3 Things To Consider During Your Office Overhaul: Creating A Healthier, Happier Work Environment

It is a fact that disengaged, unproductive and unhealthy employees cost companies lots of money. Some estimates show that disengaged employees cost the UK economy £340 billion every year from lost training and recruitment costs, the cost of covering absences, plus lower levels of productivity, creativity and innovation during the workday.

Are you hoping to improve the working conditions for your employees? It’s unlikely that you can just uproot your company and search for new premises, so it may be time to consider an office overhaul. It’s tempting to focus solely on the practical aspects of office design like how many desks you’ll need to buy, what colour the chairs should be, how to plan the layout etc. Below, we have included three other points for you to consider. Include them into your renovation plants to create a healthier and happier workplace for your employees to enjoy.

1.  Can you enhance the natural light in your building?

There’s a lot of research explaining why human beings need regular exposure to natural light.  In a nutshell, natural light regulates hormones that control our energy levels, our mood and our wake-sleep rhythms—all crucial to our general well-being. Spending hours indoors can affect our mental and physical health. An employee that isn’t sleeping soundly at night won’t perform well at work either. Also, dimly lit rooms and harsh artificial lights cause eye strain and headaches, neither good for productivity.

So how do you improve natural light in your office? Of course, it is not practical to move premises or make changes to your building. Instead, try:

  • Giving the office walls a fresh lick of bright, white paint. The colour white reflects and scatters all visible wavelengths of light, bouncing naturally occurring sunrays around the space.
  • Installing mirrors, mirrored surfaces and metallic objects around the office. These will also reflect light around the space.
  • Remove partitions and desk dividers, or swap them in favour of transparent and translucent options.

2.  Can you implement biophilic design?

Biophilic design is a modern concept in architecture and building, which sees the reintroduction of nature into a space. The term ‘biophilia’ refers to the human need to experience and love nature.

It’s thought that biophilic design brings numerous advantages to the workplace. Studies show that adding biophilic elements into interiors can reduce stress, prevent fatigue, increase productivity, increase performance and enhance our overall well-being.

Here are a couple of simple ways to bring biophilic design to your office space:

  • Seek to increase and harness the space’s natural light (see above)
  • Look to bring the outside in with “living walls”
  • Add potted plants to desks and communal areas
  • Use natural materials and textures in furniture and furnishings
  • Add a small water fountain or water feature to communal spaces
  • Improve the air quality by installing an air purifier

3.  Can you encourage workers to stand?

Research shows that sitting down for long periods is terrible for our physical and mental health. Some experts call sitting the ‘new smoking’. A sedentary lifestyle increases the risk of chronic health problems like diabetes and heart disease, plus it is linked to both depression and anxiety. Encourage your employees to improve their health and combat inactivity by providing ‘sit-stand desks‘.

Worth knowing: in one study, scientists found call centre employees with standing desks were 45% more productive daily.

Pictured: The Upliner 2.0 desk from Kaiser+Kraft.

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