How workspace influences the employee experience

Think for a minute about your workspace and how it makes you feel. Does it excite you and fill you with energy or does it make you feel like you’re entering an inhospitable place?

Workspace trends come and go, but one thing that doesn’t change is the impact the office environment has on employee health, well-being and performance.

Quality workspace design leads to a less stressful and more productive atmosphere. It is critical to consider the work environment for employees as they need to feel comfortable and at ease to perform at the highest level.

We spend almost a third of our lives in the office, and in order to find and retain the best talent, it is essential that companies foster an environment that provides people with the right space to work, think and collaborate in a natural way.

Many of today’s offices are open plan. This design can be great as long as it is implemented correctly with employee productivity and happiness in mind. From offering private rooms to take a call and quiet spaces for concentration to fun and comfortable areas that encourage collaboration. 

 

It is vital to think about building office spaces with different environments to maximize employee well-being.

You need to create spaces that make you want to spend a lot of time in them, where your mind is not preoccupied with meeting basic human needs and where you can focus on being productive.

Factors such as temperature, adequate ventilation and natural light influence how pleasant and healthy a space is for its users.

There is also a human factor. We believe in creating spaces that allow you to build trust with your teammates, which then allows for good collaboration to take place.

Next, we will explore the effect of the workspace in three areas: Productivity. Innovation. Communication.

 

How Workspace Impacts Productivity

Simply put, the physical environment affects your productivity. How focused your brain can be depends on what other demands it has at the same time, whether due to external stimuli, your physical comfort, or how many tasks you’re trying to tackle. Infrastructure elements also affect productivity, from lighting and design to ease of use and comfort of furniture. Creative workspaces, often found in coworking centers or innovation-focused companies, are often designed incorporating people-friendly features such as bright or soothing colors, plants, natural materials and a variety of seating options.

How workspace impacts innovation and creative thinking.

 
Have you ever been asked to sit down and think of a creative idea and drawn a blank, and it was to walk out of the room and suddenly experience a surge of creativity? There are scientific reasons for this phenomenon. One reason goes back to the connection between the motor and cognitive functions of the human brain. The same neural circuits are used to plan a mental act as are used to plan a physical act. Movement and thought go hand in hand. Workspaces that prompt people to move throughout the day because of their layout, from desk to meeting room to kitchen to cafeteria down the street, have the built-in benefit of encouraging those brief walking breaks that tangibly impact employee creativity. Often, working from home diminishes some of this inevitable movement simply due to smaller, less varied spaces. Workspaces that are designed for a variety of uses cause employees to change their physical environments throughout the day. It turns out that changes in the landscape can also benefit innovative thinking.

How the workspace affects communication

 

Maintaining strong communication within the team and throughout the organization is vitally important at any time. It is especially true in the midst of change or when employees are dispersed among different workplaces.

 

The method of communication can influence the speed of your work. A study published in Harvard Business Review found that face-to-face requests were 34 times more successful than those made by email.

 

Working in the same space with your colleagues introduces the possibility of spontaneity, such as brainstorming, casual conversations that lead to problem solving or creating new connections between team members.

 

Workspace designs that facilitate the flow of communication ultimately enable teams to work faster, happier and more resourceful.
 

Conclusions

 

Now the question is: how can you apply these lessons within your company?

 

It’s clear that telecommuting appeals to many workers, and studies consistently show that employees prefer at least some flexibility with respect to coming to the office. And there are potential benefits for the workers (the ability to work from anywhere; eliminating travel time) and for the company, which can significantly reduce office costs.

 
There are also advantages to co-location. As we have discussed, working in person allows for rapid communication, connection between the team and spontaneous collaboration and innovation.

 

Aspects of space such as noise, lighting, temperature, furniture and privacy can affect a person’s productivity, creativity or happiness during the workday.

 

An environment designed specifically for productivity, creativity, and collaboration should include:

 

  • Quiet and/or private spaces for specific jobs.
  • Ergonomic furnishings and a variety of seating options.
  • Open spaces that promote communication.
  • Open spaces that promote communication.
  • Natural and dimmable lighting.
  • Abundant life.
  • Abundant plant life.
  • Easily accessible amenities.
  • Services.
  • Outdoor work spaces.
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