How Office Design Can Reduce Stress and Increase Productivity

Photo by Nastuh Abootalebi on Unsplash

Stress has reached epidemic proportions. Not only are stressful work environments having an impact on the mental health of employees, but it also has a knock-on effect on productivity as well.

Researchers conclude that employees at companies that create an innovative and healthy office environment are happier. Subsequently, they are more productive.

When people are relaxed, their blood pressure levels are lower, and their thoughts are clearer. As a result, they get through more work with fewer mistakes. There is also a reduction in absenteeism and a rise in staff retention.

Incorporating design elements that promote a stress-free workplace has also been shown to increase productivity and creativity. In some cases, all that is required are a few tweaks.

Let in natural light

It’s no secret that natural light provides the body with vital vitamins it needs to function. On warm days, when the sun is glowing through the window, people are given a boost of wellbeing from nature.

Offices with large windows not only project a very modern style, they also allow more light into the room to work its magic. If your office doesn’t receive much light, you may want to consider installing skylights as an alternative option.

On the flip side, fluorescent lighting contributes to eye strain, headaches and general malaise which have a negative impact on productivity.

Improve air quality

Poor ventilation has been found to be a pinnacle contributor to absenteeism from the office. Buildings that recycle air collect a buildup of pollutants which cause eye irritation, headaches, coughing, tightness in the chest and influence the spread of colds.

Researchers in the US found that when employees are exposed to better air quality, their cognitive function improves, and productivity levels went up.

Not only that, but fresh air improved cognitive function across nine verticals including decision making, creativity and the ability to strategize when under pressure.

Introduce plant life

On the topic of clean air, adding greenery to the office contributes to better air quality. Plants absorb pollutant air such as carbon dioxide and release good air.

More recently, researchers found even more benefits to creating a biophilic office design. The Journal of Experimental Psychology published a study that confirmed employees are 15% more productive when there is a plant close to their work station.

Photo by Alesia Kazantceva on Unsplash

Noise reduction

Productivity levels drop off by as much as 66% in offices that harbor background noise. The latest office designs look to reduce the amount of noise in an office without losing the sense of togetherness.

Solutions range from fitted noise-absorbing ceiling tiles, strategically placed white noise machines and private cubicles in which employees can find peace and quiet away from the hub-hub of busy office environments.

Encourage movement

Sitting down staring at a computer all day is more damaging to mental and physical health than it looks. Expert interior office designers like the guys at Office Principles now recommend creating an office design that encourages your staff to move around.

Movement helps to rejuvenate tired minds and reinvigorate productivity levels. Some of the more outlandish solutions include outdoor and indoor gardens and a mini-golf course on the rooftop.

Realistic designs include creating a choice of workspace by setting up areas solely for computer work, open areas for brainstorming and quiet areas for thinking.

Some companies go one step further and actively encourage employees to take a rest from work. Separate rooms to perform yoga stretches help protect the muscles and musculoskeletal structure and mediations rooms promote stillness of mind. Encouraging a walk around the block can help too.

Office designs that promote health and wellbeing create a workplace in which employees can flourish. When people feel the company, they work for values their health, it increases motivation and productivity. As a result, an innovative office design contributes to the growth of a business.