So let’s consider the “future of work”. According to Gallup’s 2014 State of the Global Workplace report, 51% of workers said they weren’t engaged with 17% saying they were actively disengaged. So what can improve these dismal stats and increase productivity and workplace happiness? The answer is office design. With the way we work changing, where we work needs to keep up. According to the authors of Ethonomics: Designing For The Principles Of The Modern Workplace, the slump in our offices solved by taking a different approach to design.
1. Effective use of space
Your employees don’t need a lavish multi-story office to feel more productive; you just need to be creative with your space. By having access to natural light, collaborative spaces and private meeting rooms, you’ll increase employee satisfaction and productivity. People will feel free to move around and won’t feel tied to their desks, creating more opportunities for creative collaboration.
By having workplaces that are beautiful and interesting, employees become more productive. Dingy lighting, isolating cubicles and colorless offices all work together to create an environment that is uninspiring and off-putting. Investing in the ambiance of your office will change the overall mood. People will look forward to coming to work instead of counting down the minutes to freedom.
Innovative workplaces shake things up. They smash glass ceilings and break the mold of what is expected. As a result, employees in this environment adapt the same attitude. They are more creative, different departments are bouncing off ideas, and people are coming together instead of working in silos to solve problems.
In today’s modern world, our thumbs get more of a workout than any other body part. So much so that it’s possible to spend an entire day sitting, tapping on one device to the next. But did you know that during an eight-hour workday we should only be sitting for two hours at most? According to a study by biochemist Jack P. Callaghan, PhD, he found that employees long-term goal should be to stand more than you sit.
But why is promoting movement in the workplace so important? Well, not only does physical activity improve our postures but it’s a vital ingredient for collaboration. Employees are more alert after taking a walk or having an insightful conversation with a colleague. These type of positive interactions outweigh negative feelings about the workplace and improve overall happiness. Google is one of the pioneers in promoting movement in its offices. It’s New York Headquarters boasts a massive rock climbing wall where employees can come and work out their tension.
2. Flexible Layouts
The modern workforce is no longer static. With the rise of remote workers and the growth rate of startups, flexible design is a crucial element. One of the best ways to incorporate this trend into your office space is to have spaces that aren’t static. For example, workstations that convert into standing desks, movable walls, and areas that can serve as meeting rooms and lounges. This will help you to redesign the space as you expand, keep employee wellness front of mind and create privacy as and when it’s needed. Red Bull’s offices in London have fully embraced this trend. Throwing out the corporate office rule book, its space feels like a giant lounge. The reception area is also designed to turn into a bar after hours, switching into a trendy space where coworkers can wind down after the daily grind.
When the health and well being of employees are central to design, productivity, happiness and health all increase. Besides promoting a healthy lifestyle, opting for nutrient-rich office snacks and encouraging walk and talk meetings, one of the best things to put in place with the biggest impact is sit-stand desks.
By standing and changing position, people get a kick of energy, reduced back pain and improve their posture. Google takes health a step further in their cafeteria. At the salad bar, ingredients are labelled by their nutritional value. While this might not seem like a revolutionary idea, it makes a difference during a moment of mindless snacking. By helping your employees make healthier decisions, your business benefits with reduced absenteeism and more productive energy.
Spending more than eight hours a day inside deprives us of natural elements. Biophilia, our impulse to connect to nature, increases work productivity by 15%. There are also several other studies that have shown plants booting cognition and improving our overall health. Apple is one of the biggest companies that has hopped onto this design trend. Their new offices aptly called “Apple Park” is speckled with over 10,000 trees.