Over the last 20 years, the way that the office works has gone through a huge amount of change. Back in the 90s, cubicles were popular and people were crammed into offices almost as if they were intensive farms. The early 2000s saw the rise of open-plan offices, and a decade later we saw the growth of the offices that nobody wants to leave, with ping pong and foosball tables.
Trends come and go, but the key thing that remains is clear. Office managers are well aware of how the office environment impacts on health and wellbeing, and are always trying to find new ways to make the office better, utilising architects, designers and office refurbishment services to create an office their employees can love.
Good workspace designs create environments that are productive and stress-free. Employers need to consider how the physical work environment impacts on their employees.
In the recently published Fellowes Workplace Wellness Trend Report, it was found that most workers find it important to work in an office environment that is good for their health. The survey highlighted some key points:
- 87% of office workers want their current employer to provide healthier benefits, such as fitness incentives, ergonomic seating, better lunch options, or wellness rooms.
- Those who work at younger companies are less likely to have their requests for in-office benefits such as a sit-stand desk turned down, in comparison to those who work for more established businesses.
- 93% of those who work in the tech industry say they would remain with their company longer if they were offered better workplace benefits.
We spend around one-third of each weekday at the office, and it’s important that the time we spend there is good for us. To attract, and retain, high-level talent we need to foster a good environment in which people are empowered and feel able to think, collaborate and focus. Around 70% of modern offices are open plan and while there are benefits to that kind of layout there are problems with privacy and noise too.
Companies should consider offering quiet rooms and private spaces so that people find it easier to collaborate, relax, and meditate, as well as ways to get outside and enjoy a different environment, to boost wellbeing.
Air Quality is Often Overlooked
Air quality is something that is often overlooked. Research conducted by the World Green Building Council found that an 11 percent increase in activity can occur if people enjoy access to fresh, clean air in their workspace.
Water and Hydration
Our brains consist of around 73% water, so it is vital that we stay hydrated. Providing water coolers and access to clean, fresh drinking water is essential if you want to see your employees perform at their best. Encourage people to step away from their desks for a few minutes for a drink or two.
What you eat has a huge impact on how you feel. Provide your employees with nutritious food at the canteen, and healthful snacks as well, and you should see fewer sick days and better overall productivity, as well as better wellbeing. Everyone benefits when there is healthy food on hand at all times.
Natural light is important for wellbeing too. One study conducted by the Cornell University Department of Design and Environmental Analysis found that those who sit within ten feet of a window report an 84% decreased risk of eyestrain, blurred vision and headaches. If windows are not an option, then good lighting in the office can be a big help.
Your office should be a place of comfort. Using correct ergonomics can help to reduce muscle fatigue and also increase productivity. Many cases of lost productivity are down to musculoskeletal disorders, and if you can create a distraction-free environment that is comfortable and safe then you may find employee wellbeing is greatly improved.
Decorate to Soothe the Mind
One study into the impact of Biophilic Design found that those who work in offices that have more ‘natural’ features have better wellbeing. In addition, people who were in well designed, creative and natural spaces were more creative themselves, better able to concentrate, more confident and found it easier to collaborate.