When it comes to creating an atmosphere that is conducive to productivity and employee well-being, office interior design and office space planning can play a crucial role. A well-designed office can not only enhance productivity but can also improve the overall health and well-being of employees. Set against a backdrop of "silent quitting" and a "war for talent", progressive employers in Singapore are paying close attention to employee wellbeing within their HRM strategy mix. If you’re looking to do the same, here are six tips that will help promote well-being in your workplace with the help of good office interior design and office space planning.
One of the most important things you can do for employee well-being is to invest in ergonomic furniture such as 'sit-stand' desks which enable people to regularly change position and move between sitting and standing. Height-adjustable sit-stand desks are an effective intervention for well-being at work.
Behavioural research carried out at University College London (UCL) in 2018 suggests that sit-stand desks make employees feel happier and can sharpen traits such as decision-making and problem-solving. According to Professor Walsh of UCL workers using sit-stand desks were "twice as competent in their decision-making, and their problem skills improved by 64%. They also completed tasks measuring concentration and vigilance 10% faster and made 45% fewer mistakes. Their creativity also improved by 28%.
Natural light is an excellent way to promote well-being in the workplace. Not only does it help regulate the body’s circadian rhythms, but it can also boost serotonin levels and reduce stress. Office space planning in Singapore should seek to prioritise employees’ access to natural daylight wherever possible.
Moreover, the presence of natural light in an office can save energy and lower utility costs. Therefore, integrating natural light into office design not only promotes well-being and productivity but is also a sustainable choice.
Biophilic design is a design approach that seeks to connect humans with nature. Incorporating elements of nature in your office design can help reduce stress and improve well-being. This can include simple things like plants which improve air quality and artwork inspired by nature or more elaborate designs like living moss walls. It may also encompass natural analogues, which are patterns and design styles that imitate nature such as honeycomb patterns and the incorporation of natural elements like wood. Research studies conducted by Exeter University concluded that employees were 15% more productive when they had exposure to workplace planting in comparison to spaces devoid of biophilic elements and colour which increases anxiety and stress levels.
Different work tasks require different environments. Activity Based Working (ABW) is an innovative approach to office space planning that prioritizes flexibility and adaptability. Instead of assigning each employee a designated workstation, ABW provides a variety of different spaces optimized for specific tasks, whether that be focused individual work, collaborative teamwork, or relaxation and recovery. Office space planning is integral to the successful implementation of ABW. It involves strategically organizing the physical layout of the office to optimize usage and promote productivity. Furthermore, good office space planning can significantly enhance employee well-being by promoting a sense of autonomy, diversity, and adaptability in the workspace.
As has already been noted sitting for long periods of time can have a detrimental effect on health and wellbeing. Integrating elements that encourage movement in the office's interior design is an investment in employee health and productivity. A design layout that includes centrally located common areas, remote printers, or scattered water points can subtly prompt employees to stand and move during the day. Moreover, breakout areas with spaces for quick games, or even a small gym within the office can encourage exercise and stress relief. For the employer, this leads to healthier employees with fewer health-related absences and sparks creativity and collaboration. When employees move about, they interact more with their colleagues, often leading to spontaneous idea-sharing and team bonding: team bonding is a vital component of workplace well-being. It fosters open communication, nurtures a sense of belonging, and reduces stress by creating a more relaxed and enjoyable work atmosphere. Strong bonds among team members can also lead to increased collaboration and creativity, as employees feel more comfortable sharing ideas and taking risks. Additionally, team bonding activities can boost morale and job satisfaction, which can in turn improve productivity and employee retention.
Noise distractions in the office can significantly impact productivity and employee well-being. Constant noise interruptions can cause stress, decrease concentration, and lower work efficiency. Effective office interior design can manage noise distractions by incorporating sound-absorbing materials such as acoustic panels, carpets, and ceiling tiles to minimize sound reflection. Additionally, strategic space planning can segregate high-noise areas from quiet zones, creating a balanced environment that supports productive work without compromise. This is the foundation of ABW.
Creating a workplace that promotes employee well-being is essential to maintaining a happy and productive workforce as well as combatting staff attrition. By following the tips outlined above, you can create a workspace that supports employee health and well-being and enhances productivity and creativity. Remember to consult with your employees when designing your new office space, as they can provide valuable insight into what works best for them. By investing time and effort into good office interior design and office space planning, you can help promote workplace well-being and achieve better business results.