We’ve all heard the old maxim; “Take care of your employees and they’ll take care of you!”, and anyone worth their weight in the world of business knows that this doesn’t just stop at personal treatment. Many recent studies have shown that environmental factors in the office environment can also have a huge impact on the mental health, well-being, efficiency and productivity of those who work in it!
The office environment is without a doubt, one of the most important factors when determining job satisfaction too, and an environment which is not at very least, paid attention too, or neglected can have disastrous long-term effects.
The physical environment of your office space affects how employees interact; perform tasks and even how they are led, not to mention that the design of a room or meeting place can drive up productivity and work satisfaction. So many more different factors come into play when considering workplace happiness and productivity.
So, here are a few things for you to consider when setting up your office environment to maximise efficiency and to keep your employees as happy as they can be-
A large number of work environment studies point to a relationship between worker satisfaction and specific workplace features. Ambient features in office environments can have a positive influence on employee health and, consequently, on productivity. It pays to give attention to the following:
Ample lighting can help reduce eyestrain and overall fatigue over the course of the day.
Environments that are too hot or too cold can be a big distraction and result in higher utility bills. Check in with employees to determine the right temperature. Note that many women are comfortable at a higher temperature than men.
Having a generous flow of oxygen is important for mental sharpness and sustained energy.
Good acoustics help reduce the din that causes a needless elevation of stress levels. Also, note whether sound travels through walls so that confidential meetings and phone calls do not seep through closed spaces.
- Ergonomic furniture
The effect of poor quality furniture builds over time. Sitting at a desk and performing repetitive movements such as typing can result in pain and posture problems.
The Open vs. Closed Debate
Open-plan office spaces have seen a meteoric rise in popularity in recent decades, with many businesses and their leaders citing the many positives of a more collaborative workspace, contributing to a more contented workforce, relaxed environment and greater job satisfaction, to name a few factors.
Advantages of Open-Plan Office Spaces
By far, one of the greatest benefits of breaking down literal walls in the office is increased collaboration. When multiple people are working in the same space, they are more likely to share ideas and ask for input. Sure, there are plenty of web-based tools for communication these days, such as Slack and HipChat. But humans are social beings, and there are still psychological and productivity benefits from in-person communications in the workplace.
Stronger & Healthier Workplace Relationships
Not only does shared work space help people work together better, but it also helps the company save money. When you don’t have so many walls to build and rooms to plan, a significant amount of construction costs are saved. It is possible to provide more workspaces for additional employees in an open plan office. This setup is also more economical in terms of paying for electricity, heat, and air conditioning.
Open-plan Means Greater Flexibility
Who knows what the next office trend will be or whether some other configuration will emerge that is actually more beneficial than the open plan office. But with a shared space right now, you can ensure that you are flexible for whatever comes next. It’s easier and more economical to add more features to an open office than modify existing structures to give the next big office trend a try down the road.
Though open offices have become ubiquitous in many (office-based) industries, for their many notable benefits, there are still a few drawbacks; ones which only the traditional ‘closed-office’ or cubicle-style office floor plan can offer-
Advantages of Closed Floor Plans
While closed floor plans can cost more in terms of the amount of required space and furniture, the cost of lost productivity in an open-plan office is much higher.
Peace, Quiet & Fewer Interruptions
Study after study has suggested that chaotic background noise increases the amount of effort required to complete tasks.
Noise and interruptions can interfere with memory. When workers are interrupted, they forget what they were doing and must restart the task rather than work continuously. It typically takes over 20 minutes to get back on track after an interruption.
Working in an office means that you are going to spend a big part of your life there- and it makes sense to do everything you can to make that workplace one which you feel great in, and one which encourages you to be efficient and productive in your work.
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