Office design is a good business investment. A quality workspace design leads to a less stressful and more productive atmosphere. It is important that employers take the physical work environment of their employees into consideration. Employees need to feel comfortable and calm in their physical work setting to produce their best work.
If your employees are having trouble staying productive or seem overly stressed, your workplace design might be contributing to the problem.
Below are a few design tips we came up with to reduce employee stress, and therefore retain a great, productive workforce. Remember you do not need to relocate to make these changes, instead you could implement a stress-free space like new over a weekend!
Provide a de-stressing zone
Create a space specifically meant for de-stressing. Employees need time away from their desks when they need a break from work. A designated area to unwind and recharge will help prevent employee burnout.
Select an unused room or designate a space of the office to transform into a de-stressing zone. Consider stocking the room with comfortable seating, stress-relieving games, and a speaker playing quiet relaxation tunes. Let employees know that they can excuse themselves to this area whenever they are feeling stressed and need a break from their desk.
Rethink the color scheme
We mentioned color before in a previous post – but needless to say – it is crucial to de-stressing. As we noted, color affects behavior and the color scheme of the office can create a calming environment and promote stress relief, or indeed, it could have the contrary effect. All white walls can feel clinical and create a sense of anxiety. Blue or green are considered to be calming, neutral colors which promote feelings of tranquility and improve productivity.
Soft, neutral shades are also a good idea – these can cause less eyestrain, which helps with concentration and prevents eye fatigue. If your office needs a fresh coat of paint, consider warming up stark, white walls with a soft neutral color and add accents of calming blue or green to relieve stress.
Designate quiet working zones
Quiet zones are great for productivity. Choose an area of the company that is further away from the buzz and hum of the office and set up tables and chairs for employees to use. These areas should be reserved for employees who need a break from their desks or the noise of co-workers while still working. Quiet zones can be great places to get work done because they reduce distraction and increase productivity. They are less isolated than the private office or cubicle, while still maintaining a sense of ‘individual,’ quiet space.
If extra space is available it might be worth considering adding private working zones as well. Use an empty office or unused conference room to designate as a private working area. This is similar to a quiet zone but should include doors and walls (partitions would work well here) – and remain similar to traditional office space. A private working area eliminates any chance of distraction – allowing busy employees to feel as productive as a possible.
Bonus Tip: Bring the Outside In
The number one reason, for bringing the outside in, is the reduction of stress in the workplace, which is the conclusion of researchers, scientists, psychologists and analysts. Biophilic designs not only reduce stress, but also enhance creativity and clarity of thought, improve well-being and expedite healing.
We spend on average 90% of our time inside, but we all have an innate tendency to seek connections with nature, that is why biophilia in the modern office works. A 2007 study published in the Scandinavian Journal of Forest Research found that workers with views of trees generally reported less career-oriented stress and higher job satisfaction, than those without views.
Potted plants can do the job very well! Studies in Europe and America have concluded that the mere presence of potted plants reduces stress and even assists with health issues such as dry throats, headaches, and dry skin. Potted plants can be particularly helpful to workers who do not have access to windows.