Contrary to the popular myth, office design is not only about the size of cubicles, use of material, lights, and furniture. Research has confirmed that workplace design hugely impacts employees’ productivity and influences their wellbeing.
Other than your home, you spend most of your day at your workplace. The environment of your office has a profound effect on your professional and personal life. The layout, space, appliances, and interior play a significant role in setting the ambiance of a workstation. Plus, office design can increase or decrease workers’ motivation levels and their focus on work.
As the head of business, you must ensure that the design of your office space provides the workers with all the basic amenities they need to concentrate. It should also help them recharge when needed. Only then will they be able to deliver with their maximum capability.
In this guide, let’s delve into some factors of office design that have proven to impact employees’ health and productivity.
1. Natural Lighting
Natural light is magical and can affect your mind, body, and soul tremendously. Workplaces with huge windows that let the sunshine in have been reported to have happier and satisfied employees. Natural lighting can also change the mood and make you more productive.
Ivy Chaung, a candidate for the Ph.D. of Interdepartmental Neuroscience program at Northwestern University in Chicago, stated that the extent to which sunlight exposure has an impact on employees is remarkable. He further said that regular exposure to daylight can also improve a person’s quality of life and sleep patterns – ensuring they are more energized at work.
Design your office in a way that lets natural light in and incorporates it into workplace ambiance. Casement windows make the place appear sophisticated, bring daylight in and keep employees’ spirits high. You can also have skylights fixed to enjoy a combination of light and aesthetics.
Another benefit of natural light is the gain of vitamin D. As we all know, vitamin D deficiency is one of the prevalent health issues and can cause fatigue and muscle pain. Blending natural lighting in office ambiance with artificial lights exposes employees to sunlight, which is the best source of vitamin D to boost their work power.
Office designs do not have to be complicated. Employees should not have to haggle with cabinets and locks to keep files and papers organized. Instead, have easy-to-maintain places that offer adequate space. Not only does it save your employees’ energy and time, but it makes your workstation appear neat and sophisticated.
Office designs are not changed very often as well. Your employees may come and go, but your office stays at its place for many years to come. While designing your workplace, ensure to use quality materials that do not wear off quickly. For floors, use sturdy stuff that can bear the weight and is also easy to clean.
Similarly, install cabinets and shelves that are durable and practical for long-term use.
When employees do not have to spend their valuable time setting the space up, cleaning it, and organizing things, they focus on the tasks at hand and perform effectively.
3. Personal Space
Although all employees are associated with the organization and often collaborate to produce quality work, many prefer isolation.
Several employees need to tune out the noise to concentrate and consider collaborative desks a distraction. Offer employees their space and allow them some privacy. Design an office so that employees can transition easily between co-working space and private rooms – as they require.
4. Comfortable Furniture
Use comfortable desks that allow employees to give their bodies some rest.
Offices are not the place to relax, but continuously sitting in one position and looking at the screen strains people’s backs and eyes. Several people sit at one place for more than ten hours, and naturally, their bodies start aching.
Offer them some relief by replacing the chairs and desks with ergonomic furniture. Position the computer screens in such a way that it avoids glare, particularly from windows and overhead lights. You can also invest in an anti-glare screen to allow users to view their monitors even near open windows without any visible reflection.
Aside from the traditional office furniture, technological equipment has become integral for workstations.
No office of the modern age is complete without computers and other gadgets. Design an office that is technologically friendly and has ample spaces to keep the various devices.
Cluttered-up wires do not appear neat. Besides, they can make people trip over and hurt themselves. Ensure thorough planning while laying out the design of the office. Consider the equipment setting to see that cords are in place and are not tangled here and there.
Furthermore, keep the Wi-Fi device at an appropriate place so that employees receive strong connections.
6. Collaboration Space
Sometimes, workers are supposed to be paired up or sorted into groups to perform specific tasks. Offices must have a room that allows them to collaborate, share ideas and participate in different activities.
You do not necessarily have to go overboard and have luxurious furniture. Having a round table where all team members can sit and work will provide the team with a collaborative space to let them communicate conveniently.
Employees work hard and need some energizers from time to time. Offering them simple amenities can contribute tremendously to people’s productivity and allow them to refresh from the chaos of projects.
For example, you can install a coffee machine where workers can prepare their preferred flavor of coffee and relax for some time. Incorporate breakout rooms where employees can spend some minutes without worrying about work. It will re-energize them and in turn, keep their focus intact.
If space allows, you can also dedicate one room to indoor games or a tennis court where workers can spend some time to cool off. Office gyms help in keeping workers fit and healthy too.
The idea is the more workers feel taken care of, the more productive they are.
8. Motivated Quotes
Bare walls in offices do not leave an impact on a person’s wellbeing. Be creative and use space in every way you can to bring your professional flavor to the workplace’s atmosphere. Adorn the walls with motivational quotes frames and use them to boost employees’ productivity.
Different industries have different needs. However, some professional quotes work for all sectors. So let your walls serve as a motivation factor and lift employees’ morale.
9. Air Quality
Employees’ health must be of top priority for you. Your office design can play a significant role in keeping employees healthy. Office designs that offer ventilation and access to fresh air tend to have rare absentees.
SUNY Upstate Medical University and Syracuse University did a blind study. They found out that poor air quality in the workplace results in decreased workers’ productivity.
An office must be designed as per the climate. Air pollution is a significant cause of many respiratory issues, mainly related to lung diseases. Most employees stay indoors throughout, and the environment and air have a profound impact on their health. Incorporate greenery to have purified air.
Air filtration is a necessity in offices as well. The same study revealed that air filtrations that do not contain harmful chemicals, such as, formaldehyde have better air quality, resulting in improved health and productivity.
The Bottom Line
Workplace designs continue to evolve with time, and people often consider multiple aspects while designing their offices. However, they often overlook the productivity aspect. The truth is office layout helps in instilling an ambiance and affects workers’ productivity.
Today, many medical issues have become prevalent. Every other person deals with fluctuation in blood pressure, cholesterol, and sugar level. Health issues result in absence and impact companies’ productivity.
Well-decorated offices positively impact workers’ moods and work power. As a result, you have lively and energetic employees who can help put your company on the path to success.
Mary Bacon is a managing director at Metro Office Fitouts. Her role is to advise her clients on the best office fitout solutions that are practical and cost effective. She also likes to share her knowledge on her company’s blog.