How excited were you to get your first job right out of college, just to walk into an office full of cubicles with glaring fluorescent lights? Just the image alone of socially isolated employees under hospital lights sends an all but motivating emotion through you, and suddenly you’re fantasizing about retirement rather than all the things you’re going to accomplish in the next few years.
Studies show that employees perform better in a well-designed work environment, and here will be discussed how office spaces, and their employees, can be rejuvenated through a few simple changes.
Fix the Floor Plan
Burning the cubicle and replacing them with bean bag chairs and loveseats might feel quite liberating, but don’t be so quick to redesign your floor just yet. Take into consideration the type of work you and your employees must carry out each day. If it’s in your budget, then it might be a good idea to hire an interior designer to give you a selection of modern commercial fitout designs to choose from.
First and foremost, it’s best if the one you pick accommodates employees’ work needs and gives the space an energy boost. People enjoy working in coffee shops for a reason—it feels less like work and more like being productive in a social setting. So, an open floor plan rather than a closed-off one can boost the energy levels of employees.
On the other hand, if privacy is needed, then this may not be the best option. If there’s the space for it, then add a “break room” or hangout spot where there’s no computers or desks, just a few comfortable chairs, and a coffee pot. People will naturally gravitate towards coffee and comfortable seating.
Hard At Work with Art Work
Studies have revealed that artwork can greatly influence people’s moods, performance, and health at work. Offices displaying various types of art have happier, more productive employees who complain less about health issues. Supporting your employees’ health and wellness, along with local artists, will have all sorts of reciprocal effects, such as more opportunities for meaningful conversations and interactions between colleagues. Hanging a few paintings or putting some sculptures out sends the message that the office is more than a place of work—it’s a creative space where ideas can flourish.
Switch Up the Seating
Seating plays a huge role in the physical health of employees. Humans were designed for hunting and gathering, not sit in a chair all day. So, there’s bound to be some physical caveats to being positioned in a 90-degree angle for 8-12 hours a day. Finding chairs that support spinal health will inevitably increase productivity because people will not be distracted by their back pain. If your company has the money for it, then investing in the health of your employees is a worthwhile endeavor. If an employee senses that their well-being is important to their employer, a solid effort is likely to follow.
If new seating isn’t in the cards, then give your employees a reason to get out of their desks, like putting a small garden around the building, or hanging a wooden swing from a tree. These are as aesthetically appealing as they are tempting, and people will eventually use it as an escape from the mundanity of sitting and staring at a screen all day.
When people deck out their houses in lights for Christmas and even change the way they turn on the lights (clap, clap!), it’s no secret that we humans have an obsession with lighting. Considering how much figurative language there is surrounding light alone is enough to show how much we think about light. If you’ve ever seen someone in a bad light or kept your candle burning in the darkest of night, or seen the light at the end of the tunnel, then you know just how important light can be.
Lighting has an obscene effect on people’s emotions, but this probably doesn’t come as a surprise. Studies show that natural light makes people happier, blue lights can make you feel more alert, and intense fluorescents can make people feel negative regardless of the situation. If natural light is an option, then that will make a world of difference in your office space. If not, try to find some lights that imitate natural light that will cause a more positive brain response, unlike hospital lights often found in offices.
An effort to optimize office space, and including your employees in the process, is a great way to build rapport with the people you work with. It establishes the fact that employee wellness is valued, thus providing a catalyst to a better work ethic. Send out a poll to your office asking their opinions on some changes that could be made to the office, and start redesigning your workplace today.