With research indicating that 86% of the American workforce have a job that involves sitting down for most of the day, it’s never been more important to create a happy, healthy working environment if you want to get the most from your staff. Pioneering companies such as Google and Innocent are pulling out all of the stops when it comes to creating dynamic workplace – including indoor gardens and multi-gyms – designed to keep employees healthy and motivated, thus increasing productivity. If you are in the process of designing a new office or if you simply want to give an existing one a new lease of life, here are some things to consider.
As well as brightening up an office space, house plants act as a natural air purifier. They absorb toxins and give out oxygen which is great for renewing air that can quickly become stale in a small office. In turn this will boost alertness, cognitive function and mood within employees.
2. Desk space
It stands to reason that a desk worker will spend the majority of time at their desk so ensuring that they have a good quality, adjustable, ergonomic chair for back support is vital. This may cost a little extra but it is worth it when you consider that bad posture won’t just hinder their work performance but may also land them with a hefty bill from the chiropractor. Ensure that their technology is regularly tested and they are using high resolution/brightness to minimise squinting or eyestrain.
Studies have proven time and time again that natural lighting is a great way to increase productivity and reduce stress in office environments. So, where possible, try and locate your work stations around natural sources of light such as windows and skylights. For the darker areas, use full spectrum lighting rather than artificial, fluorescent bulbs – research suggests that it is a more balanced form of lighting that is synonymous with sunlight.
A cluttered desk can create a cluttered mind with research indicating that mess and disorganization makes us feel stressed and out of control. Encourage a no-clutter policy in the office by providing your staff with practical storage solutions such as modular desks with built in shelving/drawers and plenty of cabinets. Introduce organised filing systems and encourage them to have regular clear outs so that old work doesn’t pile up.
Scientific research shows that the colour of an office can have a direct impact on productivity – both positively and negatively – so choose your colour scheme wisely as it could be more important than you think. For a calming office opt for low wavelength colours that have natural connotations such as green or blue. Yellow is an energetic, inspiring colour and good for those in the creative field. Bright red is often considered a dramatic and sometimes stressful colour so it might not be the best choice for a fast paced office.
6. Healthy living
More and more offices are attempting to promote healthy living in the workplace in a bid to keep their employees well. This doesn’t necessarily mean installing a full gym but it would be simple to clear a room and use it for exercise classes or meditation during free time. Not only will joint exercise improve their physical health but it can boost mood, morale and create a team bonding experience. And as office workers are notorious snackers, ensure your vending machine is stocked with healthy options.
7. Flexible working space
There is some debate about whether or not open plan offices work. Advocates say that it increases collaboration and makes for a more social team. But studies do appear to indicate that those who have worked in open plan offices feel dissatisfied with the noise and lack of privacy. The truth is, people work in different ways and what works for one employee may not work for another. Where possible, offer the option of open plan and more secluded desk areas and give your staff a choice. Being flexible in your approach to their workstation shows respect for their individual needs.