The notion of productivity being linked to health and happiness is a relatively new concept in business, but it’s become an established philosophy over the past decade or so. Countless studies have detailed the link between these three crucial elements in the workplace and you can see this in the way leading brands are designing their offices. (Image by Ella Jardim)
Pictures of Google’s indoor slides and Groupon’s office swings are viral examples of how much office design has changed since the soulless cubicle layouts that became so prominent in the 1980s – but how does this really impact our health, happiness and, ultimately, and business productivity?
It’s not really about swings or slides
Despite the viral images, modern office design isn’t all about building indoor playgrounds where adults can behave like children. Creating spaces where employees can reencounter their creative youth does have scientific merit but this is only one of many key elements in modern office design.
In terms of health and happiness, reducing stress is the first issue companies need to deal with and UK office design agency Office Principles has some suggestions:
- The basics – Ensure the basics necessities such as heat, light, ventilation, water, etc. are easily available.
- Task seating – Ensure you have the best form of seating to avoid stress and tension.
- Introduce workplace wellness schemes – Consider creating a small gym in the office, or paying for a portion of employee’s gym memberships.
- Create social activity – The more people enjoy their team at work, the better the atmosphere will be – and a better office atmosphere leads to productivity, creativity and collaboration.
- Provide a ‘Chill out’ space in the office – Sometimes people need 15 minutes to relax, re-group and disengage from technology and general work-related interactions. If you can provide comfortable seating you will find that a pleasant environment is good for boosting happiness.
- A bit of light relief – If you have the room, a Ping-Pong or football table will go a long way to boosting employee morale too.
- The effect of color – Consider changing the color of the walls (out with the sludge green and in with something fresher, cleaner and brighter), introduce some plants in the office, invest in some new pictures – even small changes like new office cutlery and kitchenware will make the working environment conducive to work.
Adding all of these elements into your office design will help you reduce the stress associated with working life. This should have a positive impact on productivity and workplace morale but there’s more you can do improve results.
Creating a more flexible, productive workspace
As Andrea Loubier writes for Forbes, “The modern workforce is no longer static. With the rise of remote workers and the growth rate of startups, flexible design is a crucial element. One of the best ways to incorporate this trend into your office space is to have spaces that aren’t static.”
If you honestly assess your current workspace, you’ll find a long list of things that are getting in the way of staff completing tasks as effectively as they could. Your software might be out of date or lacking somewhere, people could be walking unnecessarily far to the printer ten times a day or team meetings may be distracting for other teams who are trying to crack on with an important project.
Removing these barriers is crucial to maximizing productivity and this is why the best office designs create flexible workspaces that meet the needs of their employees – and, let’s remember, these needs change throughout the day. We’re talking about separate meeting rooms, creative spaces, private working rooms, and open collaboration spaces, all optimized with designs and equipment to help teams get the job done faster.
There’s nothing more frustrating for employees than feeling like their job is being made unnecessarily difficult. Remove every possible barrier to getting the job done and you’re looking at a more productive, happier workplace.