People these days spend nearly 90% of all of their time indoors and may spend around one third of their total waking hours at work. So it isn’t too surprising that our mental or physical health can be significantly affected by various aspects of our workplaces.
Undesirable working conditions can result in lower work performance along with increased absences, injuries and error rates. However, when you have a well-designed workplace, the exact opposite can occur. When office designs are being planned, they usually focus on workers’ physical effects instead of how workers’ well-being is affected.
Link Between Health and Productivity
Employee health and employee productivity are directly linked. In addition, employee productivity relates directly to your company’s bottom line. That is why it is to your benefit to design your office spaces so that improving the health of your employees is taken into account. There are four major areas that need to be considered in order to increase the well being of your employees and benefit certain mental issues as well. These include:
The type and amount of personal space in an office environment can either discourage or encourage social interactions between your employees. The furnishings and physical layout can significantly affect personal space.
Therefore it is worth considering, when you are getting your office layout designed, when employees are able to control their privacy. This reduces adverse affects of other stressors in the workplace. Make sure that office space takes into account the personal needs of employees, particularly those who have mental health issues and balance this with needs for team or group interactions. Make sure open plan areas are not overcrowded and create breakout areas that staff can relax and interact in.
It is easy for people to get distracted and some might have a hard time staying on task. For those employees where it can be a challenge for them to maintain their focus, you should consider enclosed offices or to increase panel heights as well as other distraction reducing aspects like sound absorbing and sound masking materials in open plan office designs.
Stress Reducing Factors
Every person experiences and feels stress to some degree on a daily basis. Windows are a beneficial feature of workplaces that can reduce stress as well as assist people with recovering from stressful situations. Looking at nature, either through a window, pictures or living wall can all help with reducing stress as well. Consider giving offices with or near windows to employees who have very stressful work or who suffer from stress-related health issues.
Seasonal Affective Disorder refers to individuals who suffer from mood changes based on not getting enough exposure to sunlight. When adequate light is provided in the workplace it can provide mental health benefits for all employees.
Keep in mind if an office doesn’t have natural light or many windows, that lighting can play a significant role in creating a spacious, light and comfortable environment. Smartly linking artificial lighting with natural daylight can help to minimise energy consumption and ensure optimal lighting conditions.
In conclusion, your workplace design definitely has a significant impact on those individuals working in the space. When you are designing your office keep in mind to consider mental health aspects as well as physical impacts.