If you want to be an employer of choice, having a well-designed office should definitely be among your list of considerations. The design of your office can have a significant impact on workers – physically, psychologically and mentally. It’s therefore crucial to ensure that the office – where you’re likely to spend at least eight hours a day, five days a week – is designed to bring out the best in you and your staff.
Here are five of our top tips to inspire you when designing your office.
1. Have Plenty of Natural Light
Research has shown that an environment with more natural light means workers sleep better and longer, engage in more physical activity and enjoy better quality of life. In other words, natural light helps to boost your employees’ productivity and well-being.
One simple solution is to ensure that workstations are within 20–25 feet (6–8m) from windows. You can also incorporate glass walls and doors in your office design, which allows natural light to permeate easily and reduces the need for artificial lighting. Not only does it create an open environment, it’s also energy-efficient.
2. Keep it Tidy
A cluttered environment damages our productivity. It restricts our ability to focus, distracts us, makes it frustrating to locate items and can inhibit creativity as you naturally have less space for brainstorming.
Organise your office layout so that each employee has ample storage space. For instance, a communal rack for hanging up jackets and umbrellas instantly declutters each person’s workspace.
Going paperless where possible by using cloud-based software to reduce manual processes and mountains of paperwork will also improve the likelihood of maintaining a clean desk. A good contact management system such as Sansan, for example, allows your staff to instantly organise their database of contacts and view them on the go, instead of trying to dig through stacks of business cards by hand.
3. Set the Mood with Colour
The psychological effect of colour is a well-documented phenomenon. It affects our moods, purchasing decisions, sports performances and many other aspects of our behaviour. Therefore, when choosing the colour themes for your office, first determine the kind of mood you want to inspire in your employees. Intense and stimulating colours such as red and yellow increase excitement, optimism and playfulness, while softer, muted hues such as blue and green have a calming effect.
4. Invest in Ergonomic Furniture
Studies have linked sitting for extended periods to back pain, and chronic back pain has been linked to depression. While there is no substitute for being active and mobile, investing in high-quality ergonomic furniture can help to combat some of the pressure that sitting has on your back.
For instance, you can select office chairs that provide lumbar support and come with adjustable height so that the user maintains a healthy posture while sitting. Laptop stands also allow users to adjust the display height to keep their back straight and reduce wrist strain.
5. Include Plenty of Breakout Spaces
Despite the popularity of open-plan office layouts, a recent study shows that enclosed spaces actually promote workplace satisfaction as employees get more privacy and are less distracted by noise.
One solution is to design your office with plenty of nooks and meeting rooms for people to take a break from their desk. Doing so gives your employees more areas to collaborate, make a phone call without having everyone else listen in or even take a power nap. Encouraging them to make use of these spaces boosts their creativity and productivity and increases staff satisfaction at the same time.
Investing in design for your working environment is investing in the success of your business. With these tips in mind, you’ll be well on your way to creating a healthy and attractive office in which you and your employees can do your best work.