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Insight / News

Elevating Your Workspace: The Impact Of Office Design On Employee Wellbeing

In the dynamic landscape of the modern workplace, the significance of a well-designed office space extends far beyond aesthetics. Efficient workspace designs can profoundly impact employee well-being, influencing the likelihood of enhanced employee satisfaction and a more effective workforce.

Whether you’re looking to reinvigorate an existing collaborative space or design an entirely new working environment from scratch, these outlined office area features are vital to looking after your employees’ physical and mental health.

A Breath of Fresh Air: Natural Light and Greenery

Embracing natural light and incorporating green elements into the office environment may seem like a mere design choice, but they are potent contributors to employee well-being.

  • Reduce Stress: Introducing plants into the workspace has been found to ‘significantly’ reduce employee stress, hostility, fatigue, and tension. These effects can be noted after introducing just a single potted plant in the office!
  • Enhance Productivity: A plant per square meter can increase productivity with employees feeling more ‘alive’ and ‘at home’ with their workplace surroundings than working within a lifeless, colour-free office.
  • Refreshed Employees: High levels of natural light within an office can drastically improve the quality of sleep employees have when they return home – people who have less than six hours of sleep per night are thought to be between ‘5-10%’ less productive than their deeper sleeping counterparts.
  •   Physical Wellbeing: The increased natural light in an office moves the space away from a dependency on light produced artificially – most commonly from monitors or electronic screens. This can lead to several noticeable physical benefits for employees, including (but not limited to) reduced eye strain, fewer headaches, and less drowsiness.

A workspace that integrates these elements becomes a haven that supports its occupants' mental and physical health.

Open Spaces, Open Minds: Encouraging Collaboration

Breaking down the barriers of traditional cubicles and fostering open-plan layouts can lead to increased collaboration and a sense of community among employees. Open spaces strongly encourage a sense of camaraderie and a feeling of inclusivity among staff, as removing dividers and obstructions to separate colleagues from one another allows for an area more welcoming for spontaneous dialogue and offers more opportunities to approach one another with questions and ideas.

Feeling connected to your colleagues helps to breed a more harmonious and thriving workspace; an open-plan office offers room for your employees to breathe and seek advice and ideas from one another in a much more welcoming environment, cultivating natural, conducive discussion.

Comfort is Key: Ergonomics and Employee Satisfaction

Investing in ergonomic furniture and design enhances physical comfort and is pivotal in reducing the risk of workplace injuries and discomfort. Recent developments have added new dimensions to the sector of ergonomic office furniture; whilst there is still an essential focus on suitable chairs, new advances such as the ‘standing desk’ have greatly enhanced office comfort. These are particularly useful for employees with a multi-monitor setup, lowering neck strain compared to when seated, but often require a tailormade space suitable for their access.

Comfortable employees are more likely to remain focused and engaged throughout the day, increasing productivity. Prioritising ergonomic design is an investment in an employee’s physical well-being and supporting long-term workforce goals – a comfortable, content team is a happier, more efficient team!

Designing for Focus: Quiet Spaces and Concentration Zones

Alongside the need for open, collaborative spaces, as referenced earlier, there is also a desire to provide rooms that cater to focused or individual work. Often, a quiet, distraction-free setting can offer a collaborative and rewarding space as an open, dialogue-led setting, particularly when used as an alternative to the typically lively open space format.

Designing ‘quiet’ zones or concentration areas allows employees to escape the hustle and bustle, providing an environment conducive to deep work. There is no need to encourage members of your workforce to lean into either type of space, as striking the right balance between collaborative spaces and quiet retreats is critical to creating an office that supports different work styles and preferences – a natural, holistic approach adds further incentive to colleagues feeling independent and trusted when in their workspace.

Personalised Spaces: Fostering a Sense of Ownership

Allowing employees to personalise their workspaces can significantly impact their sense of ownership and belonging, enabling them to take personal control over a space that could otherwise be seen as distanced from themselves.

Cold, ‘lean’ based offices – particularly those found within a cubicle format – can often leave employees feeling disenfranchised with their working space; personal touches, such as family photos or unique desk accessories, can make the office feel more like a second home, and avoid the creation of a ‘toxic’ space. This sense of personalisation contributes to a positive work environment, wherein employees feel valued and motivated, avoiding the dreaded feeling of a disconnect between themselves and their employer.

Investing in Wellbeing, Investing in Success

In summary, the design of your office space is more than just a visual statement – it's a strategic investment in the well-being of your employees. A thoughtfully designed workspace can enhance mood, boost productivity, and harbour a positive company culture. By emphasising elements contributing to employee wellbeing, you create a conducive work environment and position your organisation for long-term success. Elevate your workspace and watch as your employees thrive.

Carlie Dunbar

Written on the 23rd May 2024 by

Working behind the scenes, Carlie assists with the purchasing and setting up of new projects and looks after day-to-day tasks within the office.

Find me on LinkedIn

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