Lighting can play a huge role in the workplace well-being. Whilst natural light is always preferred, glare from windows and on computer screens can cause serious issues with eyesight. Artificial lighting is often used in its place, which then results in offices being too bright or too dark. Low light levels can result in eyestrain, low mood and significantly decrease productivity. If you think about it, it’s why we have low light levels in bedrooms and when we want to relax at home. Bright light can also be overstimulating and in extreme circumstances, can also be damaging to eyesight. It’s an important factor for designers to get right as it can have such a huge impact on both employee eye health and well-being.
Like lighting, colour can have a huge impact on mood and employee happiness and well-being. Colour psychologists have identified that colours can stimulate certain feelings, which is important when they are surrounding people day in day out. Today’s office designers often embrace this and use colour in zones around the workplace to encourage different feelings and activities in various areas. Colour is not limited to paint on the walls. Colour can be injected through colourful furniture, manifestations, custom graphics or carpets. A good designer will work with your team to identify a colour palette that compliments your brand and spaces as well as improves employee well-being. We’ve written a whole blog post about colour in the workplace and colour theory.
5. Encourage movement through sit stand desks
Standing whilst working for even 30 minutes a day can have a huge impact on health and well-being and has been proven to decrease blood pressure, cholesterol and stress levels. Standing desks or hybrid desks (that can be converted from sitting to standing in a matter of seconds) used to be incredibly expensive, ruling this out as an option for many companies, however the popularity of these mean that they are now very affordable. Many offices are therefore choosing to give employees the option of sit/stand desks, especially as the benefits often outweigh the cost.
Standing meetings have also risen in popularity as they also share many of the same benefits as standing desks. They are also proven to be more a productive form of meeting as the meeting reaches the point quicker, it encourages collaborations and employees are more alert throughout, resulting in greater retention of information.
Workspaces are now increasingly incorporating bike storage, changing rooms, shower facilities, gyms and yoga rooms into their office design. Providing the facilities for employees to exercise, cycle to work, go to the gym or go for a run at lunchtime are a great well-being booster for employees. However, if the space is too small, overcrowded, dirty or busy this can quickly become a negative factor too. It’s therefore important for designers and workplace consultants to bear in mind how many people would use once added.
Some companies have also included areas for other activities, such as ping-pong tables and table football, into their workplace to allow employees to unwind, re-calibrate and bond with wider team members. Playful office environments can have a huge impact on employee wellness, productivity and happiness.
For more information on how Superior Interiors could help your company create a workspace that increases employee well-being, speak to one of our team today: 0203 879 0690.