Making Your London Office Workspace Work For You

There are a number of ways that you can make your London office workspace work for you so that your business reaps the benefits in terms of employee productivity, camaraderie/team work and a work atmosphere designed to encourage creativity and forward thinking.

Given that many people work long hours and in many cases personal vs. work life balance can suffer, making the workplace more inviting and staff friendly can in turn can help improve staff morale and help businesses increase productivity as well as be a place that staff actually want to work in.

So what can you do to accomplish this? Here are a few ideas to get you started:

Embrace Breakout Areas and Downtime

In previous articles including “Workplace Health and Wellbeing in Kent and London” and “Survey Reveals How To Increase Productivity Through Commercial Office Refurbishment” we’ve discussed how Kent and London office breakout areas can play a fundamental role in alleviating stress, while also improving productivity.

There’s no reason why a break out area can’t encompass an element of fun. In fact break out areas can also work as “downtime” areas too.

When it comes to keeping employees happy and productive, companies like Google lead the way. At Google, they’ve created a culture where staff can chill out and chat during the workday and where Lego, slides, beanbags and video games are the norm. Google has shown that by providing staff with “chill out” areas and where downtime and having fun aren’t frowned upon they reap the benefits in terms of employee productivity.

So how can a small London business emulate Google? Clearly most London office workspaces don’t have the space for elaborate toys or slides but you can provide staff with comfy furniture, maybe even beanbags, along with activities that don’t encompass work e.g. games, video game consoles, pin ball machine table tennis, darts etc. Each of these activities can help staff have some fun, reducing stress and giving them the time to reinvigorate themselves so that when they return to their workspace/desk they are ready to give their work the attention it deserves.

Open Your London Office Up To The Outdoors and To Natural Light

As human beings we are drawn to nature and hard-wired to prefer and perform better in natural settings. There have been numerous studies and scientific research which shows that our preference for being outside is in our DNA. This preference for the outdoors is partly do with natural light.

Exposure to natural light is directly linked to greater workplace performance while the absence of natural light correlates with increased levels of workplace stress. Mental Health Research UK says people who go without daily sunlight can develop lethargy, depression and seasonal affective disorder (SAD) (also known as winter depression). It’s estimated that a million working hours are lost to SAD each year in the UK.

Despite this, on average we spend 80 – 90% of our time indoors in office space that does not incorporate elements of nature in their design. Where an office space or refurbishment incorporates direct or indirect elements of nature into the built environment, known as “Biophilic design” (love of nature), research has shown that staff are more likely to be happy, productive and less stressed. Even something as simple as having houseplants/pot plants around the office can make a difference e.g. scientists from the University of Exeter found plants aid concentration, increase productivity and boost staff wellbeing by 47 per cent at work.

Other examples are Zappos (online shoe retailer) and Think Garden whose workplaces incorporate trees as well as plants, building a bridge between the indoors and the outdoors.

By incorporating nature into the design of a workplace you can also break up monotonous looking rooms and spaces and change a dull environment into something far more interesting.

Get Rid Of Clutter BUT Allow Staff To Personalise

Where space is at a premium e.g. in many London office workplaces there is nothing worse than a cluttered work area. Not only does it make it harder to find things but it can also result in a decrease in productivity. Some studies have shown that “the average person wastes up to 4.3 hours a week looking for papers, which adds stress and frustration to the workplace while reducing concentration and creative thinking”.

It can also represent a health hazard. A study by the HSE reported that between 2013 and 2016 an average of 119 000 employees slipped, tripped, or fell at work in the UK due to workplace clutter, untidy cables, snagged carpet tiles and areas which hadn’t been cleaned up after spills etc.

Instead think about office storage solutions which can work within/enhance your office space e.g. storage walls or built-in cupboards designed to fit from floor to ceiling can maximise your office storage space and dramatically reduce clutter while making it much easier for staff to find what they need.

Sometimes we can go too far when it comes to de-cluttering. When it comes to staff desks there’s every reason to allow some personalisation of the work desk. Research by psychologists at the University of Exeter (2010) into the “Relative Merits of Lean, Enriched, and Empowered Offices” found that a bare desk removes a sense of identity and empowerment. Where the environment is “enriched” with plants or art, “superior outcomes are observed when offices are decorated rather than lean”. However, further improvements in wellbeing and productivity are observed when workers have input into office decoration.

It’s therefore worthwhile allowing staff to decorate their desks to personalise them even as de-cluttering of the general workspace is taking place.

How We Can Help

JBH Refurbishments are experts in office fit outs and office refurbishment projects across Kent and London. For a free on site consultation at your Kent or London office contact us on 0333 207 0339 or via our contact page to discuss your objectives and let our expertise guide you in how to make your office space work for you.

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