Up to 90% of a person’s time could be spent indoors and a third of their waking hours will be spent at their workplace. This is why physical and mental health can be greatly affected by certain aspects of a workplace. If there are undesirable conditions in the workplace it can result in low work performance, an increase in error rates, absences and injuries. However, if the workplace is well-designed the opposite is seen. When planning an office decoration, it is important to focus on how it affects the well-being of your workers.
Employee productivity is directly linked to employee health and most businesses are aware that productivity relates directly to their bottom line. This is why it is in your best interest to design your office space by taking into account the way it will impact your employees’ health. There are four primary areas that you should consider when designing the office and understand the benefits that they provide.
Social Space and Employee Interaction
The amount and kind of personal space that is provided within the office environment could discourage or encourage social interaction between employees. The furnishings and physical layout of the office will impact your employees’ personal space. When you design the office layout you should consider how employees will control their privacy and how other workplace related stress inducers can be reduced.
You should make office allocations that are mindful of the personal needs of the individual employee particularly their mental health. It is important that you not overcrowd the work areas and create enough break areas for people to relax in.
It is very easy for people to be distracted and some people can find it hard to stay on task. If you have employees that have trouble maintaining attention on the task at hand, it is worth considering enclosed offices instead of open plan offices. You could also consider increasing the height of panels between workstations and introducing other materials which will reduce distractions such as sound masking and sound absorbing materials.
Every person will experience stress to some degree every day at work. A feature that is beneficial in reducing stress and helping people recover from any stressful situation is windows. Being able to view nature through windows, images or a living wall will help to reduce stress. You should consider prioritising offices near windows or with windows particularly for people who have stress-related problems or work in stressful areas of the business.
Seasonal Mood Disorder
Seasonal mood disorder or ‘photobiology’ is when someone suffers mood changes due to limited exposure to sunlight. When you provide adequate light within the workplace, you can increase the mental health benefits for people with this disorder. If your office does not have any windows and there is an absence of natural light, you need to carefully consider the artificial lighting that you use.
The lighting you use should create a comfortable, spacious and light environment for your staff. You should look at linking artificial lighting to natural daylight to create optimum conditions and minimising your energy consumption.
The design of your workplace will have an impact on the people who were there. When designing your office you need to consider the physical impact as well as the mental impact it will have on your employees.