If you’ve browsed the various articles online that list, what they consider to be, the ‘best offices in the world’, most will have a number of elements in common. This isn’t due to a quirky designer that’s just gone mad with the budget, it’s to improve office productivity, wellbeing and ultimately revenue.
There are a number of steps you can take, today, that will make your office environment a better place for your employees to spend their day. As a result, you’ll likely have happier, healthier and more productive and engaged employees, who are ready to give 110% and be happy doing so.
Natural light is important – not just while we’re at work, but in life generally. Making sure that your offices have plenty of natural sunlight is important for the wellbeing of your employees. Sunlight is more beneficial than soft lighting or other more aesthetically pleasing forms of office illumination too, it’s also free!
Many business premises will have blinds that block most of the sunlight from entering into the office space, these should be open as much as possible.
Google have themselves experimented with a number of strategies regarding natural light and have been quoted as saying:
“We know anecdotally that ‘Googlers’ feel deeper focus, more creative and more productive when they have more access to natural light and biophilic elements in their work space”
A study in the Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine in June 2014 stated:
“There is increasing evidence that exposure to light, during the day — particularly in the morning — is beneficial to your health via its effects on mood, alertness and metabolism.”
One often overlooked element is that although a building may have nice large windows, unless desks are situated within a certain distance to enjoy the light (about 20 feet) the benefit to employees health or wellbeing may be diminished.
Making an effort to include nature in your offices benefits everyone in a number of ways. Desk plants are great from a health and wellbeing point of view and also increase productivity and morale.
‘Nature contact’ is very important in any working environment, for the wellbeing of employees. Nature contact refers to the exposure to the outdoors or outdoor-like elements.
Studies suggest that nature contact experienced by employees at work or in an office setting may be health-promoting. For example, relaxing outdoors, indoor office plants and office window views were related to reducing stress.
Improving and maintaining high air quality will benefit your workforce in a number of ways, including:
- Easier breathing, putting less stress on employee’s bodies
- Reduction in allergens that can cause employee absence
- Reduction of distracting odours
It may sound like a minor area to concentrate on, but if a room’s too stuffy or too warm/cold, then employees will be distracted and not perform at an optimum level.
A sensory varied place to work
Providing an inspiring place to work will improve employee happiness, creativity and productivity. Stimulating employee’s minds and ensuring that they’re not spending their time in the office surrounded by bare walls will stimulate your employees and help them to be creative and productive.
Introduce colours, textures and even materials that have more texture to your offices to stimulate minds!
Ambient noise can be very distracting. A gentle bustle in the background is fine and has been reported to actually improve productivity, however, loud conversations between colleagues, sales calls or impromptu meetings can be a cause of distraction.
Controlling noise in the office by providing adequate areas to conduct meetings, aesthetic furniture or objects to break up noise and a culture that, while encouraging engagement and collaboration, ensures that office noise levels are of an acceptable level.
Personal space will allow employees to get on with the task in hand without too much distraction, while enabling them to collaborate if needed. Personal space is also largely out of most business leader’s control and is often in the hands of the employees working together.
Creating quiet areas where staff can work in relative solitude will help them to work distraction free.