Do you work in an office space and feel a bit stressed? If so, you’re not alone; this is a common problem in the workplace. Nearly everyone feels pressured to meet deadlines, stressed from working with difficult employees/clients and more. Office stress is a very real issue, one that can be costly for any business.
Office stress can make it difficult to retain employees, which leads to higher turnover rates. Stress at work can also cause medical issues, increase costs and lead to loss of productivity, too.
Many businesses are looking at ways to improve the office environment. Doing so not only reduces stress but can help everyone in the office feel more positive and upbeat, which can lead to increased creativity and productivity.
Let’s take a look at several ways to improve your office environment.
1). Use Colour
Colour isn’t just a style choice; it sets the stage for your office environment, which includes how employees feel and work. Scientific research has proven this. In fact, studies have found that bland colours such as grey, white and beige can lead people to feel sad and depressed. Not only that, by the choice of colours can even impact employees’ productivity.
When it comes to increasing productivity, light blue has been found to increase focus and productivity. Light blue also works to soothe the mind, encourage clear thinking and reduce mental strain.
A shade of light blue can be used as the main wall colour in the office, and then it’s easy to incorporate others colours to use as accents to add interest and keep the room from becoming too bland. For instance, you could consider adding orange accents to help keep emotions more balanced.
Depending on the type of work your employees perform, you can also use these colours to increase productivity:
- Yellow: boosts mood and creativity
- Red: can be physically stimulating
- Green: makes the environment feel calm and balanced
Keep in mind that softer, paler colours tend to relax, while bright colours stimulate.
2). Add Touches of Nature to the Office
Whether we own up to it or not, most of us have an innate need to be connected to nature. Unfortunately, most office spaces don’t incorporate enough plants to fill this need. But adding plants to your work environment can have some tremendous benefits, one of which is increased productivity.
Plants can help to reduce stress and tension; in fact, just one plant can improve the workspace. It can work to life spirits and promote wellbeing, too. One or more plants can also lead to increased productivity and employees who feel happier and better.
Research has shown that adding one plant per square meter works to improve memory, decrease absentee rates, and even make people healthier. Not only that, but plants may also work to reduce sick building syndrome, which is a common problem in some types of office buildings.
3). Bring in the Light
Studies have shown that we need, even crave, daylight. The sun is a great motivator for most of us, determining the course of our day, from when we get up, to when we go to bed.
Light is a great determiner of employee health and mood, too. For instance, many people suffer from a condition called SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder), which causes depression and moodiness during the winter months, when there are fewer hours of daylight.
Bringing natural light into your office is a great way to increase both mood and productivity. People who are exposed to more natural light are healthier and happier as a result. While increasing the amount of natural light is the best solution, it’s not always possible, depending on where your office is located, or situated.
In that case, you can add lamps that mimic natural light. These also work to increase energy, mood and productivity. Another option is to use smart LED lighting wherever possible. This type of lighting can give you more control over the level of light in specific spaces.
In fact, adding smart lighting to employees’ desks and workstations could give them more control over the amount of light they receive. Having a little more control of their environment has also been shown to improve mood and productivity of employees.
4). Create Quiet Zones or Rooms
Most traditional offices are set up with the open-plan workspace. Open office layouts do work to promote collaboration among employees; however, they can also create distractions for many who are sensitive to sound. Too much noise can also create stress, which reduces productivity.
To help employees find some relief from all the noise and distraction, consider creating a quiet room where they can rest and relax. Look for unused rooms or even spaces (in quiet areas) that can be turned into quiet rooms or areas.
The room should be clean and have plenty of electric outlets for anyone who may want to relax with some music, need to recharge their phone, and more. Furniture and accents should be kept comfortable and low-key. Again, choosing a more relaxing colour such as shades of blue or green can have a soothing effect.
You might also consider the addition of a library of relaxing music and meditations, along with books and other items that promote relaxation.
One more point—the quiet area doesn’t have to be indoors; it can also be an outdoor space that’s quiet and relaxing. Being outside when the weather’s beautiful can be very uplifting.
5). Use Ergonomic Workspace Design
Ensuring workspaces are comfortable and ergonomic have been shown to improve productivity while reducing employee injuries. Using ergonomic workspace design promotes good posture, reduces repetitive stress injuries, and improves comfort.
When it comes to improve workspace ergonomics, here are some steps you can take:
- Climate control: this isn’t usually thought of as an ergonomic issue, but office temperature can have a huge impact on how well employees work. If the office is too warm, it can make people feel sleepy and not have energy needed to get the job done. On the other hand, if the workspace is too cold, it can make people feel uncomfortable and distracted. Allowing employees to determine the temperature in the area, when feasible, can increase productivity. You may allow groups of employees in specific rooms or areas determine the right temperature to keep them comfortable.
- Ergonomic chairs: sitting in the wrong type of chair all day can cause back and leg problems. Opt for chairs that have lumbar support and adjustable height that can help employees stay comfortable. Also choose chairs with adjustable arm rests. The more adjustable the chairs, the easier it is to make them fit the employee.
- Choose the right desk: there are so many options available when it comes to desks. A desk should allow the employee to sit comfortably, with their feet flat on the floor. Knees should be bent at about 90 degrees, and computer monitors should be set just below eye level.
These are some of the cost-effective ways to help improve your employees’ productivity. Not only will your employees be grateful for the improved workspace, but they’ll also be happier and more productive when at work.