When thinking of offices, one might picture old style cubicles and grey carpet. However, times have certainly changed and workplaces are no longer dreary and drab environments such as those often depicted in films and TV shows. In recent years more attention has been paid to office design. Indeed, it is considered to be an extremely important part of a business. Employers who focus on creating practical and enjoyable working environments often witness huge positive changes in their employees’ productivity as well as how their business operates. It is important to consider what type of people – employees as well as clients – you aim to attract when refreshing a work space. Below is some more detail on how different elements of good office design can benefit a business. Anyone whose job involves sitting at a desk for many hours per day will likely be aware of the detriment a sedentary lifestyle can have on one’s mental and physical health. Unfortunately many offices fail to discourage sedentary behaviour. The negative impact this has on employees’ work ethic and, in turn, on business’ overall performance is undeniable. Some small changes in office design, such as adding areas for bike storage, offering standing desks or installing showers, will encourage employees to move their bodies more and to make healthier choices. This will almost certainly lead to a reduction in sick leave, as well as positively impacting mental health across the board. Research has proven that our surroundings have a huge impact on our mood. With the average person spending more time in their workplace than at home, there has never been a better time for business owners to prioritise creating a comfortable and upbeat work space. A business’ image and design has a significant impact on its employees and clients alike. Be sure to consider the factors below during any redesign process. Paint: The impact of colour on productivity should not be underestimated, and paint is a relatively easy and cheap way to refresh a work space. Choose colours based on their effect; yellows are a great choice for creative and high-energy environments such as graphic design spaces, whilst blues can be calming and would work well in areas devoted to mental health or relaxation. Lighting: Lighting is an important element of decoration and one that employers should seriously consider investing in. Natural light is proven to improve our moods and even helps us to focus and get more done. In a work environment this will mean happier employees and, in turn, lower staff turnover and increased productivity. What’s more, new lighting options could save a business money on electricity bills, as technology has improved dramatically in recent years. Furnishings: Effective office design can be achieved on a smaller scale through creative use of furnishings. It is important that the furniture in a workplace is fit for purpose. For example, sofas might work brilliantly in a creative space which is light on paperwork but would likely be impractical in a legal firm where files are used. Furnishings can also be visually appealing and positively impact an employee’s mood. Plants and artwork, for instance, can be easy ways to vastly improve a space visually. On a similar note to decoration, businesses should consider their brand when designing work spaces. An important thing to remember is that branding is not just for customers. Including elements of your business’ branding through the use of colours and logos can encourage teams to engage more with the company’s mission. These things can act as reminders of the workplace ethos and create an atmosphere of togetherness. Business owners are beginning to favour open-plan offices, which promote a sense of collaboration and inclusivity. Interaction is an invaluable component of any happy workforce, and large open spaces allow for this more readily. Avoiding physical barriers by placing desks side-by-side, for example, will allow workers easier communication. This being said, flexibility is important and quiet one-to-one areas should be provided for personal meetings and privacy when it is required. Clearly office design is a very important and valuable investment. As well as increasing productivity, effective design in workplaces can help to retain current employees as well as attract new ones. After all, a happy employee is one who enjoys their work environment. Business owners may also find that a revamped office will encourage new clients to walk through the door. A professional design and build company can help you to achieve the best workspace possible whilst taking care of the entire project. Daniel Freeman is a consultant for Buildgen, a company specialising in integrated office design and build. Builgen has garnered a reputation for excellence in office design by combining solid design and construction management, a commercially-proven project development process and unique application of a 360º service. They provide the perfect blend of creativity and efficiency.
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