Many of us are spending more and more time at work - in fact, some now spend more time at work than anywhere else. The modern work environment is changing, but more often than not that still means we’re spending more time than ever before sat at a single workstation.
As a result, it’s more important than ever before that we as employers create an environment for our employees that is healthy and that they can enjoy spending time in. A healthy, supportive and enjoyable work environment is potentially just as beneficial to you as an employer as it is to your employees. In the short term, a healthy and happy workforce is also a productive, creative and energised one. The potential long-term benefits are even greater: employees that are truly content in their positions will be dedicated ambassadors for your business who are truly invested in its success.
For a few years now, interior designers for commercial spaces have understood the potential benefits of areas in the office dedicated to fun. As a result, contemporary office spaces now increasingly incorporate pool tables, table football, table tennis and similar amusements. A game of pool at lunchtime can certainly increase an employee’s happiness in the short term. Recently, though, thought leaders have started to look in more detail at whether these measures benefit employees’ contentment and wellbeing in the long run, or whether there are other principles of workplace design that might be better suited to positive change of this deeper sort.
From this long term perspective, it’s probably better to focus on creating an office environment that makes your employees feel valued, understood and supported rather than on providing entertaining distractions. On a most basic level, this means providing an environment that is clean, well-ordered, well lit (preferably with natural light) and with good access to all of the things people need - such as water and bathroom facilities. Beyond that, it means providing ample storage, all of the stationery and technology workers need to perform their roles to a high standard and a variety of spaces that allow each individual to have varied and fulfilling work days. It also means providing the worker with a degree of control and autonomy in tailoring their work environments to their own needs - measures that achieve that include height-adjustable desks, adaptable workstation features and storage that’s accessible to every individual.
All of this is possible with USM modular furnishings. USM Haller and USM Kitos desks feature optional height adjustability features, as well as a range of smart accessories that allow you to give each worker the power to tailor their workstation to their own needs. The modular USM Haller system, meanwhile, is ideal for creating storage and display units that are tailored to your business’s unique requirements, and they’re ready to be adapted and reconfigured in the future as those requirements change.
Creating a work environment that’s truly beneficial to your employees’ health also requires taking the long view - making changes that will not only satisfy their current demands, but that also do everything possible to safeguard their long term overall well being. Beyond standard best practices - cleanliness, ergonomically-conscious seating, natural light - there’s a lot you can do in this area with the design of your office. One key step is to design the work environment to encourage movement. Height adjustable desks that allow sit-stand adaptability, such as the USM Kitos help; so does a genuinely agile environment, where workers can move to different areas to perform different tasks. This is beneficial for physical and mental health alike.
Focusing primarily on employees’ long-term health and happiness also benefits their day-to-day productivity: genuine contentment makes workers more inclined to work hard. Other particular design measures to boost productivity include an awareness that neither a fully closed nor a fully open office environment is likely to encourage workers to be their best. Rather, we all benefit from a variety of spaces that are specifically designed for the different tasks we undertake over the course of the day: quiet, distraction-free spaces for focused working as well as open working areas that encourage collaboration and breakout meeting areas.