How does good workplace design affect your employees’ mental health?
Studies have shown a whopping 13% surge in productivity in happy people. Much like a feedback loop, a more efficient employee achieves more, and is more satisfied with their job. As a result, they are an asset to both their team and your business. Unfortunately, it is more difficult than ever to stay happy in these unprecedented times. However, you can still show your employees that you care about them. In this Pacific Prime UK article, pick up some tips on how to look after your employees’ mental health by providing a well-designed office environment. Did you know that anxiety and stress account for nearly 50% of all lost working days? Here are several tips for changing up your workplace design for happier, more efficient employees.
1. Space and layout
Set up your office space with the goal to promote productive working rather than inhibit employee productivity. Contrary to popular belief, open-plan offices are linked to noise distractions and actually elevate stress. If possible, turn to a layout with a range of work and meeting rooms to boost your staff’s morale and wellbeing. To go a step further, create a sense of movement by varying the floor and ceiling heights.
Bring natural lighting to the office. Simply move the office desks close to the windows for happier workers. To go the extra mile, replace cubicles with transparent partitions for a bright working space. Daylight is incredibly beneficial to your mental health and can enhance your concentration. It gives you vitamin D while increasing your levels of serotonin, one of the “happy hormones”.
During long winters, you can install circadian lighting that mimics the changing composition of light in the office. Unlike artificial lighting, natural lighting is ever-changing in its subtle light variations. These lights have been shown to improve mood in climates with short winter days. What’s more, you can do the same when an external building structure outside your office blocks the sunlight from streaming in.
3. Colors and decorations
Take colors into consideration when designing a productive working space. Green and blue spaces tend to make people feel calmer, whereas more people are reported to lose their temper in yellow rooms.
It’s also a good idea to include elements of nature into your workplace design. In particular, plants and wooden materials have been shown to reduce stress. So, go ahead and buy some plants and place them around your company, or replace office desks with wooden ones. Note that natural lighting with a view of the great outdoors helps reduce anxiety as well.
4. Air quality
Make sure the office environment is well-ventilated and the air conditioning systems are regularly repaired. This way, you ensure all of your employees will have access to clean air. A stuffy environment leads to a drop in concentration and drowsiness. Of course, spending time outdoors is optimal. However, that is not always possible depending on your company location and culture. Giving them the cleanest air you can provide would be the next best thing.
Set aside space for your employees to relax and unwind. More than just gimmicks, facilities like a coffee machine and table tennis table really do wonder in improving productivity, morale and job satisfaction. Help your staff feel valued by designing spaces just for them. Designing a corporate wellness program is another way to make your employees feel appreciated.
6. Teamwork and collaboration
Besides cubicles, there should be spaces for human interactions. Humans are fundamentally social animals, so make sure there are areas in your office solely for the purpose of meeting and interacting.
7. Flexibility and adaptability
Your workplace design should be able to adapt to suit the diverse needs and work styles of everyone in the office. Generally speaking, employees love to feel ownership over their workspace. Invest in height-adjustable desks and comfortable seats to accommodate a range of heights. A combination of open-plan individual workstations and informal work zones also creates a sense of belonging. Employees have a choice in how they approach work according to their personality.
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