“I hope that everyone has the opportunity, whatever their work environment may be, to be surrounded by people that they respect and are inspired by.” – Janet Varney
It is now widely recognised that a dynamic, welcoming and inspiring workplace have a massive effect on not only the productivity and success of a company, but also on the happiness and wellbeing of the people who work for them. If you make your employees feel at home when they are working, like they are part of the family, then they will invest themselves into their work in ways that unfulfilled employees simply aren’t capable of.
So, when choosing, designing and creating your work environment, have a really good think about what attributes will make it a positive and productive place of business, where wellbeing is at its core. This idea might seem overly conceptual, or even illusive. However, creating such a space is actually pretty straightforward, all it takes is for you to consider and include the following elements…
In days gone by, the norm was to have your own desk at work; your own cubicle, a bit of wall just for you, maybe a window if you are lucky. This paints a bit of a grey and unimaginative picture. This old system discourages interaction between workers, and therefore the exchange of ideas. A variety of work settings is imperative for flow in the office; this flow should include ideas, physical movement and positivity. Aside from isolation, to other downside of sticking to one work location is that your brain will switch off at some point during an 8-hour workday. The brain needs constant stimulation in order to work at optimum efficiency and creativity; an open workspace with a choice of work locations goes a long way to making sure this happens.
2. Movement and Dynamic Meetings
Standing desks, standing meetings, walking meetings, multi-purpose conference rooms; these things were nothing more than a fad a few years ago. However, the results of making these parts of your work environment speak for themselves. For example, standing desks have been proven to help decrease blood pressure, stress and cholesterol, and to improve overall productivity.
Plants. Plants. Plants. Bringing nature indoors has so many benefits. There is the obvious aesthetic benefit of them being a lovely decoration, but they are so much more than that. Bringing life from outside, inside lends a connectedness and a serenity to a space. We are inexplicably linked to nature, so having that reminder brings out an instinctual sense of calm and comfort. Also, plants increase the air quality significantly… and what do our brains love? Oxygen, that’s what!
Put away the magnolia paint, colour is what you need. do not be afraid of dynamic colour and design in your work space. Various colours have been proven to evoke and encourage anything from a sense of clam to an atmosphere of high creativity. A well-researched and designed colour palette can go a long way to creating an engaging and exciting space for your employees to thrive in.
Light and openness in general is so important for wellbeing. Have you ever been in the situation, usually in the Winter, when you arrive at work when it is dark, and leave work when it is dark, and have gone an entire day without seeing any daylight at all? If you have you will know that this doesn’t put you in the greatest mood. We need light to feel alive and uplifted. Natural light is the jackpot, but even if lots of natural light is not possible, there are alternatives to the, not very inspiring, cheap office strip light!
6. Encourage and Support Healthy Choices
If you want your workforce to be happy, healthy and hardworking, then make it easy for them to make great life choices. Want to encourage activity? Why not install a bike rack at work to make cycling in convenient? Want your co-workers to form positive relationships? The make sure your break room or canteen is conducive to that; comfortable chairs, a well-designed communal kitchen, perhaps a pool table. There are so many simple things you can implement to make the workday experience a pleasure for your staff.
By Chris Thomson
But why should you care about workplace wellbeing? Well, we have a few thoughts on that… Workplace Culture: Why Wellbeing is Important
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