As time goes by, the concept of the workplace has expanded and evolved. Years before, most offices looked identical. Cubicles and strict dress codes for entry level employees and closed offices for managers and executives. Now, open offices are all the rage. Google’s workplace is the new ideal — free food, massages, and yoga classes for employees. The goal is simple: happy people in the office means a productive workplace. The thing is not all businesses can afford the same setup. Here’s the ideal workplace according to science:
Low Noise, Better Productivity
Consider getting silent PCs and air conditioners for your business. It’s especially important if you have an open office. With no cubicles between people, every little noise is magnified. It can be the sound of a co-worker’s pen clicks or some employees’ conversation. Whatever it is, noise makes it more challenging to focus on the task at hand. In turn, this leads to lower levels of productivity. But maintaining a quiet workplace can be complicated. There are some people who feel stifled if they’re forced to work in a particular manner. On the other hand, there are also people who excel in silence. The problem lies with personality differences. A study by the University of London found that extroverts tend to be less affected by noise compared to introverts.
One of the best solutions is to find a compromise. Instead of having a completely open office plan, combine traditional and modern elements. Have a space where most employees can work and collaborate but maintain a quiet area. It can be a room where workers can make private phone calls or where they can take a short break. A 2017 survey found that 58% of high-powered employees prefer private spaces for problem-solving. This way you can accommodate different types of workers while encouraging productivity.
Let There Be (Natural) Light
When it comes to office perks, the idea typically involves free snacks and gym access. But you don’t have to spend a lot of money every month to keep your employees happy and healthy. Harvard Business Review has compiled a number of studies proving the importance of natural light access in the workplace. One company saved $2 million in a year by replacing their blinds with smart windows that let in light. Natural light can also improve a person’s physical health. One particular research found that sunlight exposure helps reduce eyestrain, headaches, and drowsiness. The healthier and happier people are, the better their work performance is.
Besides improved productivity, an office that supports employees’ health also has other benefits. It can also improve a company’s retention rate and recruitment process. In a survey of employees, two-thirds say they’re more likely to accept a job offer or stay at a job if the workplace that supports their well-being.
When you’re shopping for office spaces, make sure to factor in the access to sunlight. Before, wide windows with great views were usually reserved for executives and managers. But if you offer the same perk to all levels of employees, you can improve the entire operation. Instead of blinds or curtains that block the light, go for tinted windows and anti-glare filters. Employees can get access to sunlight, improve their performance, and help their well-being.
Warm up the Workplace
The office temperature has always been the subject of debate. Some employees are more comfortable when the office is cool. But others like it warmer than usual. It has even sparked a debate dividing men and women. A Maastrict University study discovered that women tend to be more affected by the temperature than men. While men work comfortably at a particular temperature, women were uncomfortable. If your body can’t function properly because of the temperature, your productivity lowers.
While you can’t make everyone happy by setting the thermostat at a particular temperature, there are several options to try. One is to accommodate the majority of your workers. For example, one of the main factors that affect how a person reacts to temperature is their metabolic rate. If most of your employees are women, set the temperature between 70 and 80 degrees Fahrenheit. If your workers are men, it might be better to set it below 70 degrees. Another option is to relax dress codes. Allowing people to dress down or layer up can improve their comfort and improve their work performance. You can also change up the seat arrangements according to preferences.
When it comes to workplace setups, the key is to prioritize the employees’ well-being. Many studies have proven that they will be more productive when they feel happy and healthy.