Since the invention of the office space, which potentially goes back as far as Roman times, when they had dedicated places for work, there have been different designs to suit various needs.
Some businesses have specific equipment requirements, while others might want to put in break-out spaces to allow for creative thinking and collaborative meetings. Among the many considerations that go into designing an office, employee wellbeing, productivity, and mental health might not seem like they’re the most important. However, for today’s workers living in the modern world, where mental health is prioritised and more regularly talked about than in the past, wellbeing is a key priority. As the average worker spends 36.6 hours at work, staff working in offices will spend a significant proportion of their lives in their workspace. That means that their mentality will be deeply affected by their surroundings, and where they work could cause lasting changes to their mindsets and views on work.
Therefore, business leaders have a duty to create an office environment that is productive and meets the needs of their employees so that they feel safe and well-cared for. To help, we’ve put together some examples of how today’s workplaces are using design to improve mental wellbeing and productivity for staff and how business leaders can use these principles when redesigning their workspaces.
Providing Spaces For Rest And Relaxation
Most people who’ve worked in some form of office space know the sad desk sandwich and the joys of taking a break at their desk. While this can seem convenient, it’s not good for the mental wellbeing of employees, and it can make it hard for them to separate work from rest. As such, even small offices need to have a designated space for employees to take their breaks in. These areas should clearly be primed for relaxation and fun, with items such as bookshelves, comfortable chairs and perhaps even games consoles to make it easy for staff to spend their leisure time having fun. Having a desginated break area might seem like a waste of space, but it can significantly boost productivity and be highly attractive to potential job candidates who are weighing up whether or not they should join your team. So, if you’re designing your office space and adapting it for modern workers, consider adding a specific area for breaks and adding amenities that will entice your employees.
Embracing Biophilic Design
Working inside isn’t natural for humans, but it is essential for most office-based roles. To combine the need for natural spaces with our requirement for shelter, many office designers and businesses are turning to the practice of Biophilic Design. By integrating plants into the office space and incorporating neutral colours and natural light, you can create a workplace that’s welcoming and helps you to get the most from your team. Natural workplaces can improve the air quality in your space and make them more welcoming for your staff or visitors. Also, plants are trendy and stylish, so you can create a perfectly Instagrammable workplace that will highlight your stylish workspace to your online followers.
Allowing For Hybrid And Flexible Working
Having the option to work remotely for some of the time can significantly benefit many workers, particularly those with anxiety or family commitments, such as pets or young children. While an in-office environment can be beneficial for workers and morale at your organisation, having the option to work remotely at times can provide flexibility and allow you to attract the best talent to suit every role. As a result, many modern workspaces offer ‘hot desks’ that can be vacated to make room for different team members as they switch between working remotely and coming into the office. You can also make it easier for team members to plug in laptops and use other portable devices so remote staff can quickly make the most of the tech they bring in from home.
A Quick Summary All in all, the office you offer your staff will have a significant effect on their working lives. That’s particularly true today, following the global pandemic that caused many workers to struggle mentally as they adapted to working from home. The majority of workers noticed how their environment affected them during this difficult time, and many are now keen to ensure that they have a comfortable, relaxing space to work in. As a result, after this crisis, 81% of organisations have boosted their focus on the mental wellbeing of their staff. Office layout and design are key components to the wellbeing of your team. If you’re still on the fence about adapting your office to increase productivity and improve the mental wellbeing of your team members, this article is for you. Hopefully, it’ll help you to design the right office space where you can get the most out of your team and give them the right mentality to deliver the best results for your service users.
Photo credits: eOffice