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How can workspace design help employees’ wellbeing and productivity?

How can workspace design help employees’ wellbeing and productivity?

Find related articles: People development

With an increasing awareness on keeping employees productive, engaged and healthy, employers are investing more in the physical space in which their staff work. Spending an approximate 1,800 hours a year in the workplace, 87% of workers look to better workspace benefits, including the likes of wellness rooms, company fitness benefits, healthy lunch options and ergonomic seating.

The desire for healthier workplace benefits is, for example, prevalent in the tech industry, in which 93% of workers say they would stay longer at a company which offers better design perks. Following this data, 42% of established and older companies are more likely to reject requests to implement such office changes, as opposed to 34% of younger companies that shift with new ways of thinking.

So how can companies begin the process of introducing a more modern way of design and layout within the office? Here are 7 concepts laid out by the WELL Building Standard that are foundation entry-points into building a better workplace.

Water

Though maybe obvious, easy access to clean and regular water can make a huge difference to an employee’s concentration and health levels. Employer looking to facilitate this access can consider installing water coolers in different areas of the office.

Air

Air pollution in cities have long been known to have a negative impact on inhabitants and the same goes for the workplace and employees. The World Green Building Council recorded an 11% increase in productivity as a result of increased fresh air to the workstation. Here are some steps employers can make to ensure healthy air quality:

  • Implement green cleaning protocols
  • Install air filtration systems
  • Maintain a healthy level of humidity
  • Add some office plants

Nourishment

The idea of sweets, chocolates and sugary drinks might seem like a tempting way to engage employees when it comes to office snacks, but the reality of unhealthy bites means that lethargy is more common and can severely hinder productivity as well as overall wellness. Energized and focused employees are better nurtured through a balanced diet. They can of course bring in whatever they snacks they please, but here are suggestions on what the office should provide and act upon instead:

  • Improve the accessibility of fresh fruit and vegetables
  • Limit access to processed foods
  • Label food for food allergies
  • Make nutritional information available

Lighting

Yes, being able to see, read and write comfortably may seem like the bare minimum an employer can help with, but an office with a lack of natural light can have negative impacts on an employee’s health. According to research conducted by Cornell University, workers in daylit office environments reported an 84% drop in symptoms of eyestrain, headaches and blurred vision symptoms, which can detract from productivity. To optimize an office’s lighting, consider the following:

  • Control glare
  • Maximize natural lighting
  • Replace broken blinds that block light
  • Fix flickering lights

Fitness

Much has already been written about the dangers of sitting at a desk all day. More and more employers are implementing sportive and wellness cultures within their offices, such as running clubs and meditation sessions which the Morgan Philips team benefit from for example. In terms of layout and physical design, here’s how companies can make the extra step:

  • Access to bike storage
  • Shower facilities
  • Space for activity and movement

Comfort

An uncomfortable working space can increase fatigue and stress, and lessen productivity. Comfortable and attractive spaces are huge benefits to an individual who spends the entire day in the office. Companies are recommended to encourage the following:

  • Hire cleaners to ensure hygenic workspaces and communal areas
  • Invest in well-designed desk chairs
  • Provide employees with attractive communal areas
  • Monitor the room temperature

Mind

Mental health is in the epicenter of most wellness dialogues and the physical space of an office can make a vast difference to how a person can feel. In order to help enhance a person’s emotional health, companies can:

  • Create unique creative spaces that boost collaboration
  • Provide employees with quiet spaces to escape the loud noises of a busy period
  • Encourage the use of co-working areas
  • Refrain from separating different teams in order to maximize sociability

 

For more ways to engage employees, read our article here to further inspire you.

Find related articles: People development

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