Blog: Building healthy workplaces - How design can help reduce workplace stress?

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Building healthy workplaces - How design can help reduce workplace stress?

There are several ways that businesses can ensure their workplace design is conducive to the results they are working for.
Building healthy workplaces - How design can help reduce workplace stress?

Designing a workplace with the employee health in mind should be the priority of all businesses. After all it’s the employees skills and efforts that help a business thrive. If employees are unwell, stressed and disengaged, it can disrupt the normal operations and incur additional costs to the company. On the other hand, a congenial workplace environment provides numerous benefits from health care cost savings to increased productivity and engagement among the workforce. 

There are several ways that businesses can ensure their workplace design is conducive to the results they are working for. Here are the top five design suggestions - 

Unconventional Desk Space, Ergonomic Seating and Open Layout

Providing open workstations rather than cabins encourages more interaction and stimulates open exchange of ideas among the employees. Many companies are following this practice of open and collaborative work culture through spatial arrangements. Also as the workforce comprises of people from different backgrounds, age groups and skillsets, the workplace designs should be made flexible to cater to their needs. Having ergonomic furniture in office is an investment that’s worth the ROI in terms of employee physical and mental wellbeing. It’s also important to enable employees to move around in the office by creating different work spaces. For instance, providing standing workstations or a set of couches for a relaxed work or even a small conference room to take calls can create a cordial work environment. 

Open work spaces can also lead to noise distractions, which can be controlled by using sound-absorbing elements such as carpet and soft, fibrous materials instead of glass or stone. 

Nurture a Green Culture

There are several ways to bring the nature inside the office - creating a green corner, installing living walls or placing air purifying indoor plants near workstations and windows. These not only improve the air quality in the workplace but they also have a calming and psychological effect on the workforce. Conducting workshops on nurturing the greens is another way to engage with the staff, wherein they can carry on this practice at their residence as well.

Balance Natural and Artificial Lighting

Lighting at work can have significant effects on cognitive function and productivity. Too bright or dull lighting can cause headaches, eye strain and tiredness that can lead to stress buildup. Too much lighting can also generate heat and alter the temperature in the office. Ensure there’s ample natural light coming in from the windows, which also gives the employees an option to look at the outside world. Just a mere five seconds stare outside the window can cause a refreshing effect. Proper ambient light is required in other parts of the workplace that don’t receive sufficient natural light. This will help boost the mood and environment of that space. 

Provide Recreational Space

A fun breakout room, gym or yoga room, cafe or a relaxed seating space will help employees relieve stress and rejuvenate. These spaces encourage team bonding and informal exchanges of ideas. Also a change in place can give a different perspective to solving problems. Use of motivational imagery in this space can further boost the ambience and spur creativity.

Choose the Right Colors

There’s more to colors than what meets the eye! Research in neuroscience and psychology has shown that colors can impact our brain functions, and affect our mood and behavior. Colors and their intensities can stimulate a response or perception in our minds. For instance, blue color can have a calming effect and promote communication, while yellow has an energizing effect and green is considered a mood-enhancing color and an effective stress buster. Avoid using a single color or a combination of several colors, instead stick to a couple of accents or color palettes. It’s wise to choose colors that match the purpose of the space. Using relaxed and tranquil colors in a meeting room would not be conducive to a creative and dynamic environment that’s required in that space.

Investing in the right workplace design will have a lasting effect on your workforce and bear long-term results for your business. 

Topics: #GuestArticle, Life @ Work

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