Office design is an aspect that can heavily influence the work culture a company has. The lack of access to a quiet workspace or an isolated work environment that does not encourage collaboration can affect an individual’s overall motivation and productivity levels. The impact of office design on the well-being of employees presents itself in an indirect manner that, if not addressed, can lead to increased stress levels and a dip in the overall quality of work.
In 2022, we have seen an increase in the return of employees to offices due to the decline in pandemic related cases throughout all parts of the world. This re-introduction of a proper work environment can be difficult to adjust to, especially considering that most employees have not been in an office for over two years, at the minimum. This ultimately means that offices can no longer adopt a one size fits all approach when it comes to office design. Collaborative workplace designs that focus on the well-being of employees has become the new norm in a post pandemic workplace, and companies are quickly adapting to this change due to the overwhelming benefits it presents in the long run. Increased productivity, higher morale, and decreased stress are a few of the benefits that companies have realized by investing in a workspace that caters to their employees’ needs.
Unlike the years before, where a workspace was limited to the tools you needed to work with, the role of these spaces has now shifted towards a people-centric approach. Employees are placed at the center of the design process, and intended outcomes have shifted from an efficient work process to an improved quality of life. Investing in employee well-being through design can offer a high return on investment purely due to the fact that with this approach, factors like low morale and high labor turnovers are minimized while productivity and goals are being continuously met.
Features that can help your business incorporate office design that promotes well-being are as follows:
This is one of the most important factors to consider, as bad layouts can make an office feel stuffy and frustrating to work in. Eliminate unnecessary trips around the office and use direct paths that are accessible and easy to find. Create various zones that can address different employee needs. These zones include, private zones for focused work, open areas that encourage dialogue, meeting and conference rooms for official meetings, resource rooms for specific tools like printers, and general areas for informal banter. A good office layout is one that is able to balance between individual and team work, as well as formal and informal sessions.
Many fail to realize that ergonomics is an important aspect of office design that has a direct impact on the physical well-being of employees. Most employees in offices have desk jobs, which means that they spend most of their time sitting in front of a desk and working. Neck and back pain, as well as sore wrists and joints, are inevitable in a situation like this. This is where ergonomics comes in. The concept of ergonomics is simple, it is the process of designing or arranging workspaces to fit the people who use them. This includes, chairs, sit/stand desks, footrests, keyboards, mice, and much more.
3. Visual elements
Human beings are inherently drawn towards visually stimulating environments. Cluttered and misplaced furniture and art can easily make a room feel dreary and influence overall productivity levels in a negative manner. In order to create an open feeling in your office space, adding visual elements and placing them correctly is the best way to go. Simply adding plants and natural lighting can go a long way in improving the well-being of your employees. It can improve employee moods as well as their overall health. Adding in decorative elements and making your office more colorful can help remove the artificial stuffy feeling that offices generally have.
Appealing working environments have a significant positive impact on the well-being of employees. Employees who like their workplace are often more satisfied with their work and are motivated to achieve the organization’s goals. Moreover, many prospective employees tend to apply to firms that have spaces that are designed with the employees in mind. A workplace is ultimately powered by the people and to truly create a space that encourages a culture that celebrates employees, the employees themselves must be placed at the center of the design process. A great office design is one that takes in employee work culture and values into deep consideration while listening to what the employees want in their workspace, thus making a significant difference in the long run.