Your office is an essential space for your business. It is a workplace hub that should encourage inspiration and productivity, as well as boost team morale. Your employees, if they work solely from the office, will spend more time with their coworkers and in the office than they will with their friends and family or in the comfort of their own home, which means that it needs to be a space which is comfortable for them to work.
As a result, more and more businesses are beginning to understand more about the connection between the office space and employee morale, particularly the impact it can have on workplace stress. In a recent study, it was found that 87% of employees would like for their employer to offer better or healthier workplace conditions or benefits.
In the last 20 years, the typical office space has undergone huge transformations. In the late 90s/early 00s, cubicle spaces were cleared to make way for open floorplans to encourage communication between employees and clear networks. Then, around 2015, more focus was placed on employee happiness within the workplace which is when ping pong tables and communal breakout spaces were introduced. Office trends may come and go, but what hasn’t changed in numerous years is the impact which the office environment has on team morale and employee health.
It’s important that, as a business leader, you take a closer look at your office space in greater detail. Could there be any additions you can bring which will make it a much better place for your team, or are there other ways in which you can support and encourage team morale?
Encourage Collaboration With The Office Layout
It might be that your office is severely outdated and in need of a redesign put together by a fit out company, or perhaps you just need to reorganise the layout, but there are many connections in terms of communication and office design.
A good office layout can have a huge impact on overall team morale, but it can also encourage collaboration and positive attitudes. When employees have the ability to interact and work closely with their colleagues, then this creates a more productive environment where collaboration and communication are natural. Should an employee need help or support, this way of working makes it much easier for them to seek it out from a nearby colleague, rather than internalising their worries or not being sure about something and leaving it to get worse.
A great way to use your office layout to your advantage is to look at the possibility of creating different zones. Some employees love the collaborative aspect that comes from open-plan working, however others may prefer to simply get their heads down and work. It’s important that you recognise these differences within your workplace and look to accommodate as best as you can. In creating different work zones, you are providing employees with the freedom to work in a way which best suits their needs, thus improving team morale.
If your business operates using a hybrid working model, then having the right office layout is absolutely essential to your business’s success, as well as your team morale. Although hybrid workplaces provide employees with the opportunity and flexibility to work from home, it’s important to recognise that not everyone has the freedom to do this and needs the structure of being able to work from the office. Employees who choose to work from the office need stability in that they will need their own place to work each day, so this too should be considered within the work zones.
Improve Productivity With Nature
Natural touches and aspects around your office space will have hugely beneficial effects on your team’s morale and productivity levels. Lighting plays a significant role in the office and proper lighting can enhance visual comfort, reduce strain on the eyes and further promote a positive mood. Poor lighting, as well as fluorescent lighting choices, can wreak havoc on your employee’s health and well-being. It can cause headaches, tiredness, eye strain and overall fatigue which can then contribute to decreased productivity levels and additional workplace stress. Although it may not look it, the right lighting choice in your office space has a significant impact on the overall productivity levels of your business.
Although not the most important factor when it comes to reducing workplace stress and improving productivity and morale, you could also consider adding some greenery in the form of plants and flowers around the workplace. Plants have been shown to improve air quality within the workplace by around 20%. Whichever plants you choose, be sure to place them in areas where ventilation may be poor or non-existent. It’s been shown that good air quality can help improve concentration levels, therefore resulting in happier and healthier employees.
If you have under-utilised outdoor space, then consider how you can use this to support your team. Even a concrete courtyard can be transformed into a seasonal wellness space for employees to spend their breaks and lunches, take calls or simply have a breather if they feel overwhelmed at any point.
Having an outdoor space which can be used as and when needed is a benefit for any workplace, but you need to consider its uses and whether it will bring benefits to your team. Will the addition of a few well-designed planters be enough to transform your space, or do you want to go all out with a full redesign? If your office is located in a colder part of the world, then a heater might encourage employees to use the space for some fresh air no matter the weather, whereas artificial grass for Melbourne-located offices could be used for wellness events such as yoga or meditation.
An office environment can be used to positively affect employee well-being, productivity and morale, as well as improve overall job satisfaction. Creating a workspace which has benefits and prioritises the physical, emotional and mental wellness of your team is something that all leaders should look to incorporate in order to build a team which is happier, healthier and more productive.
Research shows that workplace design can and does positively influence and impact a number of different aspects, such as health, well-being and employee satisfaction. When employees have a positive environment in which they can work, then not only does this help with your business by reducing employee turnover, but in turn, creates well-rounded and overall happier employees. There is huge potential for a number of businesses to improve their impact on their employee’s health and well-being through a well-designed and thought-out office space.