Ergonomic Standing Desks and Chairs

"Best Standing Desk" - Techradar, for 3 Years Running | Free Shipping | 30 Day Free Returns

How Well-Designed Workspaces Make Employees Feel Valued

08 January 2024

Over the last two decades, office design trends have undergone some major transformations. The start of the 21st century marked the introduction of open floor-plans and cubicle farms, while 2015 brought with it foosball and ping-pong tables to the workplace. Even though workplace trends will continue to change, what will remain unchanged is the impact that office designs have on the employees' wellbeing and health.

According to a report published by the Fellowes Workplace Wellness Trend, 87% workers want their employers to offer better workplace benefits, including sit-stands, company fitness benefits, wellness rooms, and healthier lunch options.

Elements of a Well-Designed Workspace:

Considering the importance of well-designed workspaces, the IWBITM (International WELL Building Institute) has come up with the WELL Building Standard, which is the gold standard for creating comfortable and productive indoor environments. The WELL Building standard has been certified by the Green Business Inc., and is the first standard to incorporate human wellbeing and health into operations, construction, and designs of buildings. The Standard considers seven aspects when determining if an indoor space is well-designed: Water, Air, Nourishment, Fitness, Light, Mind, and Comfort. Let us explore each of these faucets further and how you can incorporate them into your workspace.



Water:

Almost 3/4th of our brain is water, which means that adequate water consumption plays a key role in determining our energy levels, mental clarity and focus, alertness and awareness, and sleep quality. Each of these things, in turn, determines how productive we are at work. A few simple steps, such as the ones listed below, can encourage your employees to increase their water consumption:

Providing safe drinking water

Installing water coolers

Educating employees about the benefits and importance of adequate water intake

Conducting water challenges



Air:

The air quality in the workplace can have a significant impact on the employees' wellbeing and, by extension, their productivity. Research conducted by the World Green Building Council revealed that an increase in high-quality air, alongside a reduction in air pollutants, resulted in an 11% increase in work productivity. Below are a few ways to improve the amount and quality of air present in your workspace:

Prohibiting smoking within the workplace

Keeping the workplace clutter-free and establishing green cleaning protocols

Installing air-filtration systems

Maintaining adequate humidity

Adding indoor plants

Keeping the windows open as far as possible



Nourishment:

We are what we eat, and this is particularly true when it comes to the workplace. The food we eat serves as fuel for our body, and the quality of that fuel determines our productivity and energy levels at work. This means that, if you want a productive, focused, and energized workforce, you need to encourage your employees to consume balanced and healthy diets which provide them with the nutrition they need to maximize their work performance. Implementing the below tips will help you promote healthier eating habits in the workplace:

Making fresh vegetables and fruits more readily available

Restricting access to processed foods

Making the employees aware about the importance of nutrition

Providing good and hygienic hand-washing facilities

Promoting healthier foods and discouraging unhealthier choices

Fostering mindful eating by creating dedicated eating spaces



Fitness:

Our bodies are supposed to move, which means that sitting for hours on end is slowly eroding our health and vitality. Greater activity is linked to greater productivity, since exercise and movement increase blood flow to the brain, which allows us to be sharper and more alert. When our brains are working at their optimal capacities, we are also more focused and make better decisions. Below are a few ways to encourage more movement and physical activity at work:

Providing accessible and open stairways

Creating bicycle storage facilities

Providing shower facilities

Offering adjustable workstations such as the AlcoveRiser Standing Desk Converters

Providing adequate workout spaces



Light:

According to a Department of Design and Environmental Analysis (Cornell) study, workers who had a window within 10 feet of their seats reported an 84% reduction in headaches, eye strain, and blurred vision. Below are a few ways to make your office space more light-friendly:

Adding skylights

Maximizing the use of natural light

Controlling glare

Moving any big or bulky furniture equipment that might be blocking sunlight

Replacing any flickering lights

Layering multiple kinds of lighting, such as task and ambient lighting



Mind:

As per the Global Impact of Bibliophile Design in the Workplace study, workplaces containing natural features were associated with a 15% increase in the employees' overall wellbeing. Besides, the participants expressed a 15% improvement in creativity and a 6% boost in productivity. Offices that factor-in the mental wellbeing by including elements like breakout rooms and social areas are likely to benefit from greater employee concentration, creativity, and collaboration. Here are a few ways to optimize your workers' mental and emotional health:

Creating collaborative spaces

Creating areas where employees can de-stress and relax

Designing outdoor spaces (such as staff gardens or rooftop patios)



Comfort:

Considering that employees spend approximately a third of their days at the office, the workspace should provide adequate comfort. The right ergonomics can go a long way in reducing muscle fatigue and MSDs (Musculoskeletal Disorders), and increasing productivity. If you want to minimize distractions from the workplace and increase its comfort factor, the below tips will help:

Creating ergonomic work areas that allow employees to alternate between sitting and standing positions

Allowing employees to work from multiple working areas throughout the day

Establishing quiet zones and limiting noise from building systems

Creating informal meeting spaces, hot-desk policies, breakout areas, and creative areas for brainstorming



How Well-Designed Workspaces Make Employees Feel Valued:

Improved Well-Being:

While offering a fair salary and a two-week paid vacation is essential, it is nowhere near sufficient to keep your employees fulfilled. A worker needs to feel that their employer cares about their physical and mental health. This means that all of the factors that we just discussed, ranging from providing healthier foods to encouraging movements, can make an employee feel valued.

Providing brief exercise breaks or offering stand/sit desks can go a long way in increasing an employee's energy and motivation. Of course, the more energized and productive your employee is, the harder they are likely to work for you, and the higher your company's profits and revenues will be – a win-win situation. On the other hand, not prioritizing your workers' wellbeing will lead to lower productivity, higher absenteeism, and increasing healthcare costs for your organization. This means that not spending money to enhance your employees' wellbeing is likely to actually prove costlier to you in the long-run.

Collaboration and Connection:

The lockdowns and other social restrictions that accompanied the COVID-19 pandemic emphasized –perhaps more emphatically than ever before –the importance of social connections. This is why, the post-COVID workspace designs are focusing on open, collaborative spaces. These spaces encourage managers to mix with the employees, fostering innovation and synthesis.

However, not every office can commit the time or money to implement such drastic measures. Thankfully, even a few simple measures can go a long way in increasing sociability within the workplace. For instance, if the desks are partitioned by removable walls, simply getting rid of those walls will make employees feel more connected to their fellow workers. You can also make changes to the desk locations with regards to employee organization (departments or team structure, for instance). Is the manager easily available and accessible to employees? Even the good-old open-door policy can work wonders to improve the dynamics of the worker-manager relationship and make the former feel more valued.

Relaxation and Quiet:

As we discussed earlier, the ideal workplace offers the perfect balance between collaboration and privacy. While inclusivity and connections are important, the employees should also have dedicated spaces for private meetings and independent thinking.

In addition, these private spaces can also serve as relaxation spots for employees. A short break that allows the employee to ease up a bit can have a major positive impact on productivity and prevent burnouts. The new LA Headquarters, for instance, has a number of versatile areas serving dual purposes: the serenity room, for example, is not only a place for quiet and peace, but also a private space for nursing mothers. Other than that, the office also has a multipurpose room that can either be used for large meetings or for group yoga sessions.

Final Word:

Companies with an eye on the future understand that the workforce in the coming years will be dominated by the Gen-Z group. This age group knows nothing but innovative working spaces, with the Silicon Valley offices serving as the yardstick. Getting these employees onboard will require more than attractive salaries and fringe benefits: a workplace that offers collaboration, flexibility, mental and physical relaxation, and promotes overall wellbeing.

So, a well-designed workspace is not just important for your current crop of employees, but will also play a key role in determining the future success of your company.