As commercial interior designers, we are often asked by our customers what the most important thing about a working environment is. Our answer is always the same; the people who work in it! OK, maybe we’re over-simplifying, so to expand on that answer; the people who work in any particular workplace will have a dramatic effect on that workplace, and vice versa. Therefore, we’ve come up with some handy tips on how to best promote synergy between employee and workspace below.
Happy employees = more creative & productive employees!
- Quiet or Noisy?
The ambience of a workplace will have a significant impact on the workflow and productivity of the people working in it. Some people thrive on a loud, vibrant atmosphere with music playing and lots of conversations all taking place at the same time, whilst others need near-silence to concentrate on fine detail. What works for your workplace will largely depend on the type of work your employees do, but sometimes a mix is best. Perhaps you could provide headphones if some of your employees work best with some extra stimulation? Or if it’s a heads-down kind of operation, perhaps individual cubicles would offer great value?
- Ritualise the Workplace
For a lot of people, the first part of the day can be a slow, sluggish amble towards their third cup of coffee. Optimising and ritualising your workspace can help you overcome that “lost” feeling early in the day by letting you get on with some regular daily tasks that you have everything you need to complete. Let your employees move their workspace around so that it works best for them; what looks like chaos to everyone else might be exactly what that person needs to feel the most happy and productive!
OK, so you’ve followed tip 2 and ritualised your workspace, and now it feels like home… but is it optimised for actually achieving what needs to get done? If there are things all over the office that clearly aren’t being used any more, consider getting rid of them. Having too many things in the workplace can prove distracting rather than improving productivity. Try to encourage people to have mostly what they *need* around them, rather than everything they *want*.
Employees must look after the workspace, but the workspace also needs to look after the employees!
4. Fresh Air & Daylight
Even with the emergence of LED lighting in workplaces around the world, there is still no substitute for real, natural light. natural lighting promotes productivity, improves your health, and can have positive effects on your behaviour and mood. We all know that blissful sensation of feeling the warmth of natural sunlight on our skin. The natural light and slight breeze through a cracked window can really open up the room and make people feel happier. Some studies even show that the more natural light and fresh air a person gets during the day, the better they sleep at night!
Taking even a short break from work can do wonders for people’s feelings of wellbeing and morale. It’s vital that all your employees take a proper break at least once every day, and ideally with other shorter breaks either side of it. You can encourage this by having a nice breakout area in the workplace; somewhere where people can get away from their desks, relax, and socialise with their colleagues. Make sure it’s stocked with tea, coffee and plenty of water too.
6. Too Warm? Too Cold? Just Right…
If your workspace has old heating, ventilation & air conditioning (HVAC) systems, the chances are at least some of your employees are uncomfortable on a daily basis. Feeling discomfort can be a great distraction to people, and can also have negative effects on productivity and creativity. Make sure you don’t overcompensate for the temperature outside, too. If you have the heating on full when people are coming in from freezing temperatures outside, you’ll have some very tired looking employees sat at their desks trying to stay awake!
Remember, if you need any help with optimising or redesigning your workplace, we’re always here. Call us on 01462 484 022 now to see what we can do for you and your employees.
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