As millennials dominate the workforce and company values evolve with the times, expectations around work life have steadily shifted. Today, workers expect their office to be a pleasant, healthy, and fulfilling place to spend a large portion of the day.
Even if you don’t have the budget for a complete office redesign, you can still tweak your space to promote wellbeing and happiness.
Designing a healthy workspace is about much more than just keeping employees happy. When your team has a great work environment, they’re more engaged, more productive, and take fewer sick days. That adds up and pads your bottom line, and your team is happy to do the work.
Design Tips for Workplace Wellbeing
Traditional office design is focused on maximizing individual productivity. Think about the high-walled cubicles and closed, private offices that come to mind when you hear the words “office space.”
As our modern culture changes, so do the things that promote productivity.
In the information age, most jobs involve some level of collaboration. Quiet, solitary jobs are giving way to roles dominated by creative group work. Modern workers value person to person connections, and even in a more traditional office environment, productivity can be boosted by making those connections easier.
Keep your workspace legible
Your office layout should be clean, intuitive, and easy to figure out. It should be easy to find the people you need to talk to and the tools you need to use.
Multi-use areas can be very valuable for growing companies trying to make the most out of their space, but keeping your space designations clear and dedicated makes your office feel more organized and structured. Office furniture and layout should clearly convey a space’s intended use.
When employees need to collaborate in the daily course of their jobs, keep the sight lines between them clear. If they can easily make eye contact without getting up, their work will be more efficient and more pleasant.
Providing plenty of storage space at each workstation is another smart way to keep the office clean and open.
Be sure that everyone has lots of storage room for things they need, but that they don’t necessarily use every day. Meanwhile, all the stuff that gets used often should be within easy reach. Rather than cramming all that stuff on a tiny desk, allow enough room to leave essentials where they can be used conveniently.
Let in some sunlight
While not everybody can have a desk by a window, allowing plenty of natural light into your office boosts morale, promotes good health, and helps you have a greener office.
If it’s an option, consider installing skylights to let in more sun.
The more light you let shine in from outside, the less energy you have to use for artificial lighting. Install well-insulated windows to keep climate control costs down, too.
Sunshine is a great mood booster, which helps employees stay energized and productive throughout the day. Let it shine!
Make your space adjustable
Adjustable furniture like height-adjustable desks and ergonomic chairs go a long way towards comfort and productivity in the workplace.
Give your employees reasonable means to make their work area more comfortable for their personal needs. Your 6 foot 4 inch team member should be just as comfortable at their desk as their 5 foot tall coworker.
Small ergonomic improvements are also valuable – consider offering monitor stands to adjust the height of computer screens, ergonomic keyboards, and bias lighting that reduces eye strain during long stretches of screen time. The more adaptable an individual work station, the more emotionally and physically connected your team will be.
Keep in mind that it’s also important to give people some control over the noise in their surroundings. If they can’t shut a door to block out sound, set aside some quiet space for focused, uninterrupted work. Sometimes, being in the center of the action is energizing, but sometimes, it’s just distracting.
Wellbeing at Work
Of course, promoting wellbeing in the workplace goes far beyond the way you design your office.
Team culture, resources, and leadership have a lot to do with employee satisfaction and overall productivity. It’s worth your time and effort to invest in the mental and physical health of your team, as the returns you generate are far greater than the time and money you put in.