Design the Perfect Office: What Your Workforce Needs

16 Jul 2014 Category:  Commercial

Design the Perfect Office: What Your Workforce Needs

Office Design Ideas

Having a nice space to work in isn’t just something to be ignored. Given that many employees will spend most of their time occupying that same space, often for years at a time, having somewhere that is comfortable, dynamic and enjoyable to be in has been proven to increase efficiency of staff in any workplace.

A happy workforce is a hardworking workforce. And despite the fact that it might sound just too farfetched that using positive colours for your walls is effective, and round furniture to promote happy emotions just sounds like the spiel of a quirky designer, there are multiple studies that show us that where your staff are working will significantly affect how your staff are working.
 

Let your workers own their space

The process of empowering your employees is not the best kept secret to generating great work in your company, and letting employees organise their space is a simple first step to empowerment.

In a 2010 study, Craig Knight and Alex Haslam of Identity Realization workplace consultancy showed that workers who were given the opportunity to rearrange their own office with plants, and photos as they wanted were up to 32% more productive, as well as having a better team bond and increased loyalty to the company.

This is relevant too in the argument of open plan offices vs the seemingly dated idea of partitioned or cubicled desks in an office. Although open plan is often accredited to more creativity and easier collaborative working, open plan also harbours some key productivity killers: overhearing conversations, disruption of ringing phones and up to 62% more sick days taken by employees who are sharing space.

Uncontrollable noise and loss of privacy means that in recent studies, enclosed private offices have clearly outperformed open space working. A better alternative and the current trend in office design is having a system of moveable semi enclosed pods, which becomes a flexible to creating collaborative space when needed, but also allows some privacy when required.

There is most certainly still a place for open plan, but you must make sure you have the right office setting for your organisation.
 

Colours and Light

Colour psychology – it really does matter and not just in the case of a 90s style mood ring. Some associations with colour are obvious – black for mourning, red for love and white for purity, but it’s not always clear how this can impact your office.

It has been shown that more subconscious associations with colour can make a difference to productivity. For instance, being surrounded by blues and greens has been shown to increase the generation of new ideas. Red, as well as denoting love, is linked to better performance in tasks requiring to attention to detail.

In terms of lighting your office, a dimmer environment is conducive to creativity, where a bright work space is better for analytical and evaluative thinking – so even adjustable lighting could have more of an impact than you think.
 

Time to Take a Stand

Winston Churchill and Thomas Jefferson both cited the benefits to standing while you work – it’s nothing new but it’s certainly getting more and more press. Not only does sitting at work shorten your life expectancy (according to a study in the Archives of Internal Medicine, the risk of premature death grows 15 percent for those who sit eight hours a day, and 40 percent for those who sit 11 hours a day, compared with those who sit just four hours), but standing is also linked to a noticeable increase in productivity.

Say goodbye to the ‘post lunch slump’ as standing to answer your emails gives you more energy, and has been attributed to helping thousands of workers with the daily aches and pains of bad posture from sitting at their desks.

If your workers are making and taking phone calls then encouraging these conversations to happen on the move can make an impact on your business. A phone call made on the move sounds full of energy and more dynamic than a sedentary, slumped ‘Hello’.

However, with many things the key here is to offer flexibility and balance.

Some workers won’t want to or be able to stand all day, and as importance as sitting or standing is movement. In some businesses treadmill desks are being installed – but these are expensive and too bulky for all offices but allowing space for your employees to move is simple and key to promoting a happy and healthy workforce.

Furthermore, if any other new offices are to go by it’s probably advisable to throw in ping pong, table football, or some fake grass!

For more information about the high end interior projects that we work with, give us a call on 01280 821282. You can also contact us online.

Summary
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Design the Perfect Office: What Your Workforce Needs
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Having a working space and an interior that is comfortable, dynamic and enjoyable to be in has been proven to increase efficiency of staff in any workplace.
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