The effect of your workspace on your employees wellbeing

27 / 01 / 20

The majority of employees will spend a large amount of time in the office - In fact, most of us tend to spend approximately one third of our week at work and so how important is a comfortable, contemporary workspace and what impact does this have on productivity and wellbeing? Of course, employee well-being is strongly correlated to productivity and performance and even a small shift in well-being can have a dramatic impact on this. After all, happy employees are productive employees. The following article aims to explore the impact of the office set-up and décor, as well as giving inspiration on how to create a zen workspace to ensure your employees are both comfortable and happy in their immediate surroundings.

In one study, a massive 87% of workers said they would like their current employer to offer an improved workspace, with options ranging from wellness rooms, company fitness benefits, sit-stands, healthy lunch options and ergonomic seating.

Company culture

Your office is a part of and an extension of, your company culture and should therefore be a true representation of this as well as your overall brand. For example, if you are an innovative, forward thinking company, then your workspace should reflect this. The fusion should be seamless so that current employees, new recruits and customers can see that your business thinks about the direct environment for its employees and the positive effect this can have on all angles of the business. This is directly linked to employee experience and encompasses the office floor plans, colour choices, the art which hangs on the walls, seating, eating areas and so on. Even the aromas and temperature of the building is imperative here. All of these items are strategic, well thought about, investments.

Wellbeing

Previously we have featured various articles which focus on wellbeing and mental health and it’s important that we understand the importance of the physical workspace and the impact this has on your employee’s state of mind and well-being. Those employees who enjoy their work environment, (and of course the physical environment is only one element of this), are likely to be happier, more engaged, more motivated and productive.

Collaboration

Collaboration isn’t necessarily featuring an open-plan office, it’s more about giving your employees multiple modes of working, to foster synthesis and innovation. For example, an open environment, cubicles for quiet working, hot desks, a co-working café, conference rooms/meeting rooms and comfortable breakout areas. They key is shifting away from a single floor plan to integrating multiple floor plans.

One company placed sensors on each desk to see how often they were used and the results were fascinating as it uncovered the fact that actually, their employees don’t really work much at their desks, they preferred to find different areas and work from a multitude of locations. It’s important to do your research where your employees are concerned to see what makes them tick and the best office layout to best suit their needs.

Furniture

Research has proven that comfortable furniture is key to productivity. After all, if you’re sitting in an uncomfortable chair, efficiency may not be at its peak. So, it’s important that you provide optimum conditions for all of your staff, from desks and chairs to the position of lighting, computers and keyboards. This way, you’re aiming to prevent work-related health issues and fatigue and enabling them to undertake their everyday work activities with ease. Here, it's imperative you undertake a DSE assessment for each employee to ensure they are working safely. Poor working conditions can really affect the health of your workforce and can lead to ongoing issues and ultimately absence.

A fusion between work and home

As we know, more and more businesses are adopting flexible working policies and so the home/work boundaries are becoming more blurred. The comfort factor in working from home is being embraced by companies who are attempting to shake-off formality and become more of a stimulating and positive environment.

In addition, multi-sensory designs can have a huge positive effect on employees. Thinking about bringing the outside in with a touch of nature – This type of approach can have a huge impact on reducing stress levels. Think about the introduction of plants and neutral calming colours as well as incorporating natural materials in your furniture, artwork and accessory choices.

Air, lighting and acoustics

As with anything involving business, it’s important not to remain static. You need to continually evolve your workspace to keep up with employee needs. It’s also important to make sure air quality is good...not too hot, not too cold and remember all employees will have a different perception of what hot and cold means to them. The quality of air can have a significant impact on your employees’ health and in turn productivity.

Lighting is also imperative – Poor lighting can lead to headaches, sight issues, migraines and even ill-health. So, try and maximise natural lighting, control glare and fix any flickering lights! Layer different types of lighting, fit for purpose, including ambient and task lighting.

Finally, acoustics will also have an impact on your employee’s productivity. If you have a poor workplace design, your staff could be left distracted, frustrated and as a result, unhappy. Again depending on the individual and their role, they will have different wants and needs when it comes to noise levels. Of course you have to take into consideration the entire space of your office, but also how the teams work together as a unit. If certain employees would rather a quiet space to escape to when required, make sure this is part of your overall office design.

If you would like support in helping with the overall design of your workspace or need any other HR related assistance, then please don’t hesitate to contact us on: 01453 297557 or email enquiries@peepshr.co.uk.


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