Most employees spend a huge chunk of their lives in office workspaces. So, naturally, office design will have a big effect on their wellbeing. And that’s something you can use to your advantage.
Happy, healthy people are off sick less and get more done. UK businesses could even save £6.3bn’s worth of output that they’d otherwise lose through employee absence by designing for wellbeing.
Let’s look at five ways you can keep your employees fit and feeling great with commercial office design.
1. Mix Things Up
Today’s employees don’t want to be stuck at the same desk all day long. They want to choose where and how they work, depending on what they’re doing. That means having open spaces to collaborate and socialise, as well as private spaces for focussed work and personal calls.
There are many benefits to having a mix of spaces in your commercial office design. Break-out spaces give people a place to unwind, reducing stress. Quiet spaces give them a place to be more productive without getting distracted. Plus, the different spaces encourage people to move around the office more, improving general fitness.
2. Let There be Light (and Clear the Air)
Natural light is good for employees. One study showed that people in workplaces with windows got more light exposure – and 46 minutes more sleep per night than people in workplaces without windows. Poor lighting, meanwhile, leads to eye strain, headaches, and blurred vision, which are real productivity killers.
So, it’s a good idea for your commercial office design to let in as much natural light as possible. You can make sure your employees get the right amount of light by:
- Installing skylights.
- Moving any big furniture blocking windows.
- Properly illuminating darker areas.
In a recent study, employees rated which aspects of their workplace environment most affected their performance, happiness, and wellbeing. Comfortable light came second. What beat it to first? Air quality.
Employees need fresh, clean air to stay healthy and productive. If you want your people at the top of their game, your office needs to be well ventilated, with air filtration systems and open windows.
3. Make Some Space
Squeezing as much value from a work area as possible can be tempting – but people need space. High-density workplaces mean less personal space, more noise, and more distractions. So, make sure you give each employee the right amount of room.
4. Keep Everyone Well Fed and Watered
Hard work is thirsty work. Employees need plenty of fluids to stay energised, focused, and alert. It also helps them get the right amount of sleep at night – making them more productive the next day. Installing water coolers at key places around the office will ensure they have easy access to safe drinking water and can stay hydrated.
A balanced, nutritious diet is also key to keeping energy levels up. Make it easy for people to grab fresh fruit and veg, and harder to tuck into processed foods or sugary treats.
5. Raise Spirits with a Splash of Colour
It’s no secret that colour affects how we feel. Oranges and pinks can make us excited and energetic, while blues can have a relaxing effect. Having different colours throughout your office can be a great way to influence mood and improve employee wellbeing.
This goes beyond giving the walls a new lick of paint. You can inject colour through office furniture, art, rugs, and more.
You can also improve quality of life for employees by adding some greenery. One research team found that having plants in the office boosts productivity by up to 15 percent.
Designing your office with these things in mind is the key to contented, productive employees. But wellbeing is just one factor of commercial office design you need to think about when creating future workspaces. Discover the 3 key areas of focus in our ebook. You’ll learn about the rise of the communal office and ‘resimercial’ design – and how to attract and retain the best talent with your office.