While the layout around your office may seem trivial, it can actually have profound effects on your workday and performance.
While many of us don’t have total control of our workspaces, there are tips and tricks you can employ to improve your engagement and satisfaction at the office.
The physical design of a company’s workspace is integral to employee engagement and satisfaction, and there are many things a business can do to improve its space.
“Happiness, the feeling of positivity, really is the foundation of productivity,” Miguel McKelvey, founder and CEO of WeWork co-working spaces, told Time.
So how do you do this? Luckily, there isn’t much disagreement in the area. Most experts agree on a few key changes you should make to your work environments for increased morale: more natural light, a mix of open and enclosed spaces, and more movement.
If you want to convince your managers to improve the layout around your workspace, encourage them by sharing that happy workers make better workers, so designing your office space to maximize employee happiness will benefit both the employees and the company.
Fewer walls lead to more diligent work because, according to McKelvey, it creates a stronger air of accountability. If people see others working hard, they will be more motivated to do the same. Still, employees need a refuge.
Teknion said companies do need open spaces that encourage collaboration, but they also need quiet, enclosed spaces where employees can go to avoid noise or distraction.
Adding some color and excitement to these spaces doesn’t hurt, either. McKelvey said WeWork likes to surprise employees with different art installations and inspirational messages on the walls. There are even subscription-based art services, such as TuringArt, that will send you works of art to hang on your walls. When you think it’s time for something fresh to look at, you can mail the artwork back (with free shipping) and they’ll send you some new stuff.
Humans were not meant to sit for the majority of the day. Our bodies are made to move, and workplaces need to accommodate that if they want employees to be happier and healthier. Workplace gyms are a benefit at some companies, but are too expensive for others.
Suggest a walking meeting for your next small group discussion. Or Fast Company suggests pacing while on the phone and taking the stairs instead of the elevator.
Even adjustable furniture, Teknion added, promotes altering your position while seated and will help decrease the stress on certain muscles.
Try to maneuver your work area to include as much natural light as possible. Can you rearrange items to get a clear view of a window? Fast Company said that ideally a business should have floor-to-ceiling windows, but few of us have such luxury. In WeWork spaces, McKelvey told Time, they even construct their interior walls out of glass. Solid walls don’t maximize daylight.
Research conducted by furniture wholesaler Teknion conveyed the importance for human beings to feel connected to the natural world. The more windows and access to fresh air an office can provide, the better employees will feel.
Even if you can’t get a window view, consider taking potted plants and other natural materials into the office to substantially improve the office environment.
Feeling more comfortable at work – through mixed spaces, movement and natural light – could lead to greater job satisfaction and overall happiness. Try some of these ideas out in 2016.