There are factors which influence people’s mood, energy levels and productivity. These include diet, length and quality of sleep as well as physical activity levels.
Office design is another, important factor when it comes to enhancing wellbeing and productivity. A well designed and carefully maintained office can also install confidence in potential clients, as well as the workforce themselves.
If you are a business owner, looking to enhance the productivity of your employees using methods other than financial incentives, you may be surprised to learn how much of an impact the office environment can make.
Many people in the United States suffer from a mild form of Seasonal Affective Disorder during the winter months. The Interdepartmental Neuroscience program at Northwestern University in Chicago reported that lack of light during the day can impact sleep, energy levels of quality of life of office workers.
Whilst it may not be practical to provide interior lighting with specialised lighting for the syndrome, when designing an office it can be cost effective to make the most possible use of natural light. Large windows can be expensive but if they boost productivity and employee wellbeing, they might be a wise and cost-effective investment. Bear in mind that sunlight can cause problematic glare on computer monitors – so it is best to factor in the cost of blinds and shades when budgeting for office improvements or a completely new office.
Plants & Air quality
Research has also shown that if a company improves the air quality in their office, they will improve productivity. Ventilation can have a significant impact on levels of carbon dioxide, oxygen and humidity. In turn these factors effect the cognitive functioning and attention-span of those working in the environment.
Adding plants to the environment can improve both air quality and employee satisfaction levels. Having an office which is over-crowded and noisy can directly impact air quality as well as employee satisfaction. With this in mind, outsourcing some tasks including business phone answering can be a way to actually reduce overheads, whilst improving staff productivity and satisfaction.
Animals in the Workplace
The 2015 Society for Human Resource Management’s Employee Benefits survey found that 8% of respondents worked in offices that permitted pets. That’s an increase of 3% since 2013. Research has shown that the presence of a dog can reduce heart rate and blood pressure more than the presence of a spouse. In addition, another study showed that presence of a dog can actually improve cognitive functioning as measured by a mental-arithmetic task.
Obviously, having a dog at work can have many drawbacks, especially puppies who will often attempt to chew cables and shoe laces! Dogs can also have a dramatically negative impact upon employee satisfaction if any of the workforce suffers from allergies. They can also become slip and trip hazards.
If space allows it, it can also be a good idea to incorporate breakout areas within your office. If you want employees to work in teams and communicate face to face then breakout areas are the perfect solution.
If you include a feature such as an interactive monitor or even a whiteboard that makes it easier for employees to work collaboratively, you’ll find the space will become a valuable asset.