Updating the physical workspace

When did you last refresh your physical workspace? If you can’t recall or it feels like ages ago, it might be time to rethink its design.

Recent years have seen a surge in research delving into the impact of the physical work environment on employees. The findings are eye-opening, underscoring the urgency for employers to prioritize workspace design.

In this discussion, we’ll explore the benefits of investing in a physical workspace for your employees and highlight key considerations for an optimal setup.

How can the physical workplace affect employees?

The work environment can have a surprising effect on your employee’s well-being. Poor lighting can give them physical health problems such as headaches, causing them to take more sick days. Similarly, poor air quality can also be a major concern for their health.

Office appliances can use a lot of energy. Highlighting this point in an infographic, business utility specialist Utility Bidder listed some of the most power-hungry techs in typical workplaces. For example, did you know that an average office air conditioning unit can use up to 4,000 watts, while servers can use 1,000 watts? Meanwhile, desktop computers can consume around 100 watts, while desktop monitors use approximately 25 watts.

These are just some of the things which can impact your workers. A poor working environment is known to decrease morale and lower productivity and motivation. So, if your employees have been performing poorly, it could have to do with their physical working environment.

Does your workspace provide catering?

One thing you might not have considered in the workplace is catering. Do your employees have a dedicated area to eat their lunch? If not, they could end up eating at their work desk which is known to be detrimental to productivity.

At the very least you’ll want a comfortable staff room your employees can relax in. However, if you want to keep them happy, it’s worth considering investing in catering equipment. That way, you’ll be able to serve up healthy, nutritious meals on-site. You can pick up affordable yet professional catering equipment from companies such as JLA.

Boosting employee comfort

One of the most important things to focus on is your employee’s comfort levels. This is what is going to impact how efficient and productive they are. Ensure any office chairs provided are made of exceptional quality and they’re comfortable enough to be used for hours. Alternatively, you could also consider adding standing desks into the workplace to encourage your employees to move around more.

Natural lighting, plants and flowers and a comfortable seating area are also other great ways to boost comfort in the workplace.

Comfortable restrooms with high-quality toilet partitions are also essential in office spaces as they provide privacy and comfort for employees using restroom facilities. They create a sense of personal space, ensuring that employees can relieve themselves in a discreet and relaxed environment, contributing to their overall well-being and productivity at work.

Another important factor that should be considered to make the workplace more comfortable is flexibility. As studies show, workers mostly prefer flexible workspaces, where they aren’t restricted by boundaries and have a space to move. Thus, to ensure a productive workspace with all the above-mentioned amenities, many business owners often give preference to office space rentals. Henceforth, if you are looking for office space in a location with a healthy and happy working environment you should consider Seattle office space for rent, as the city is among the 10 top places having the best life-work balance. Besides, Seattle is among the top coworking cities in the USA.

Ask your employees what they want

Of course, the best way to make sure your physical workspace is good for your employees is to ask them what they want. What do they feel will boost their comfort and satisfaction in the working environment?

Overall, it’s easy to dismiss how important the physical workspace can be to your employees. The above are just some of the things you can do to ensure your working environment encourages health, productivity and motivation.

Improvements Important To Your Employees

Here are some ideas from employees which are important to them about the physical workplace.

1. Ergonomic Furniture

Investing in ergonomic furniture is crucial for preventing work-related musculoskeletal problems. Ergonomic chairs that offer lumbar support and adjustable desks can significantly enhance comfort and prevent strain during long hours of work. Standing desks add a dynamic option for employees to change their posture throughout the day, which can reduce back pain and increase energy. Providing a variety of seating options allows employees to customize their workspace according to their physical needs, promoting better overall health and productivity.

2. Natural Light and Views

Enhancing access to natural light can transform a drab office into a vibrant workspace. Position desks and workstations near windows to maximize exposure to natural light, and use glass partitions to allow light to permeate throughout the office. Natural light is known to improve mood, enhance morale, and increase productivity. Additionally, providing views of the outdoors can help reduce stress and mental fatigue, making the office a more pleasant and productive environment.

3. Quiet Zones

Quiet zones are essential for employees who require a space free from the usual office hustle and noise. These areas should be strategically placed to minimize noise pollution and should be equipped with sound-absorbing materials to enhance quietness. Providing spaces like small pods or insulated rooms allows for focused work sessions, important calls, or simply a place to retreat and recharge. Quiet zones respect the diverse working styles of employees, especially those who perform best in a serene environment.

4. Collaborative Spaces

Collaborative spaces should be designed to foster communication and teamwork among employees. These areas can be informal, equipped with comfortable seating like couches and bean bags, and adaptable tables for various group sizes. They should also be equipped with whiteboards, screens for presentations, and ample charging stations. Such environments encourage spontaneous interactions and brainstorming sessions, leading to increased creativity and innovation within teams.

5. Greenery and Biophilic Design

Incorporating biophilic design elements such as indoor plants, water features, and natural materials can significantly enhance the aesthetic and atmosphere of a workplace. Plants are not only visually pleasing but also contribute to cleaner air and reduced workplace stress. Designing office spaces with elements that mimic the outdoors can create a more relaxed, refreshing, and invigorating work environment, which in turn can enhance employee well-being and productivity.

6. Recreational Facilities

Recreational facilities like a gym, a yoga studio, or even a simple game room can contribute significantly to employees’ mental and physical well-being. These facilities offer a convenient way for employees to relax and recharge without having to leave the office. Providing space for physical activity can help reduce health-related issues and insurance costs, boost morale, and increase overall job satisfaction.

7. Art and Color

Strategically placed art can inspire and motivate employees while enhancing the overall workplace aesthetic. Choose artworks that reflect the company’s identity and culture or that stimulate creativity and positive emotions. Similarly, vibrant and thoughtfully chosen colour schemes can invigorate a workspace and affect mood and mental clarity. Both art and colour are powerful tools that can transform the feel of a space, making it more engaging and enjoyable.

8. Technology Upgrades

A modern workplace needs to be equipped with cutting-edge technology to ensure efficiency and employee satisfaction. Up-to-date computers, high-speed internet, effective communication tools, and smart meeting rooms can streamline workflow and enhance communication. Technology like automated climate control and advanced security systems can also enhance comfort and safety in the workplace.

Given that older appliances tend to use considerably more energy than newer, more efficient models, now might be the time to start investing in some new equipment for your workplace. Replacing lots of tech at once might be too expensive, but gradually you can upgrade everything from your PCs and photocopiers to your fridges and heating system – making considerable energy savings as a result. For instance, instead of having separate devices for scanning and printing, a significant improvement for businesses could be the adoption of business multifunction copiers, which combine multiple functions into one, not only saving energy but also reducing the overall equipment footprint in the office. By transitioning to these all-in-one solutions, companies can make a gradual yet impactful change in their technology infrastructure. Just ensure that when you’re choosing new appliances, you go for products with strong energy efficiency ratings.

9. Flexible Work Areas

Flexible work areas that cater to various activities and working styles are essential for a dynamic workforce. These spaces might include quiet corners for deep focus, large tables for collaborative projects, and comfortable lounges for informal meetings. Flexibility in the workplace allows employees to choose a setting that best suits their current task, which can lead to increased productivity and satisfaction.

10. Health and Safety Enhancements

Maintaining a clean and safe environment is paramount for employee health and productivity. Regular professional cleaning, updated HVAC systems for better air quality, and access to sanitisers and disinfectants help prevent the spread of illness and maintain a healthy work environment. Additionally, ergonomic assessments and regular health check-ups can be a part of the workplace wellness program to ensure that employee health is always prioritized.

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Ed Smith – Ed took a keen understanding of business through his studies and early business ventures. He now looks to advise start-ups and is extremely keen to make sure every entrepreneur gets the advice which could make their business venture a success. He has been a guest author on various high authority business sites.