According to a 2018 report, the average office worker will spend approx 1,700 hours a year in front of a computer screen. While this won’t come as a surprise to many of us, the ramifications of extended desk sitting and screen use (six and a half hours a day on average) can present themselves in a variety of ways. From aches and pains to a dip in productivity, and even extended absence from work, the furniture you choose and the design of your workplace can be the make or break for your business.
While most employers would like to think they strive for optimal productivity in their workforce, how often do we consider the physical environment as a factor? While “Productivity” used to be viewed as getting a job done in the fastest time possible, we feel that working efficiently while maintaining employee satisfaction and well-being is paramount. So, how can you use office design to improve the well-being and productivity of your workforce? We’re here to share our golden rules!
1. Create opportunities for movement
Our bodies weren’t built to be in a single position for long periods of time. Long breaks and tea rounds used to be one answer to this problem, but extended chit chat isn’t always ideal for focus levels and productivity.
Giving your employees a variety of areas to work in such as collaboration hubs, break areas, focus zones and communal benched seating creates options for workers who feel a productivity slump throughout the day. Studies show that 30% of employees feel more engaged when given access to flexible working environments.
We aren’t all wired the same and allowing your employees to vary the way in which they work can help improve work output and employee satisfaction at the same time.
Ergonomic and innovative office furniture such as sit-stand desks and 24 hour executive chairs are the perfect option for workplaces short on space. While standing at your desk throughout the day may sound uncomfortable, the key is to encourage movement. Standing all day can be just as unhealthy as sitting for 8 hours straight, so the more movement between these two states, the better.
2. Ambiance can be your best friend
It may seem unbelievable but up to 20% of office workers claim that optimum lighting levels help increase productivity. Ample natural light is one key to employee well-being, however if you are unable to offer this, then sensory change and variability through plants, varied lighting, open spaces and textured seating, all have a positive impact on employee’s well-being.
It is worth noting that some factors that improve productivity for some can also hinder it for others. While background noise can encourage creative and collaborative tasks, the same noise may be distracting for employees whose roles require more focus. Employee’s varying roles & functions should be catered for when designing an office.
3. Offer variety but create definition
There is now even more need for flexibility in office design. Modern businesses are moving away from the traditional 9-5 desk life and putting increased demands on a single footprint. One design scheme can often be required to cater for a range of working practices, boost productivity, impress visitors and clients, and reduce square footage.
Contrasting open plan concepts with smaller collaborative spaces creates opportunity for varied and segmented working. Offering a variety of seating and working spaces helps to cater for a range of functions, and ensures that those who are trying to concentrate are not interrupted by large communal teamwork sessions.
4. Make it yours
It can be difficult to resist following the latest trend, but one tip we won’t budge on is that your office design should reflect your corporate values and brand identity. Just because Apple have an orchard at their headquarters (that’s right; peaches if you were wondering) doesn’t mean it applies to you. Simple design features can be used to reflect the nature of your business and tell visitors something about you. Are you especially proud of your environmental credentials? Why not opt for an organic feel with green touches and recycled products? Or perhaps you are an engineering firm. Using upcycled furniture or machine-related artistic features could be a really simple way to stand out from the crowd. Integrating your brand colours, past work and specific USPs is a simple way to make sure your design is fully yours and it doesn’t date too quickly.
While deciding on the direction of your office design isn’t always straightforward, adopting these initial steps will help to set a foundation for future plans. If you’re interested in freshening up your space, our experienced team can conduct a comprehensive consultation at your workplace for maximum convenience and with no obligation.