Few assets are as valuable to an employer as high employee productivity. Your HR department may try to support it, your managers may attempt to inspire it, but none of it matters if your office environment is actively discouraging it.
Whether you’re barraging them with beige, flooding them with fluorescent lighting, or have the cubicle walls awash with grey, you could be staring down a costly loss of productivity. But with little visual stimulation and a lot more movement, you can help turn the tides.
Want to increase your office output? Try transforming your place into a wellness-minded workspace! Here are some sensory focus points to get you started.
5 Ways to Find & Design Wellness Minded Workspace
1# Get Things Moving
If you do nothing else, try encouraging movement during work hours. Some have said, “sitting is the new smoking,” and more and more chairs are starting to look like the new coffin. However, according to government research, there are tons of psychosocial benefits associated with workplace exercise.
But even just a little extra attention paid to posture or a quick walking meeting can refocus our brains and encourage creativity.
Experts recommend a 3:1 sitting to standing ratio throughout the day. Really, so long as you’re up more than you’re stationary, that’s a good starting point. The ultimate goal would be to sit no more than about two hours of your eight-hour workday.
When searching for wellness-oriented office space, look for design features that are made for movement. This might include stairs or space for standing desks. You could also incentivize employees to prioritize their physical activity by implementing daily department-wide stretch sessions, organizing a company walk-to-lunch-day once a week, or having regular standing meetings.
2# Lessons in Lighting
Our eyes perform best under natural light. The more access to daylight we have, the better it is for our overall well being. That’s why it’s critical to select a workspace with plenty of windows. Floor to ceiling is preferable, and the more desks you can put near or under them the better.
Imagine how competitive your company would be if every employee had an office with a view – and for good reason. Window offices with daylight exposure reduce stress and reinforce our circadian rhythm. This is reflected in studies that show how natural light reliably increases energy and improves sleep.
Unable to make renovations in your space? In lieu of more windows, you can adjust the lighting temperature in your office. You can vary it to encourage moods in different parts of the office, or change it at specific times of day. For example, in your IT department, you might go for cooler tones to promote analytical thinking. The cafeteria or break room might call for a warmer bulb that’s better for socializing.
3# Prioritize Collaboration and Concentration
There are some mixed reviews about open concept office spaces. But polls often site workspace variety as one of the top features employees look for in a work environment.
Some points of the day will require tons of collaboration. Others will demand a focused concentration that can’t withstand the interruptions that are often encouraged by cubicles.
At the very least, ensure your office includes:
- Personal workspaces
- Collaborative meeting spaces
- Places to relax
- Quiet “Do not disturb” areas
4# Color, Color Everywhere
We respond to visual cues like color on an emotional level. There’s no surprise that it also impacts our productivity, too.
While most companies may be inclined to paint the town (or at least their office interiors) with the colors of their branding, a more strategic approach is to evaluate each hue individually and determine what works best where.
If you’re trying to go for a warm, inviting approach, earth and spice tones work well. Many tech companies use neutrals to convey a contemporary tone while metallic suggests elegance. Yellows are usually considered cheery but can twinge on anxiety if too bold or overused. Other warm shades like red and orange give off an energetic air. On the cool end of the color wheel, blues and purples are both calming and assured.
By and large, many employers prefer balanced shades of green, which is said to enhance the creativity in the office.
5# Address the Air
How can you be expected to work if you can’t breathe? The worse your ventilation system and more pollutants in the air from things like cheap furnishings, old carpet, or chemicals in paint, the worse your employees are likely to perform.
Potted plants like sansevieria and peace lily can filter out some airborne pollutants and reduce stress at the same time.
You might also consider using essential oils as part of an aromatherapy practice. Citrus is a universally positive smell. When used in a diffuser, it doesn’t typically trigger allergies – unlike candles and chemical air fresheners.
Whichever way you choose to address it, make sure to give your employees a breath of fresh air during the workday.
In the end, a wellness-minded workspace prioritizes your company’s greatest asset its people. Whether you make incremental changes in your current space or decide to look for a new office building entirely, engage the senses to increase your employees’ productivity – and overall job satisfaction!
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Author Bio: Grant Pruitt, SIOR, Co-Founder, President, and Managing Director for whiteboxrealestate, launched the tenant-focused real estate advisory, investment sales, and development firm to specialize in offering a custom tailored approach to real estate clients.