During the 1960s we saw the advent of office-centric design and the birth of governing bodies providing new industry standards and uniformity. These were exciting times for both office designers and furniture designers as we explored what the office should look like and how it should function.
The work space was the focus of attention then, with designers thinking of the look and trying to set precedents for trends in commercial design. What was not at the forefront of those designers were the people who would be using their ideas – the workers.
Fast forward 50 years and the tide has turned. Any decent new project will have those who will be most affected by the ideas at the heart of the design. We have moved from office-centric design to employee-centric design.
So, can we make an existing office more employee-centric? If you’re not in a position to completely redesign your workspace or to move premises, are there changes that you can make within your existing working environment to improve office wellbeing?
3 Ways To Improve Wellbeing In Your Workplace:
Movement: The most obvious starting point has to be the area of work that we are all familiar with – sitting for long periods of time is bad for us, we all know that. Sitting puts more pressure on your back than standing and a sedentary lifestyle has been linked to number of health issues including heart disease, cancer and diabetes.
Having height adjustable desks is one way we can address this, enabling workers to switch between seated and standing positions during their working day. Ergonomic chairs will also help, and by adapting your office furniture you are on the right path to helping your workforce.
But movement doesn’t stop at office desks and chairs. Encouraging your staff to move around your office, with breaks away from their desk every hour or so will improve productivity. By rethinking your current office setup you can help your employees move more freely around the office and encourage collaboration amongst different departments.
Sound: If you’ve received a phone call from one of those large call centres you’ll have heard a lot of background noise – office noise has been named as one of the biggest bug-bears among staff contributing to a lack of concentration and overall frustrations. The trend for an open plan office didn’t help the acoustics, but there are ways of reducing unwanted sound even if you are constricted by your current setup.
From your floor coverings through to your office partitions, from your office furniture through to your accessories, fixtures and fittings, there are noise solutions for most commercial properties. We’ve written about how to reduce your office noise, and you can read more here.
Light: Along with sound, there have been several interesting studies conducted into the affect of light upon workers with the results demonstrating just how important it is to get your office lighting levels spot on.
A working environment that is either dimly lit or too bright can cause workers to be less productive, with the dim light causing lethargy and the bright lights causing headaches and eye strain. The ideal solution is to have your employees exposed to as much natural light as possible, which has the additional bonus of saving on energy bills. Where this isn’t an option there are some great lighting solutions out there that will simulate natural light. We’ve written about getting your office lighting levels right, and you can read more about that here.
These are just three ways in which you can improve your current working environment for your self and your staff. Here at 20six we have considerable experience of redesigning and fitting out commercial properties to improve the wellbeing of all who work there, so if you would like further help or assistance with this then please do get in touch with us.