Office space has changed a great deal over the past few decades. Gone are the rows of carbon-copy desks and enclosed offices for a chosen few – now open plan layouts, fresh air, central meeting spaces and clean design are the hallmarks of a modern office. Studies conducted over the past few years have found that environment can play a big part in employee satisfaction and well being, leading to improved productivity.
Modern office layouts focus on creating spaces where groups can interact easily, where boundaries separate but don’t divide, and where specialised work zones for different groups add a sense of identity. Central areas designed to engage employees become an asset, boosting creative thinking and presenting an exciting image to visiting clients. Many companies are doing away with separate offices altogether, with everyone from the office junior to the CEO sitting at a cubicle desk, creating an atmosphere of approachability, rather than separation.
Employee well being is seen as an area of increasing focus, with simple changes such as adding plants or access to fresh air beneficial to the entire office. Well-being is part of the duty of care owed by an employer to an employee, and should be taken seriously. Correct lumbar support and computer screen positioning is essential to avoid repetitive strain injuries, while keeping walkways and workspaces clear allows people to move around easily, as well as keeping lines of sight open. It’s been shown that people think more creatively in a stimulating environment, so introducing colour and changing pictures on the wall on a regular basis are two easy ways to inject fresh ideas into your office environment.
However, just a simple de-clutter, repositioning of desks and new, more ergonomic seating can make a huge difference. Piles of paper, bulging files, tangled computer cables and overflowing shelves are all counterproductive, even in the smallest office. So take a moment to consider your workspace and what could be better. Assess your seating. Think about colour. Add partition screens or take screens away. Tidy up. It’s amazing what a difference a day can make.
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