With most Americans working an average of 47 hours a week, and taking less than 15 days of vacation a year, it’s about time for a workplace shakeup to give them a much-needed boost. And, while you might think we’re talking about pay raises or luxury vacations, many companies are instead choosing to create better environments for their employees to work in. Gone are the days of cube farms and tired office furniture. Instead, modern office designers are creating innovative workspaces that boost health and wellbeing, encourage productivity, and foster a sense of belonging.
That’s important because our workplace can have a profound effect on our health, mood, performance, and tenure. Whether we’re conscious of it or not, workplace design, from the big picture to the small details, makes a major impact. Employers are now getting wise to the sorts of things retailers have known for decades: All the aspects of an environment affect behavior, including things like light, sound, color, and furnishings.
Let’s take a closer look at why office designers are focusing on branding and wellness in employee spaces.
Flexible workspaces encourage productivity
Not every employee works best in the same way. And, just as workers are demanding more flexibility in their work lives, they want more flexibility in how they work. Smart office designs incorporate a range of work spaces to accommodate different work styles. This could mean co-working spaces, quiet nooks, outdoor areas, comfy chairs, or stand-up desks. When employees work in the way they are most comfortable, they do a better job. And, since the spaces they choose to work in could change throughout the day, it’s important to be able to offer a range of options to them.
A healthy workforce is a better workforce
Ensuring the health and wellness of an organization’s employees is becoming an increasingly important goal for any forward-thinking employer. These days, companies are incorporating a range of innovative spaces and ideas to improve workers’ mental and physical health. Why? Because healthy, happy employees take fewer sick days and are more productive.
Intelligent office design includes both active and passive spaces to improve wellbeing. For some organizations, a design might include a gym or yoga room, staircases, and standing desks to encourage activity, mindfulness areas to relax, or outdoor gardens. Even when things on this scale aren’t possible, good designers can make creative use of spaces that encourage movement and contemplation. Your company might offer free or discounted gym membership for employees, for example. Yet with good design, even those who don’t actively take part in your wellness programs will still experience and benefit from it passively.
Branding breeds belonging
Branding is, of course, essential for any organization, but many companies overlook extending branding to their workplace. If you want your employees to live and breathe the company’s goals, brand, and core values, it’s not simply a matter of painting everything in your corporate colors or plastering your logo everywhere. Good designers can incorporate branding in more subtle ways that have an impact. It might be the lines they use, the artwork they choose, or even the choice of furniture. The point is that when the brand is reflected in the office, it communicates that company’s unique work culture, helps instill organizational pride, and promotes a sense of belonging.
Not only that, but visitors, contractors, and clients who come to the office will feel it too. A brilliantly designed work space that reflects your organization’s ethos shows what it stands for, how it operates, and creates community.
Smart design helps attract and retain employees
Not every organization can offer a working environment like Google or Amazon, but a great office environment can act as a recruitment incentive. Workplace design and culture is a big drawcard, particularly for millennials, who are now the largest single generation of workers.
A positive workplace that’s designed to cater to its staff’s needs reflects an organization that cares about its people. Given the choice of abandoning a great office that makes you feel good at work for a job that pays a little more but comes with a dreary cubical and lunchroom, most people would choose to stay put.
A design for life
A positive, people-centric workspace can transform a workforce, which is why designers are creating office spaces that focus on wellness, branding, and wellbeing. If your workplace is in need of a revamp, rest assured that there’s a designer out there who can much more for your business than update the color scheme. For a relatively small investment, you can have a dramatic impact on the well-being and productivity of your workforce.