These changes have been primarily driven by the improved understanding on how the workplace can impact employee health and wellbeing which in turn has an impact on morale and productivity. How well your employees are performing their jobs will affect how successful your business is and can mean the difference between your business surviving or thriving.
In 2015 Public Health England published a report “The impact of physical environments on employee wellbeing – topic overview” which recognised the importance of the workplace on employees health and wellbeing. It looked at literature which outlined the impact of office layout, furniture, lighting and temperature as well as how well an employee could control their work environment in relation to health and wellbeing.
It went onto say “All of these factors should be considered in order to ensure that the physical characteristics of the work environment do not have a detrimental effect on engagement, productivity and wellbeing. The surroundings in which employees spend their working lives are an important source of job satisfaction and impact on work motivation and patterns of interaction. They can be as much of a source of pressure as a heavy workload, poor work-life balance or significant organisational change.”
The report made some key recommendations including: designing office space to allow for varying tasks and different ways of working, considering have “private” spaces in open plan offices, designing workspaces to enable collaboration and communication, using furniture including desks which are ergonomic and consider the impact on musculoskeletal disorders and giving staff control over their environment including the control of lighting and temperature.
According to a report by Affinity “Office Design for Health and Wellbeing -summary of evidence” which reviewed a number of studies “[there is] a growing recognition that the financial health of a business correlates with investments in worker wellbeing. Many organisations are therefore now seeing the importance of good workplace design [and factors such as office layout, lighting and temperature with more recent research into types of working such as agile working as well as other initiatives like standing desks] in terms of individual and organisational wellness and are showing an increasing interest in designing for wellbeing.”
This is backed up by a study by Soma Analytics which reviewed over 22,000 pages of annual reports of the FTSE 100 companies. They found that that the 46 companies that focussed on employee engagement and health and wellbeing outperformed the rest of the FTSE 100 by as much as 10 per cent and profits were up to three times more than companies who weren’t prioritising wellbeing.
The Workplace Wellbeing Index which resulted from a “Wellbeing in the workplace study” carried out by the charity Mind also showed that companies creating the right environment for their staff had a positive impact on employees’ health and wellbeing, as well as their job satisfaction and productivity levels.
Making The Right Office Design Decisions
It’s clear from research and experience that making the right office design decisions can have an important and positive impact on how staff respond to their workplace which in turn leads to a happier, healthier workplace and improved work productivity. These include:
- Getting staff input during the design process. Your staff are more likely to know what office layout, furniture, lighting, colours and other aspects of office design will work best for them.
- How something as simple as the colour used within a workplace can impact the engagement, productivity and the health and wellbeing of employees.
- Ways of working to suit business practices and employees needs including an increasing requirement for office layouts that are flexible and can be easily adapted.
- Providing staff with breakout areas and other amenities to allow them to take breaks away from their normal work area to enable them to recharge in a way that supports their mental health and guards against workplace stress.
- Ensuring staff have the right workplace furniture is vital to avoid musculoskeletal problems which can result from sitting in front of a computer for long periods without the correct lumbar support. It’s important to make sure they have ergonomic seating and sit-stand desks to encourage them to keep moving rather than sitting at a desk 8 hours a day.
- Incorporating plants within the workspace as part of recognising that human beings are biologically drawn to nature.
- Utilising natural light wherever possible and LED lighting, which creates a more natural lighting look, where natural light isn’t available. It’s also vital to tailor your lighting design towards the activities that will be carried out within each work area.
- Giving staff control over their work environment where possible by allowing them to decorate their own workspace with personal items and enabling them to control lighting and temperature levels.
Of course, all businesses are unique and as a consequence every office design needs to be different and tailored towards the business, its working processes and staff. In this case one size doesn’t fit all. It’s therefore important that you should find an office design company that understands the in and outs of office design and can work with you to determine the best way to design your office space to get the most from the space available and which best benefits your business and your staff.
Years of Experience In Office Design
JBH Refurbishments have over 30+ years experience in office design and can advise on all aspects of your Kent or London office refurbishment. We understand what’s required to design an office to the highest standards and can provide the right expertise for your project. Contact us via our contact form or by calling us on 0333 207 0339.