Career Advice

Office Design: Why Does It Matter?

For years people did not put much thought into how our environments affected our mental states, emotional states, and overall well being. Spaces were laid out with little thought, in whatever ways were the easiest or the least expensive. Over time, the field of environmental psychology has grown, and with it, research on the effect that surroundings can have on humans.

In our increasingly competitive world, office managers are beginning to look into ways of increasing the productivity of their employees, as well as their satisfaction, to keep great employees from jumping ship to another company or workplace. As well, with the ever-growing remote work options available, offices are no longer just competing with other workspaces, but with the comfort of people’s homes.

Office Design Matters

Office design matters. Poor office design, which does not take into consideration human psychology, can create unnecessary stress, anger, impatience, and feelings of discomfort for employees and customers alike. All of these negative emotions have adverse effects on the quality and amount of work completed. Great office design can help improve the mental state of employees, having a positive effect on productivity, creativity, and mental peace. Simply put, good office design improves the functioning of your business.

Foremost, if you are managing an office, you need the workspace to be satisfying to work in. This is because, if it’s not, you will be losing some of your best employees in the long run. You have talented people working for you, they can have their pick of positions in town and they need a reason to stay with you. On average, a working individual will spend one-third of their life at their workplace. If they have the option to spend one-third of their life somewhere comfortable or somewhere uncomfortable, what do you think they will choose? What would you choose in their place?

In our increasingly competitive world, office managers are beginning to look into ways of increasing the productivity of their employees, as well as their satisfaction, to keep great employees from jumping ship to another company or workplace.Click To Tweet

Furniture And Employee Health

There are also practical elements to consider. Things like the structure of chairs and the height of desks can have a huge impact on employee health and comfort, especially over the long-term. An employee suffering from back pain for years is not going to be as focused as someone who feels healthy and fit and has no urgent pain intruding on their focus. The health ramifications of furniture are the bare minimum of what you need to be considering when fitting out your office or any workspace. No longer are the risks associated with office life secret. More than likely your employees already know about the basics of ergonomics. You can be sure the companies competing for your employees know of it as well.

Colors And Employee Emotions

Beyond choosing furniture for the office, there are many other things you need to take into consideration if you want to encourage the best work you can among your employees. Countless studies have been done on the effects of color on human psychology. Figure out what mood best suits your workplace. Whether it’s fast-paced and high energy or calm and collected, choose colors according to how you want your employees to feel.

Layout And Employee Mental States

Things like having a wall behind you when you’re seated at your desk can have a big impact on feelings of safety. We’re hardwired for survival, which means we don’t relax fully if there’s a chance someone or something, like a bear, might sneak up on us from behind. Of course, there’s almost certainly not going to be a bear in your office, but the deeply ingrained instincts that have evolved to keep us alive don’t know that.

How close working spaces are, and how many people are in each space has a big impact on the mental state of workers. Less than two other people in a room and there’s the risk of your employee feeling isolated and ignored like their work doesn’t matter. It doesn’t take a psychologist to know that this is not beneficial for productivity. More than eight people in the space and your employees feel like just another cog in the machine.

The above examples are just a few examples of the different ways that office design can impact the quality of the work that gets done and the quality of your employee’s lives. Culturally we spend more time at work than ever before in history, and it doesn’t look like that is going to change anytime soon. This means that office managers today have a much bigger responsibility than those in the past to ensure that employee health and wellbeing are being considered when office design choices are made.

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