Between the demands of a fast-paced work environment and responsibilities outside of work, employees face a considerable amount of day-to-day stress. The key to running a successful business, then, is helping your team manage that stress by emphasizing employee wellness. Promoting employee wellness yields more engaged, satisfied, and effective teams. When you show your employees that you care, you reap the rewards in productivity, retention, and morale. So here are the top five office design tips for employee wellness.
One way to accomplish this? Improving your office design game. A Happiness in the Workplace study by Kelton Global found that almost half of the employees surveyed cite workspace design as a meaningful influence on productivity and quality of work.
Investment in wellness-focused office design is increasingly becoming the standard in American offices. Wellness spaces, like mothers’ rooms, for example, are becoming a staple in offices looking to meet employee needs. As you redesign your office space for employee wellness, make sure you’re making changes that have the maximum impact on your staff. To help you revamp your workplace effectively, we’ve created a list of the top five office design tips for leaders looking to maximize employee wellness.
Tip 1: Employ an Activity-Based Working Model
Activity-based working (ABW) is a model that allows employees to choose a work environment that best suits the task at hand. Under this flexible design framework, there are no strict seating assignments — instead, you might create office zones optimized for heads-down focus work, zones for collaborative work, and zones for lounging and breaks. Whatever zones you create, they should be equipped with all the necessary tools to get the relevant job done. For example, in collaborative zones, you’ll want to set up whiteboards and virtual meeting equipment.
One side benefit of ABW is that it results in more efficient space utilization by doing away with assigned spaces, which can help your business reduce real estate costs. Of course, you don’t have to make a complete switch to activity-based working; you can start by designating certain task-oriented spaces in your office. ABW is a great tool for giving your employees the autonomy they need to succeed in their day-to-day work.
Tip 2: Use Sit/Stand Desks
Giving your employees the option to sit or stand is key to a healthy office. Adjustable desks give your workers the ability to work how they work best. Sitting all day can damage employees’ health, so offering standing desks allows your employees to stretch their legs a little while still staying on task.
This is especially useful if your business is located in a dense, congested area where people generally drive to work and are thus sitting for long periods of time — for example, if your office is located in Atlanta, which is known to have some of the worst commutes in the U.S.!
Coupled with an ABW, height-adjustable desks optimize for flexibility and employee autonomy. They give your team members the freedom to work how they like. Encouraging movement allows your employees to be a little more active while working, promoting better physical and mental health overall.
Tip 3: Incorporate Natural Elements
Humans were not meant to be indoors all day, so wherever possible, bring the outdoors inside with your office design. Whether you take advantage of natural lighting or introduce plants to your office environment, bringing natural elements into the office is a surefire way to promote wellness and increase positive energy.
Here are a few tips to incorporating natural elements into your office space:
- Use neutral or natural paint colors for walls, which can add to the environment’s sense of tranquility
- Add office plants — these can help boost mood and can even help purify your air!
- Opt for soft lighting over harsh fluorescent lighting
- Where possible, allow more natural light in
- Incorporate natural textures, such as stone countertops and wooden cabinetry
All your decor should maximize the natural ambiance of your work environment, and fixtures should be noninvasive and pleasing to the eye.
Tip 4: Ask Employees What Would Maximize Their Comfort and Productivity
One of the best ways to make wellness changes that carry significant weight is by polling your employees.
Depending on the demographics of your office, your workers’ needs may vary. For example, if you’re offering on-site childcare benefits, but your staff is mostly comprised of younger, single workers, this may not be adequately effective. Take time in the planning and design phase to find out what your employees want from their office space. This bespoke approach allows you to tailor your office design to employee needs instead of trying to paint with a broad brush.
Tip 5: Create Spaces for Social Activity Amongst Colleagues
To promote social connections between employees, consider dedicating a shared common area where team members can congregate and get to know each other. This space should be available to everyone in the office, and employees should feel inclined to use the area during break times.
When designing your office’s social space, focus on adding:
- Natural lighting to create an open, comforting, and inviting environment
- Comfortable furniture, including a mix of couches for relaxing and tables and chairs for collaborative projects
- Tall, warm lamps and landscape art create a sense of harmony and a pleasant aesthetic
- Games and snacks to make this space feel like somewhere to hang out
Redesign Your Space; Create the Office Space of the Future
There are countless ways to modify your office space to make it more inviting to all your workers. Employee wellness goes hand-in-hand with company productivity; promoting wellness will give your workers the tools they need to do well. Upgrading the layout and furnishings in your office can go a long way in hardening your company’s resolve, creating happier, better workers.