What effect does office space have on employees’ wellbeing?
The typical worker will spend a third of their life at work which equates to an average of 90,000 hours over the course of a lifetime. Therefore, a comfortable and nurturing workplace that stimulates productivity and creativity is crucial to keep employee’s motivated and happy.
A happy worker translates to a productive worker. Even the most dedicated and passionate entrepreneur or employee is at risk of burnout if their office space doesn’t provide an environment that supports their needs. It’s not just about providing the right equipment and free tea and coffee, but ergonomics, interiors and wellness factors should also be considered. As well as location, convenience and community.
Business owners and managers have the responsibility of ensuring that their employees are happy and comfortable in their work environment as well as having the opportunity to have a balanced work and home life.
It’s important to understand the effect does office space have on employees’ well-being. At Agora, we put our business clients and their needs first, that’s why we provide some insights and tips on some of the elements you can include in your office or coworking space to help your employee’s wellbeing.
A green workplace is a creative workplace
When the pandemic started in the UK, we quickly shifted from office-based to home-based to protect ourselves and those around us. Now, as we ease back into the office, whether that’s full-time, part-time or making use of coworking spaces – our top tip is to add some greenery to your environment.
Plants absorb toxins from the atmosphere, which directly impacts a person’s physical and mental health. Research from Norway, the Fjeld et al study, suggested that the participants who worked in an environment with plants suffered fewer health symptoms compared to those without, including fatigue, headaches, sore throat and eye irritation.
This survey, along with subsequent research, also indicated that even a view of any greenery also reduces psychological stress and the feeling of work pressure which, in turn, leads to better concentration and increased creativity.
The use of natural light to reduce fatigue
Vitamin D is an essential nutrient for our bodies. Not only is it important for the growth and development of your bones and teeth, but it can also help fight disease and help reduce signs of depression. The best source of vitamin D is the sun which is often missing from office environments.
This is where coworking spaces and flexible working schedules can help. At Agora, we deliberately designed our coworking spaces and offices to maximise the use of natural light. Our break-out area, particularly at Oculis House, is strategically positioned beneath a skylight so that space floods with sunlight. Natural light in the office space also reduces the risk of eye strain, compared to the fluorescent lighting traditionally seen on the ceiling of offices.
It’s also worth being aware of where you place your computer screens and desks. If a window is directly in front or behind you, then it can produce extra glare, which isn’t good for your eyes. It’s much better to sit parallel to windows. At Agora, as we build our offices in each area, we consider what our clients want, so we can adjust and add natural daylight where we can.
Ergonomic workstations boost wellbeing
Any workspace should comply with ergonomic guidelines to support employees wellbeing and health. Continuous poor posture in the workplace can trigger musculoskeletal disorders and have a detrimental impact on mental health and wellbeing.
Agora provides spaces that enable ergonomic workstations and seating to reduce strain on the body. Our coworking spaces, meeting rooms and booths have a range of seating so everyone can be comfortable.
In addition to this, our private offices that are available to rent provide adequate spaces for your employees, including space for standing or adjustable desks. These can provide benefits such as the capability to lower blood pressure and the risk of weight gain.
We’re flexible to suit you so you can create an environment that supports the well-being of your employees.
Movement to motivate
Even with excellent ergonomics in place, sitting in one position for a prolonged period is not ideal for the body. The World Health Organisation states that our sedentary lifestyles constitute a significant risk for diseases such as cancer, heart disease, diabetes and stroke. Furthermore, dealing with stiff necks, aching lower backs, and sore wrists impacts mental wellbeing as much as the physical.
An office space that invites workers to add movement into their day can lower the risk. This can be as simple as getting up from your desk regularly to walk to the bathroom or kitchen and take the stairs rather than the lifts.
Coworking spaces are great to help provide environments that allow employees to work, collaborate and move around to different areas. Interior design and architects can help create spaces that really allow for productivity and wellbeing at the same time.
Foster creativity with colour
Certain colours can affect the brain in different ways. It has been suggested that blue shades are considered to stimulate the mind whilst yellow tones inspire creativity and innovative thinking. In contrast, orange tints are considered to prompt the flow of conversation. However. if a particular colour or shade is too intense, it can have an adverse effect.
With the help of expert interior designers who specialise in commercial workspaces, you can balance the colours within your office in a way that enhances productivity and creative thinking without overstimulating.
We’re proud to say that we work closely with our architect partner at Agora3 to ensure that all our workspaces are designed thoughtfully to enhance your work environment.
Physical health, rest & relaxation
Getting up from your desk regularly is important for wellbeing, but equally, it’s just as key to make time to participate in regular exercise too. Coworking spaces try to bridge the gap between working and providing the flexibility and time to concentrate on employees’ health and wellbeing.
Whilst the office environment is important, so is the social aspect of work, especially after lockdown. We are social creatures that rely on human interaction to be able to properly function at our best.
For the creative-minded or forward-thinking workers, it can help to bounce ideas around with others to enable a more productive workspace. For others, speaking to colleagues and other businesses can help drive new ideas and create efficiency.
We’ve also missed the chance for a quick catch up in the kitchen with friendly faces over a morning brew.
The value of community is fundamental to what makes us human beings. So, environments that provide facilities such as break-out spaces, conference and meeting rooms, as well as coworking spaces can help people thrive both in their working and personal lives.
Getting to the office
The average worker spends 400 days of their life commuting, which means we spend the equivalent of over an entire year going from one place to another, which could be better spent elsewhere. If the pandemic has taught us anything, it’s that we value spending time with our loved ones and that work-life balance is essential to mental health.
What’s more, getting stuck in busy city traffic can cause frustration before you’ve even got to the office – which doesn’t set you up for a productive day. Our office spaces are on the outskirts of major cities providing easy access and free parking whilst avoiding the busiest routes.
We proudly sit near the new forest, providing spaces that allow for flexibility, convenience, comfort and a community for our businesses and their employees.