Our environment affects us in ways we often aren’t even aware of. A cluttered and disorganized bedroom at home may make it harder to fall asleep. A cloudy, rainy day can make us feel lazy and unmotivated. And an uninspiring and poorly organized workspace often doesn’t result in the best work from your employees.
While previously not given too much thought, work space design and functionality and its impact on productivity has become a very hot topic in recent years. Here are some elements of workspace design that the experts agree help bring out the best in your employees:
For many, natural light makes a huge difference in mood, and ultimately productivity. It’s believed that artificial light interrupts our circadian rhythms, making it harder to sleep at night and concentrate during the day. Additionally, studies have shown that employees exposed to artificial lights are more likely to suffer from headaches and eye strain. When possible, go for natural light. If natural light isn’t an option, look into some of the newer technologies, like LED skylights which do a better job of mimicking natural light.
Just as humans crave natural light, we also feel best when surrounded by natural elements. Think living plant walls, and wood or stone accents.
"Feeling connected to nature reportedly increases creativity as much as 15%, and productivity by as much as 6%."
Open, collaborative spaces.
Many companies are moving away from offices and cubicles and instead are creating large, communal and collaborative spaces. There are usually no assigned seats, so employees are free to sit where they want. Being around coworkers can improve your mood and keep you motivated. It also makes it easy to ask for help when you’re feeling stuck!
Offices that are too sterile can feel suffocating. While white, light and bright is nice, remember to anchor the space with some warmer accents to make the space feel cozier. Wood tones, fabrics and other textiles can help achieve the desired vibe.
Don’t underestimate the power of colour in motivating and inspiring your employees. If you have multiple working spaces, consider using different colour themes for each. For example, it’s believed that blue is a great colour for calming, and to promote concentration. Yellow and orange, on the other hand, encourage energy and creativity. Match colours to the purposes of your various spaces to maximize employee productivity!
Ergonomics and wellness
Standing desks, treadmill desks and bike desks are just a few of the options available for facilitating better ergonomics, posture and fitness. The goal is to avoid extended periods of sitting, which is hard on your posture, your mood and your health. Encourage movement during the day by having different workspaces that employees can move between. Bonus points if you designate a space for yoga and meditation!
Work place design doesn’t have to be expensive, but it should be well planned. Putting some time into thoughtful workplace design will help your company recruit top performers and allow you to maintain a happy workforce.