Health-related absenteeism costs EU member states up to 3.5% of their GDP, according to research by the European Agency for Safety and Health at Work. One way offices can reduce this in the future is to provide workers with more stimulating environments. If you invest in an inspiring space and encourage healthier employee lifestyles, you will boost worker wellbeing, reduce staff turnover, improve productivity and increase profitability.
Designed to make businesses work better
Here are some office design trends you can achieve on different budgets.
Encourage physical movement to boost productivity
Desk-based tech reduces the need to move around in the modern workplace. But exercise releases endorphins that keep us engaged and alert, which is exactly what we need to stay happy, healthy and productive. Try introducing options such as standing meetings, walking on the phone, climbing stairs, standing and treadmill desks.
Choose form over function for a better quality of life
If you’re looking to cut business costs, don’t be too practical. Superfluous decorations with no functional purpose like plants, pictures and souvenirs are mood boosters, resulting in happier workers who are more engaged with their environment.
Introduce plants to grow worker well-being
Plants help boost productivity by a fifth, according to research from the University of Exeter, who conducted their study across three different companies in Finland earlier this year. They help concentration, alleviate stress and improve the quality of office air by increasing oxygen and absorbing dust, pollutants and bugs. Air-cleansing, low-maintenance office plants include spider plants, fragrant lemon balm and philodendron. Check out Amazon’s new Seattle office that features treehouses and streams.
Offer an escape from workplace distractions
Open plan offices are designed with collaboration in mind, but can reduce productivity by 66% because of distracting noises and conversations, according to Julian Treasure, Chairman of The Sound Agency. Offices should provide an escape by offering quiet alone-time areas so workers can focus on their tasks in peace. With advances in mobile technology, there’s no excuse to shackle workers to desks.
Wall colours that impact your office output
Research by The University of Texas has revealed that gray, beige and white office walls induce feelings of sadness in women. For men, it’s purple and orange. Colours can have a considerable impact on how we feel and act in the following ways:
- Green/Blue improves efficiency, focus and contributes to a sense of wellbeing
- Red inspires passion and attracts attention
- Yellow helps workers to feel optimistic, energetic and fresh.
Let your workers put their feet up
It isn’t healthy to sit in one position all day long, so offer your workers a more relaxing space to kick back in while they work. With wireless, mobile technology putting work at their fingertips, they don’t need to sit upright at a fixed screen anymore. Google’s Zurich office offers their workers napping chairs and massage rooms.
Offices don’t have to break their decorating budgets to improve their work environment. Even simple changes can lead to a happier and more productive team in the future.
Motivational office spaces in Europe
Need inspiration for your next office fitout? This is our pick of the top five office spaces in Europe right now.
Google, London - 160,000 feet of sleeping pods, a Granny flat lounge and a secret roof terrace.
Microsoft, Vienna - Areas designed for specific tasks and a 2-storey slide into a cushion pile.
White Mountain Office, Stockholm - An office in an atomic-bomb shelter, buried 30m underneath the city.
Selgas Cano Architecture, Madrid - A glass office sunk into a forest floor with no need for artificial light.
Innocent Fruit Towers, London - A grass floor and sit-where-you-want policy has led to 10% reduction in sick days.
- Rising sick bill ‘costs UK business £29bn a year’
- 8 Top Office Design Trends For 2016
- Plants in offices increase happiness and productivity
- How your noisy, open-plan office is making you 66% less productive
- How the Color of Your Office Impacts Productivity (Infographic)
- Google has sleep pods, Yelp has beer – why don’t we just live at work?
- Out of office. An overview of workplace absenteeism in Europe