A healthy work environment breeds numerous positive flow-on effects for your employees. This is important because it helps to create a healthy team. Certainly, a healthy team is a happy team, and a happy team is a productive team.
As an operations manager or business owner, there are several things you can do to develop a healthy interior design that boosts productivity and improves staff morale. That’s precisely what this article aims to teach you.
By the time you are done reading this article, you should have a clearer picture of what makes up healthy interiors and what you can do to ensure your workspace follows suit.
Pleasant working temperature
Office temperature is one of the major factors that determine the overall comfort and productivity in the workplace. There has been a huge debate on what the optimum temperature is. Nonetheless, the best person to answer this question is the employee.
You should reach out to your employees to find out how temperature affects their productivity in the workplace. You will find out that one thing is always clear: unfavorable temperatures in the workplace, whether too cold or too hot, significantly hinder workflow.
The ideal office temperature
For many years, it was taken that cooler temperatures encouraged and increased productivity. In fact, a good number of scientific research supported this claim.
A study by Helsinki University of Technology in partnership with Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory showed that performance increases with temperature up to 69.8 to 71.6 degrees Fahrenheit. Also, the highest productivity is achieved at a temperature of about 71.6 degrees Fahrenheit.
Another study, carried out after the Helsinki study, shows that the optimal temperature for workplace productivity is around 77 degrees Fahrenheit.
Warmer works best
According to a month-long study by researchers at Cornell University, a temperature of around 77 degrees Fahrenheit caused workers to type 100% of the time with an error rate of 10%. But when the temperature was reduced to around 68 degrees Fahrenheit, the workers were only able to type 54% of the time with a 25% error rate.
Though these results might seem shocking, if you think about it critically, they are by no means far-fetched. Back in 2012, FastCompany published an article on office temperatures that supported the reasoning that a warmer office environment results in efficiency.
The article claimed that when your body’s temperature drops, your body expends some energy to keep you warm, thus lowering the amount of energy available for insight, concentration, and inspiration.
Any person who has worked in a cold office climate will admit that a warmer office creates an environment that promotes happy, efficient workers. As pointed out by the research by Cornell University researchers, a cold employee is not only uncomfortable but also costly due to reduced performance.
In addition to promoting optimal employee performance, a warm office environment also aids to encourage warm interpersonal connections amongst employees.
If you’re looking to create a work environment that makes employees healthy, productive, interconnected, and comfortable, you’ve now gotten your answer. Walk over to the thermostat, set the temperature at 71.6 to 77 degrees Fahrenheit and wait for the magic to happen.
A significant number of scientific studies have proven that it’s beneficial to have plants in the office.
Scientists argue that humans possess an innate desire to unite with nature. But very few office spaces tend to be connected to the natural environment. Studies show that incorporating a bit of greenery by having indoor plants can result in significant positive benefits for workers and their organizations.
The same applies for home or remote workers as well.
Highlighted below are a few benefits of investing in a few plants for your office space:
Plants can boost creativity
According to the 2015 Human Spaces report, employees whose offices had natural elements were found to be 15% more creative than those whose offices lacked natural elements.
Also, according to the attention restoration theory, looking at nature (even images of it) can shift the processing mode of the brain, thus making employees concentrate better and feel more relaxed.
Plants clean the air
Humans breathe in oxygen and release carbon dioxide. Plants, on the other hand, take in this waste carbon dioxide and combine it with light and water in a process called photosynthesis to produce energy.
NASA scientists also discovered that plants were essential at eliminating chemicals such as formaldehyde, trichloroethylene, and benzene from the air, thereby making it fit for humans to breathe.
Recent research by Dr. Fraser Torpy also discovered that indoor plants could help to lower carbon dioxide levels by around 10% in air-conditioned offices and around 25% % in offices without air conditioning.
Plants aid to reduce sickness and absence rates
The 2015 Human Spaces report studied 7,600 employees in 16 countries and discovered that almost 58% (two-thirds) of employees lacked live plants in their offices. Those whose workspaces had natural element exhibited a 6% higher productivity score and a 15% higher well-being score than those whose offices lacked such elements.
Although various experts argue that incorporating plants in the workplace can aid to lower the risk of sick building syndrome, evidence to support these claims is scarce.
However, in the 1990s, a study by the Agricultural University of Norway discovered that incorporating plants in the office was associated with a 25% drop in symptoms of sickness, including concentration problems, fatigue, irritation of the eyes and nose, and dry skin.
Plants help to increase productivity
According to researchers at the University of Exeter, employee productivity rises by 15% when you include houseplants in an office environment that previously had none. Researcher Dr. Chris Knight argues that adding just a single plant per square meter increased memory retention and aided workers to score better marks on other basic tests.
He adds that employees who work in such environments work better and are happier.
Plants help to reduce stress
A study conducted by the new University of Technology, Sydney showed that the introduction of plants in the workplace resulted in the reduction of stress among employees. Results included a 58% reduction in dejection or depression, a 37% reduction in reported anxiety and tension, a 38% fall in fatigue, and a 44% drop in hostility and anger.
Despite the study’s small sample size, researchers concluded that just a single plant per workspace could significantly lift staff’s spirits, thus promoting performance and wellbeing.
Color psychology experts argue that green bears a calming and relaxing effect; therefore, using this shade for interior design could have the same effect as incorporating plants.
Plants make the office more attractive to job applicants
Research shows that the workplace has a huge bearing on a person’s decision to join a given company. And since plants contribute significantly to improving workplace design, it means that including plants in the workplace makes it appeal more to job applicants.
Plants aid to reduce noise levels
Instead of just insulating against noise pollution, plants are able to absorb sounds, meaning they aid to lower the effects of background office noise. Researchers at London South Bank University showed that placing large plant pots in various locations in the corners and edges of a room is beneficial.
Ergonomic office furniture is one of the primary elements of a healthy interior. Since most employees spend at least eight hours at the office, it’s only fair that they are provided with the utmost comfort during this time.
Providing ergonomic office desks and chairs is a great start; however, you need to consider other essential pieces of furniture, including breakroom couches.
Some of the best couches include:
BenchMade Modern Skinny Fat Condo Sofa
Article Ceni Sofa
IKEA Kivik Sofa
Our worthy products deserve mention in this category. Our ergonomic office chair options include the ErgoChair 2 and AvoChair. They are designed to keep you comfortable during those long hours at the office. They incorporate lumbar support among other features to help prevent spinal problems, back pain, fatigue, and more.
Our height-adjustable desks, such as the SmartDesk 2 - Business Edition, SmartDesk 2 - Home Edition, and SmartDesk 3 are also geared to improve employee productivity and wellbeing, by allowing to switch between sitting and standing positions. In addition, they are spacious, sturdy, and built to last.
Despite being underrated, airflow in the office is one of the most crucial aspects of healthy interiors. Effective ventilation enables air to efficiently circulate the office. Fresh air is calming and re-energizing, but poor ventilation can cause numerous problems.
For instance, indoor air pollution is a major cause of illness, making many employees to miss work. Be sure to include an effective ventilation system that efficiently controls the flow of in your office space.
Natural lighting is another essential part of healthy interiors. It can make a worker feel energized and happy, or anxious and moody depending on how it’s applied. The more natural light the workspace receives the better.
A window that overlooks trees or green space is known to improve focus. Also, the intensity of light determines the intensity of the workers’ emotions (both positive and negative). Poor lighting usually causes feelings of fatigue and sadness, while too much artificial lighting causes anxiety and nervousness.
A new study by Professor Alan Hedge from Cornell University showed that employees in daylight workspaces reported an 84% decrease in symptoms of headaches, blurred vision symptoms, and eyestrain, which can contribute to less productivity.
The study concluded that optimizing the amount of natural light in the workspace significantly promotes health and wellness, thus leading to improved productivity.
As more and more companies continue to empower their employees to become healthier and work better, it is evident that placing them in offices with optimal natural lighting should be one of the primary concerns.
Benefits of natural lighting
While conducting a study, researchers at Northwestern University compared two sets of employees. The first set was placed in an office space without windows, while the other set was placed in an office space with natural views.
The employees who were placed in the office with windows reported better sleep quality. The employees without windows, on the other hand, reported issues with sleep efficiency, sleep quality, daytime dysfunction, and sleep disturbances.
Reduced energy costs
With more light provided by nature, it means your office will use less artificial light, which translates to fewer energy costs.
Takes a Lockheed Martin’s office in Sunnyvale for example. The company managed to save about $300,000 to $400, 000 by revamping the workspace to allow in more natural light.
Although this is an extreme case, your company can still save some money by incorporating more natural light.
According to a 2003 study conducted by the California Energy Commission, employees who were exposed to natural light exhibited improved short-term memory and better concentration.
As discussed earlier, one Lockheed Martin office reported a 15% increase in production after it decided to let in more natural light. The company believes that this development helped it to acquire a 1.5 billion-dollar contract.
A post office in Reno, Nevada also reported increased productivity as well as a profit increase of about $400,000 to $500,000 after increasing natural light in its building.
Daylighting also promotes good eye health. For starters, artificial lighting may not provide a sufficient amount of lighting as is the case with daylighting. Also, fluorescent lights are known to cause more eyestrain.
Furthermore, a landscape view offers short-and long-range views that aid the eye to constantly refocus.
For some people, insufficient natural light during winter can result in Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD). SAD is caused by the interruption of circadian rhythms. For some workers, natural light is hard to come by which is extremely unfortunate.
Before implementing any changes as far as healthy interiors are concerned, it’s important to solicit your staff’s feedback. There is never a one-size-fits-all solution because each employee has his own unique preferences.
Make sure you inform your staff about your plans and listen to what they have to say. You don’t want to disrupt their productivity and wellbeing. Instead, incorporate a healthy interior design that’s in line with most employees’ needs, wants, and preferences and aids to improve their productivity and well-being.
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