Whether you’re setting up a workspace or your current one is due for a renovation, it’s wise to find out what the latest thinking is when it comes to office design. Paying attention to trends doesn’t just show you have your finger on the pulse, it can also lead to improved recruitment and retention levels, a more productive workforce and more satisfied clients.
While you may not be able to implement all the latest innovations into your space, having an understanding of the theories behind how and why they work can help you to achieve a workplace that’s perfectly tailored to your needs.
All good CEOs know that their greatest business asset is their people. While many businesses spend significant sums attracting and recruiting the right talent, not all organisations understand the value of investing in their people. One of the principal ways that businesses can do this is by creating healthy work environments.
- Sit and stand desks
A primary way to support the health of your staff is to offer sit and stand desks to reduce the risks associated with sedentary behaviour, such as cardiovascular problems, cancer, diabetes, weight gain, back pain and mental health conditions. There are great benefits to be gained from a more active workforce. Less sitting can prevent conditions that result in absenteeism and presenteeism, which can hurt a business’s bottom line and decrease productivity, engagement and wellbeing.
- Biophilic design
Biophilia is a term used to describe the innate affinity humans have with the natural world and our need to be in contact with the nature. It has become important in the realm of interior design, with more and more people paying attention to the incorporation of plant life and natural lighting into their homes and workspaces. Why? Well, plants can reduce dust and bacteria levels, improve air quality, improve mood and enhance concentration, all of which can have a positive effect on your personnel and their output. Natural light, meanwhile, has been proven to increase your body’s vitamin D storage, boost energy levels, reduce the risk of nearsightedness, improve sleep quality and enhance mood.
- Noise and acoustics
The open plan office has transformed the way we interact with colleagues, with many claiming that such layouts encourage camaraderie, increase levels of collaboration and enhance the flow of knowledge and information. However, with all this intermingling often comes an increase in noise, which can have a detrimental effect on productivity. A study by Cornell University showed that open office noise caused clerical workers to experience an increase in epinephrine, the hormone that triggers the fight-or-flight response. This jolt of adrenaline caused by such auditory distractions can create stress in the individual and breed tension and resentment between workers, which is the antithesis of what open plan offices set out to do.
Sound masking devices such as workstation partitions can go some way in helping to reduce noise levels in the open plan office and the use of carpet or vinyl flooring can also help to absorb sounds. It might also be a good idea for your organisation to zone spaces according to noise levels and create quiet rooms where workers can go when they require exceptionally low levels of noise.
Designing your work environment with these three people-centric factors in mind could help you to create a happier, healthier and more productive staff and, in turn, a thriving business.