Some organizations have small office environments, others need large open workspaces and some even encourage employees to work remotely from their homes. During the coronavirus pandemic, an increasing number of companies are shifting employees to work-from-home schedules to reduce potential exposure to the virus. Meanwhile, businesses deemed essential are keeping their offices open to field customer calls and distribute essential products. In every office environment, it’s important to follow best practices that promote productivity and well-being.
There are several factors to think about when designing an office, and some have the potential to promote improved employee retention, mental focus and collaboration. Make sure your work environment considers the following:
Lighting: Lighting can have a direct impact on the health and productivity of building occupants. Often, lighting is too dim during the day and too bright during darker evening hours, thus making it more difficult for employees to focus. Harsh, bright lighting can lead to headaches while poor, dim lighting can cause unnecessary eye strain. Be sure to fill your office with the proper overhead lighting, as well as task or accent lighting – and be sure to account for natural daylight from windows.
Indoor air quality: Maintaining good indoor air quality (IAQ) has the potential to improve work quality. There are several ways to accomplish cleaner air. First and foremost, offices must eliminate foul odors such as mold, mildew, body odor and even kitchen odors. These smells can be distracting and unpleasant, and they often worsen indoor air quality. Look for an oxygen fuel cell air freshening system that can be set for 30, 60 or 90 days of consistent odor elimination and features a proprietary malodor counteractant to eradicate odors at the molecular level. This helps to ensure freshness all the time.
For offices with carpet, regularly vacuum and clean floors to remove soils and contaminants that can impact indoor air quality and aggravate sensitivities and allergies. Lastly, bring a few plants into the office, which can remove carbon dioxide and other toxins from the air. Plants not only help to purify air, they can also enhance mood. Learn more about the impact of IAQ here.
Noise: High levels of noise in the workplace are not only distracting but create potential health hazards like loss of hearing if workers are exposed to this noise for extended periods of time. Increase employee focus and reduce safety risks by implementing solutions that reduce noise levels. For instance, consider investing in acoustic ceiling and wall tiles that absorb sound, block noise with partitions and walls and install rugs or carpeting on floors.
Ergonomics: Providing employees with ergonomic office furniture offers numerous benefits. It helps reduce strain that can lead to fatigue, injuries and workers’ compensation claims. Ergonomic workstations also allow employees to be more efficient, as they result in less motion and exertion. Limiting fatigue and pain can also improve employee engagement and reduce absenteeism, presenteeism and turnover.
Visual aesthetics: Make sure to consider the appearance of the office to optimize work output and employee well-being. Certain colors may be better suited for boosting mood, innovation and analytical thinking. For example, painting walls in a tranquil shade of green reminds employees of nature and encourages calmness and creativity. Meanwhile, research shows that blue is ideal for increasing productivity.
Technology: Many professions rely on computers, servers, printers and phone systems to function properly. Additionally, as many people shift to work from home during the coronavirus pandemic, they are relying on video conferencing to conduct their meetings. Make sure employees have access to up-to-date equipment and training to work remotely, and a high-speed Internet connection that adequately supports your operation’s needs.
An Office that Works for Everyone
From lighting to indoor air quality to visual aesthetics, there are many necessary considerations when building the ideal work environment. Whether commuting to a professional workplace each day or working from the comfort of home, it’s important to create a space that will inspire innovation and encourage efficiency. Be sure to incorporate the above elements to create an inviting, productive workplace for your employees.