Have you ever considered how your office design is impacting the health, wellbeing and productivity of your staff?
You may be surprised to learn that the environment you surround yourself with in day-to-day life can have an enormous impact on all these areas and directly affect the way you work.
So, to make sure both you and your employees reach your full potential, smart office design choices should be implemented to create a happy and healthy work environment that boosts productivity and efficiency.
When choosing a new office design, there are 8 key areas you should consider:
A recent survey conducted by Steelcase and Ipsos showed that 90% of workers were unsatisfied with their work environments and the leading reason for this was lack of privacy. The surge in popularity for open plan offices seems to have come at a cost to many employees who would rather have a bit more privacy so they can concentrate better on the work at hand.
If privacy is a problem in your office, this can easily be fixed by including partitions between desks or by adding a few more walls in your office design between work areas.
Fast Company also suggests that including booths for private conversations, phone calls and skype chats can be a practical solution. That way, you can keep your open plan office while giving staff access to an area where they can have a work conversation or make a private phone or skype call without fellow employees listening in on them.
Many of us are used to the standard office environment where everyone is allocated their own desk. However, with roles becoming more varied in many workplaces, it can make more sense for employees to choose where they want to work based on their tasks.
Gary Wheeler from the International Interior Design Association believes that workers should have the ability to adjust the space to suit their work style.
For example, you may want to start your day at a standing desk in an open plan office to stretch the legs and have easy access to co-workers when you need their help. When you have work to complete that requires a high level of concentration, or if you need to make a business call, you may want to move to a more private and quiet corner of the office. When you need to brainstorm with others, you may then want to head to a boardroom with a whiteboard at your disposal to visualise your ideas.
By having a variety of workspaces in your office suited to different work styles and tasks, you ensure your employees can do their best work. It’s also worthwhile to ensure each space in your office is adaptable and agile, so it can easily be changed to suit the future needs of your business.
According to Monica Parker, designing an office should be about
‘creating an environment that stimulates people and responds to who they are’.
With this in mind, an office should encourage people to get out of their chairs, move around, collaborate and talk to each other. In turn, this can help to create a happy and healthy atmosphere in the workplace.
Providing the means for workers to connect and brainstorm with each other creates unity and a higher quality of work. So, make sure communal areas where workers can come together are included in your office whether it be boardrooms or casual collaborative spaces.
Having collaborative nooks and spaces where you can communicate on the fly without having to pre-book a meeting room also fosters innovation and promotes efficiency in the workplace.
Are the office chairs in your workplace comfortable to sit on? Consider swapping out your standard office chairs for ergonomic office furniture. With most of us sitting at our computers for long periods of time, it makes sense to invest in chairs that are ergonomically designed for improved comfort and back support.
It's also worth considering the benefits of adjustable desks and conference tables. Research shows that sitting down too much can be harmful for our health, hence why standing desks are becoming more popular. People say they feel more alert during the day when working from a standing desk, so having this option available to your staff could also have a significant impact on productivity.
Have you or your employees been struggling with headaches, fatigue, eye strain, irritability or depression? If so, it could have something to do with your office lighting. Make sure there are enough lights and bulbs throughout the office to light up the room adequately. By having adequate lighting in the office, it’s much easier for employees to remain focused.
In an office environment, more intense lighting is recommended compared to other indoor environments, as this is shown to reduce eye strain. Brightness between 200-500 lux is usually most suitable. It’s also worthwhile to take advantage of natural light wherever possible.
Clutter in a space can lead to unnecessary stress and frustration largely due to the disorganisation that goes along with it. If desks are piled up with paper and there’s nowhere for it to go, consider incorporating some storage solutions such as shelves and filing cabinets into your office design so all those important documents can be organised and neatly stored away. Having designated storage spaces for your physical files and documents will greatly improve productivity and efficiency in your office.
Consider brightening up your dull office interiors with vibrant colours, either in the colour scheme you choose for your walls, floors and furniture or in the artwork you hang on your walls.
Livening up your interiors with a little bit of colour can also help to brighten the mood in your office and make for a much happier work environment.
Our article about how to choose the right colour scheme for your office interiors delves into this topic further and identifies which colours trigger particular moods. Once you have a better idea of the mood you can evoke, take a look at our office colour scheme inspirations article for some ideas.
8. Break Room
Having a dedicated break room can do wonders for your office morale because sometimes employees need that down time away from their desk to connect with colleagues and prevent burnout. Taking a break also helps to get motivation and concentration back on track for the rest of the day. In fact, a recent study showed that over 85% of employees thought that taking regular breaks made them more productive.
Any good break room includes lunch tables, possibly some couches and something for your employees to enjoy and switch off for a while such as a TV or games. Consider asking for input from your staff when deciding what items to put in your break room.
Don’t think you have enough room to include a break room in your workplace? A simple change to your office layout could make the introduction of a break room possible in your office. If you’re still tight for space, consider allowing your board room to double up as a break room for your staff during lunch hours.
Improve the Way You Work with Future Fitouts
Are you ready to improve the way you work by creating a more productive, inspiring and people-friendly office?
At Future Fitouts, we have the experience and expertise to do just that. Speak with our team on 1300 368 461 and collaborate with us to develop a new office design that works for your business.