As someone who values workforce wellbeing, you can imagine my reaction when I was told that a focus on workplace design to increase employee satisfaction was 'superficial'.
Pre-covid, many of us spent more waking hours in our workplaces than at home. So it stands to reason that the environment would have a significant impact on our wellbeing. Now, we’ve spent months working from home offices, with natural light, fresh air, home comforts, personal control over noise levels, music and heating, easy access to outdoor space, as well as more time to spend on exercise, food prep and other wellness practices. Can we contemplate going back to blank walls, rigid seating, artificial lighting, circulated air, and colleagues’ clutter and noise? If workplace design wasn’t on the agenda before, it certainly will be now.
In recent years, a growing body of evidence has emerged supporting that workplace design impacts greatly upon employees' health, wellbeing, and even productivity.
In a 2015 study conducted by Bandware, it was found that increased workplace satisfaction improves employee retention. Another interesting finding was that employees who are highly satisfied with their workplaces are more innovative - regularly offering ideas to improve organisation functioning. Bandware also found that good design sparks energy. 63% of the highly satisfied respondents agreed with the statement, "When I get up in the morning, I feel like going to work." Compared to just 24% of the less satisfied group. Still not convinced? Read the full report here.
According to Forbes, "It's essential that employers take the physical work environment of their employees into consideration. Employees need to feel comfortable and calm in their physical work settings to produce their best work.... Workplace design that considers air quality, lighting, views onto nature and the general layout of the interior can significantly impact on health, satisfaction, wellbeing and staff productivity."
So what does good workplace design look like? Flexibility and comfort are important considerations. Areas to relax, recharge and de-stress can influence health, satisfaction and productivity, along with fitness benefits, sit-stand desks and healthy lunch or snack options.
It's a no-brainer to me that a healthy, happy and engaged workforce is good for business. If you're interested in talking to me about wellness at work, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.