Philadelphia, PA - The modern office has undergone multiple transformations over the years. Large, overcrowded offices were once the norm, but this is not the case anymore. Now we have a better understanding of how the physical environment affects a person’s ability to concentrate on complex tasks.
How Physical Environment Affects a Person’s Ability
Noisy offices crammed full of desks have disappeared, making way for more thoughtful design. The right office design can encourage employee productivity and well-being. Conversely, an office that doesn’t provide enough comfort and doesn’t facilitate communication will stop employees from performing at their best.
Below you will discover four ways office design affects productivity and well-being.
1. The Right Furniture Makes Long Sitting Hours Bearable
A growing body of research shows that sitting too many hours every day has a detrimental impact on one’s health. Long sitting hours increase the risks for cardiovascular disease, obesity, diabetes, and many other severe health conditions. Moreover, spending long hours on an uncomfortable chair can cause strained neck, lower back pain, and joint pain. Naturally, physical pain and discomfort while sitting at the desk will cause employee productivity to drop. Considering that sitting on a chair in front of a screen for eight to nine hours every day can take a toll on the body, employers who protect their employees’ physical health and well-being will notice an increase in productivity.
For optimal office design, it’s essential to acquire ergonomic furniture which is specifically designed to make sitting comfortable. To boost employee focus and well-being, find practical, comfortable, and stylish office furniture. There’s a massive variety of designs, colors, and materials available. The right office furniture can create an appealing ambiance and provide employees with all the comfort they need to perform their tasks.
2. Good Lighting Improves Mood, Creativity, and Sleep
Numerous studies suggest that natural light plays a vital role in determining our mental and emotional well-being. Consistent exposure to natural light improves sleep quality. Thus, employees who work in offices with large windows sleep better and wake up in a better mood. By being well-rested, they can maintain their concentration for long periods. Working in a dimly lit office that doesn’t receive natural light has the opposite effect, causing employees to struggle with sleep quality and experience frequent morning grogginess and even depressive symptoms.
The effects of natural light on physical and mental health are even more profound than that. Natural light can boost mood and morale. It also reduces eye strain, minimizing the risks of headaches and drowsiness. Considering that office employees spend the majority of their time in front of a screen, eye health is essential. Additional studies suggest that natural light also encourages creative thinking. Considering all these aspects, incorporating natural light into office design should be a top priority. Generous glass windows or a translucent roof can make your office look luminous and energizing.
If positioning desks near a source of natural light is not possible, high-quality artificial lighting is a good alternative. In an office, artificial lighting should not be dim nor excessively bright because fluorescent lights can cause headaches and eye strain. Ideally, the lighting system should be flexible, giving employees the possibility to adjust intensity and brightness according to their daily and seasonal needs.
3. Breakout Spaces Encourage Collaboration and Creativity
Taking regular breaks is essential for maintaining long-term productivity. Nobody can focus for long periods, so a five- to ten-minute break can help the brain hit refresh. The interior design of an office should include thus spaces for relaxation, quick chat, and informal brainstorming sessions. A breakout space can be anything from a lounge to a rooftop patio or a garden, but the design and décor should encourage rest. Vibrant colors, comfortable furniture, and greenery can create that relaxing ambiance that employees need to recharge.
Breakout spaces also encourage social interaction, thus helping employees foster closer relationships and collaborate more effectively in the workplace. Importantly, access to a green space that includes plants, flower gardens, or living walls can also improve mood and well-being. After a few minutes in a relaxing green space, employees will return to their desks feeling calm and energized.
4. The Right Layout Can Improve Efficiency and Communication
When it comes to office design, the layout is a critical aspect because it determines how information flows. Although style and appearance should play a role in the final decision, the most important thing to consider is how well the layout accommodates the needs of the employees. There isn’t an ideal layout that every company or business should adopt. Different office layouts can be highly efficient and more or less suitable depending on the nature of the tasks that employees perform.
If employees have individual tasks that don’t intersect, they may need privacy to work. In this case, the open-plan layout is not a good option because it is prone to noise pollution. However, if high levels of communication throughout the day are essential for employees to meet their goals, the open-plan layout can be a perfect choice. Even so, the open-plan format should allow some amount of privacy. Studies suggest that workers secluded in cubicles with no possibility to interact with others report the highest level of dissatisfaction with their jobs. Similarly, employees who work in a completely open-plan office report dissatisfaction due to a lack of privacy. The office layout can have a major impact on productivity and well-being because it determines how easy or difficult it is to have face-to-face interactions, distribute information, do highly focused work, or use telecommunications.
Working in an office that doesn’t provide adequate conditions for long periods of focused work does not allow employees to reach their peak performance level. The goal of office design should be to create an environment that empowers people to work, think, and communicate effectively, and this goal can be achieved by paying attention to details. An ergonomic workstation, space for relaxed chat, plenty of natural light, fresh air, privacy, a stylish interior, easy access to healthy food choices are only a few of the elements that dictate if employees find their office attractive.