6 Top Tips for Promoting a Healthy Workplace Experience
The approach to workplace design has changed drastically in recent years. Where there was once an emphasis on separate cubicles and rigid, formal workplaces, we now embrace a more creative and individual approach, marrying the design with the organisation, its culture and its employees. Years of research have proven that the design of a workplace has an impact on the wellbeing of your employees which, in turn, can affect their productivity and efficiency at work. Today’s architects, designers and fit-out specialists no longer follow a one-size-fits-all formula when designing a new space, instead they are focussing on creating tailored spaces to inspire employees and enhance their performance.
With the increasing awareness of the importance of supporting your employees and valuing their health, we are in an entirely new age of design. Bad health, whether physical or emotional can have a tremendous impact on not only an individual’s output, but poor health can lead to a poor atmosphere, which can lead to the productivity of whole teams suffering. The research is astonishing. In a 2017 study carried out by Soma Analytics it was found that FTSE100 companies prioritising employee engagement and wellbeing outperform the rest of the FTSE100 by 10%.
The Mind Wellbeing Index found that organisations that create the right environment for their staff can lead to improved health and wellbeing and increased job satisfaction and productivity levels. The smartest, most disruptive companies are beginning to realise that their goal needs to be prioritising their people by enhancing their workplace experience, and the right design plays a huge part. Ultimately, employee health should be the cornerstone of workplace design. Companies thrive on the innovation, creativity and abilities of their people, and the repercussions of poor employee health can be enormous.
How Can You Ensure Your Workplace Prioritises Good Health?
We spend a third of our lives at the office, so creating the right workplace environment is key for companies wishing to attract (and more importantly, retain) the best talent. The more we understand about human behaviour and psychology, the more design is changing. Designers are being led down a path of creating inspiring spaces that enable and encourage good health, whether that’s through incorporating biophilic design, adding breakout zones and third spaces, or offering a range of different environments that lead to a more agile working style. Workplace is a powerful tool for supporting employee performance and enhancing their wellbeing and overall productivity. Here are 6 top tips for promoting a health workplace environment:
1. Air Quality
The air quality in our place of work can have a big impact on our health. The World Green Building Council found that productivity is increased by up to 11% when the air quality is improved. The best way to ensure the optimum level of air quality is to install an air filtration system throughout the office, but if this isn’t possible, the introduction of office plants will have a similar effect.
2. Light and Views
When designing an office space, it’s vital to maximise natural light. Leave bulky furniture out of the way of the windows and let the sun shine in. Research has shown that poor lighting at work can have an impact on brain function and can even lead to headaches, eye strain, blurred vision and increased tiredness, but the use of natural light will help resolve these issues. If more natural light isn’t an option, ensure none of the lights are flickering and allow employees to control the lighting in their work zone, for example with the use of desk lamps.
3. Healthy Food & Drink
As the popular saying goes; “you are what you eat.” What your employees eat throughout the day powers their brain and can impact their health and energy levels. Of course, you cannot police what your team are eating, but providing nutritious snacks will help encourage a balanced diet, which will ensure they’re getting the nutrients they need to perform at their best. At the very least, ensure filtered water and a range of hot drinks are available throughout the office. We know from extensive research and client feedback that high-quality coffee is not only an important perk to offer in the workplace, but can also have a range of health benefits and enhance productivity, so investing in a high-quality coffee machine, such as TopBrewer, will certainly help to improve general wellbeing Incorporating coffee culture into workplace design can also have a positive impact on the social experience at work.
4. Colour Scheme
Colours can be used strategically to promote certain behaviours or feelings in different areas of the office. For example, yellow is seen as an optimistic colour and can be used to help inspire employees in collaborative areas, whereas incorporating the colour green can have a calming effect and is less harsh on the eyes.
Noise is a problem in most workplaces. According to the Leesman Index, only 30% of office workers are happy with the noise levels in their office, and this can have a big impact on productivity and wellbeing. However, too much and too little noise can both be equally as detrimental, so it’s key to allow employees to have a degree of control over the acoustics of their environment. Providing access to different spaces, such as quiet meeting rooms, individual working spaces and noisier collaboration zones and third spaces will help your team become less distracted. If your space doesn’t allow for different zones or third spaces, free-standing room divider screens are a great option to help diffuse sound in open areas.
Biophilia is being incorporated into workplace design more frequently than ever before. A 2014 research paper published in the Journal of Experimental Psychology found that the presence of plants inside a building increases occupants’ wellbeing by up to 40%, and studies have highlighted that adding biophilic elements, such as potted plants, to a workspace can reduce absenteeism and increase productivity. The easiest way of adding biophilic design into your space is by adding plants. You don’t need to plant 20-foot tall trees throughout your office, a simple desk-top potted plant will have a big impact on your team. If your budget allows, integrating a “living wall” or mixing natural materials such as wood and marble into the design will have a big impact.
Read our blog on how to create the right workplace experience to attract the best talent here