Redesigning the Workplace Through Sustainable Design
By Jennifer Easterly
You may be surprised to find how much your work environment can affect your productivity. New evidence shows that even something as seemingly insignificant as room temperature can affect productivity by as much drop by as much as 4% per degree. Beyond having good leadership and training in place, having a comfortable and sustainably designed office not only improves employee health, but can also boost job satisfaction, teamwork, morale, and overall performance. Here are a few ways to improve productivity with sustainable office design.
Create a space that encourages sociability
Having a break room or recreational area that encourages conversation is key to ensuring that employees can have a place to release stress and bond with their fellow workers. Rather than having separate tables and chairs that people can use for mealtimes, create a comfy sitting area where a group can chat over organic and caffeine-free coffee or lunch. For relaxing energy, try soft calming music, a diffuser, or candles. It’s also a good idea to provide a fun way to relieve stress, such as doing the weekly crossword together or setting out a jigsaw puzzle to solve throughout the days.
Rethink your lighting
Lighting can play a big part in office productivity. Some experts claim that the ability to perform better under certain lighting conditions is imprinted in everyone’s DNA, and several studies have found that exposure to natural sunlight can help workers perform better. To maximize natural light, try to ensure that there are common areas next to light-facing windows that everyone can enjoy, keep the blinds open throughout the day, or even invest in some happy lights if your office doesn’t get a lot of sunlight in the winter months. You can also consider workstations on balconies and terraces if that’s a possibility during warmer months.
Being in nature can improve health and well-being in a variety of ways, as research shows that exposure to natural elements can lower blood pressure, reduce stress, and relieve depression and anxiety. Though office workers spend most of their time indoors, they can benefit from the healing properties of nature by incorporating house plants, starting an office garden, and furniture and decor made of natural materials in the workplace. Tables and chairs made of recycled wood, strategically placed plants, water features, and decorative elements such as minerals and stones can all bring the beauty of nature into the office and even help purify the air.
Having a sustainably designed office can boost productivity and contribute to the overall well-being and happiness of employees. Try these design tips to improve office efficiency, and see how your business and company culture thrives after making these changes.