By | Elaine Bennett
When designing a workplace, practicality is often the main priority, as well as choosing features that will best support the desired work styles and overall outcomes. However, office design may have a larger impact on the overall work environment as well. Intentional design that is centered on the needs of employees could actually reduce stress levels, increase job satisfaction, and lead to a more productive workplace. With that in mind, here are just some of the many ways the workspace can affect employee health and well-being:
It’s a well-known fact that natural light can have a profound effect on your physical and mental health, helping to improve mood, reduce stress, and increase attention. But when it comes to work environments, natural light can provide additional benefits such as decreased eye strain and reduced vision problems as well. To improve the lighting within your office, remove any curtains or blinds from windows, add more glass doors, consider skylights, remove sun-blocking furniture, and opt for warmer artificial lights in areas that aren’t quite as well-lit.
The office’s air quality can have a big impact on the health and well-being of your employees, helping to boost focus, increase attention, and support productivity. When pollutants are removed from the work environment and the amount of fresh air is increased, you may even notice some positive results in your overall performance. So, aim to improve the quality of air by opening your windows, investing in suitable filtration systems, maintaining proper levels of humidity, including plants and greenery, keeping the office clean and neat, etc.
Every workspace should also be as comfortable as possible, no matter the office or the industry in question. Correct ergonomics can be of great help in reducing muscle fatigue and lessening the severity of musculoskeletal disorders that are often caused by lethargic lifestyles. What’s more, proper ergonomics could also aid in increasing focus and boosting productivity, so make sure your workspaces are comfortable enough to support your employees’ needs. This means investing in ergonomic furniture, creating adjustable work areas, and providing various work zones to support different styles of work.
While distractions such as constant notifications and other coworkers may be common in most workplaces, distractions like noise can be particularly disruptive. If you’re planning on expanding your office to include specific areas for training and education, for instance, keep in mind that the noises caused by construction work could lead to increased stress and loss of focus and motivation. Instead, consider modular classrooms to minimize noise and project completion times while reducing expenses as well. This will help to eliminate distractions and keep your work environment healthy and productive.
Food provides us with the energy we need to regulate mood and attention, and power through our days, making it a vital aspect of the workplace. However, the types of food we consume could significantly impact the benefits we enjoy as well. If you want more focused, productive, and happier employees, it may be a good idea to provide them with nutritious and balanced food that will enable them to succeed. Create a dedicated kitchen and eating area, promote healthy meals, stock up on fresh vegetables and fruits, and limit access to unhealthy options.
Sitting for long periods of time has been linked to serious health issues, which is why you should encourage your employees to move throughout the workday as well. Along with benefitting their overall well-being, employees who exercise regularly have also experienced higher levels of alertness, concentration, energy, and decision-making capabilities. To reap these benefits, promote an active lifestyle among your employees by providing standing desks, encouraging the use of stairs over elevators, incentivizing walking or biking to work, investing in an office gym, and more.
Don’t overlook mental health either. When your employees are happy, energetic, and fully satisfied with their jobs, the quality of their work will increase as well. Biophilic design can be of great help in this instance, helping to increase concentration, promote collaboration, and boost creativity and innovation. To incorporate this design style and support the emotional health of your employees, aim to create relaxing collaborative spaces, consider designing outdoor spaces such as gardens or roof patios, incorporate more greenery throughout the office, and provide more flexibility in terms of work styles and preferences.
Clearly, workspace design can influence the health and well-being of employees in a number of different ways. To ensure your workers are satisfied, productive, and performing optimally, consider making some office design improvements based on the suggestions mentioned above.