Happy, healthy employees are productive and less likely to take time off work because of physical and mental illness. Unfortunately, many organisations fail to take their workforce’s health and happiness into account. Instead, they push employees to the limit and then wonder why they drop like flies.
The good news it is easy to create a happier, healthier workplace – and you don’t need to spend a fortune in the process. Let’s look at how you can do this without tearing down your existing office and building a new one from the ground up.
Encourage Collaboration and Socialising
The best way to encourage collaboration and sharing is by designing an open plan office. Many modern offices have adopted this approach and so long as you monitor noise levels, they are extremely effective.
The great thing about open plan office spaces is that they are extremely flexible, which allows you to accommodate itinerant workers and hot desking visitors. Employees can collaborate on tasks, socialise within the office space, and give each other support – all without leaving their desks.
If you do need to create separate meeting rooms, offices, or workspaces, it is simple enough to erect partitions.
Increase Natural Light
Natural light is very important. People are like plants: they don’t do too well when natural light is in short supply. Oodles of natural light makes us feel happier and more positive. This is, in part, why depression is more of a problem during the winter or in countries where days are short for many months of the year.
Open plan offices encourage the dissemination of natural light. If you do need to include partitioned areas, consider using glass. However, be aware that desks adjacent to windows will be uncomfortably hot in summer unless you fit blinds to control sunlight.
Reduce Noise Levels
Modern offices are often very noisy. Ambient noise levels tend to increase as more people enter the workspace, which can make it difficult to focus. Hard floors and other surfaces only compound the problem, so it is sensible to look at ways of reducing ambient noise levels.
Suspended ceilings do a good job of controlling acoustics in an open plan office, but other strategies include using carpet tiles instead of hard floors, fabric blinds, and even plants.
Design a Functional Office Space
Think about the layout of your office space. Does it encourage employees to move around or are desks crammed into every available space?
It is useful to design an office that encourages employees to get up and walk around. Provide break rooms or breakout areas where employees can take a break, eat their lunch in peace, or have a meeting with colleagues. Install a water cooler at the opposite end of the office so people are forced to take a walk to grab a drink.
Where possible, add as many plants as possible. They clean the atmosphere and boost employee well-being. If you lack green fingers, hire plants on a supply and maintenance contract.
The way your office is designed has a huge impact on your employees, so pay attention and spend time creating the perfect layout and design.