Regular readers of the Posture People blog will know that we often talk about the incredible effects that an ergonomic workstation can have on your productivity. But what about beautiful office design? We spend more time in our offices than ever before, and as an employer, it is critical to make your workforce as happy, healthy and productive as possible. A lot of this relies on a great team that work well together but there are plenty of other factors to consider.
In the spirit of Love Your Workspace month, where we celebrate all the best things about going to work, here are our 10 top tips on how to create a fantastic office environment.
The kitchen is the heart of the home, and canteens are often the heart of the office, an essential area to socialize with colleagues, relax and let off some steam. So it is crucial that you think about a beautiful breakout area. Keep in mind flexible seating and table arrangements for impromptu meetings over coffee and soft seating for when your staff need a good break from it all . 6% of those surveyed in our #loveyourworkspace survey (have you joined in on twitter yet?) said that they would completely change the eating and drinking facilities if they could change something about their workspace. Making sure that colleagues have somewhere to prepare, store and heat food can encourage them to bring in healthy packed lunches, and in turn, have fantastic effects on employee wellbeing (and their bank balances).
2. Ergonomic workstation
We are fortunate enough to often receive great feedback from our lovely clients about how much our workstations have improved their working lives. Being comfortable and happy at work is vital and no one should ever feel as though they have to put up with back pain (or any other aches for that matter). Having a workstation that suits the individual, alongside regular breaks from their screen have a positive impact on productivity and workload.
A recent study from Northwestern Medicine and the University of Illinois reports that “office workers with more light exposure at the office had longer sleep duration, better sleep quality, more physical activity and better quality of life compared to office workers with less light exposure in the workplace.” Having natural light is fantastic for employee wellbeing and general mood but it must be supplemented by artificial light in order to prevent eye strain. Choose lighting based on what you want to achieve and the atmosphere that you need to set in the office:
- warm white light creates a relaxing atmosphere of well-being,
- neutral white light is ideal for general basic lighting and
- daylight white light is stimulating and activating in sports centres and offices.
4. Play time
In school, playtime is encouraged to refocus and energise children during their working days so why not try it out in the office? As a generation, we are becoming more sedentary, so by encouraging regular breaks or walking meetings in the office, your staff will be able to get up and off their seats and boost their moods. Having a fun office can also do wonders for your brand, we’ve seen creative offices installing slides, games and giant chalkboards in order to inspire employees to interact with their office more and encourage creativity.
Green is a massive office design trend for 2015. From living walls to the humble office plant, greenery in the office can be great for your workplace. Not only do plants look great but they are fantastic at cleaning the air from chemicals generated by office technology. Ethical interior designer Claire Potter recently recommended us her best plants for productivity, with house plants an easy way to incorporate greenery into your office.
6. Creating privacy
Collaborating with colleagues is great,but whether you are an introvert or an extrovert, everyone needs a little privacy to crack on with work every now and again. In fact 16% of those that took part in our #loveyourworkspace survey wanted more privacy, even though most of those surveyed said the thing they loved most about their workspace was their colleagues. As much as you love them, you sometimes need some time to get on with your work in peace. An emerging trend we are seeing across new office designs are flexible working arrangements that incorporate acoustic paneling or semi private booths so you can pick and choose how you want to work, like the work we carried out for Boss Alien, a team of video game developers who needed flexible space to allow both collaboration and privacy as and when it was needed.
7. Colour Palette
The colour of the office not only says a lot about what kind of workplace you have, but is also evocative of what you want to achieve at work. One particular study has shown that we physiologically react to colour. For example red increases our heart and may be perfect for sales environments, whereas blue can encourage focus and direction. Before you get the paint brushes out, take the colour palette into consideration.
8. Workplace to perkplace
A cup of coffee can go a long way. Little extra touches that are provided not only make employees feel more valued but boost overall moral across the team. The team here at Posture People HQ may not have a luxury island to escape to like Richard Branson, but we are treated to massages once a month. No back pain for us! It just goes to show that cold hard cash isn’t always the best way to motivate staff. Greater democracy, a higher level of equality or full salary transparency are often favoured by employees. This 2011 TED talk by Will Mcinnes is still relevant, talking about happiness, openness and participation in the workplace.
A whopping 27% of the people we surveyed loved the location of their offices. Be mindful when planning a new location that it should be a joy to get to with easy transport links (though you can always combat this with a cycle to work scheme). Evidence suggests that location has a huge impact on employees’ mental and physical health as well as productivity. Being close to amenities, green open spaces (or in our case the seaside) and air quality all play their part in increasing job enjoyment.
10. Plan your space carefully
As we all know, having office space comes with a premium price tag and moving offices can be a costly affair. By law, each employee must have at least 11 cubic metres of space each. Make sure you are making the most of your space with cost effective careful space planning, swapping out your desks or changing the layout of your room could save you a fortune.
What do you think makes a workplace into a perkplace? Leave us a comment below or join the conversation on twitter where we are asking you to tweet us a picture of what you love most about your office using the tag #loveyourworkspace.