The average person will spend 90,000 hours at work over a lifetime, so the impact this environment can have on our outlook, on life and health, is massive.

The average person spends a third of each and every day in their place of work, so the quality and associations of the workplace makes a real difference to the physical and mental health of employees.

Millennials make up a huge amount of the population, and they need to be represented now more than ever. By 2020, “66% of workforces will be millennials. They need a workplace that is a home away from home,” stresses Bina Mirchandani. But, this requirement can be carried across all age ranges. To get this right and to satisfy staff, there are certain measures that need to be taken. Here are some of the top considerations to make in your physical space to maximise employee engagement and satisfaction.

Getting the light right

A study in the Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine found that sitting by a window during your working day results in 46 minutes more sleep every night. Where possible it is also preferable to opt for light that is less artificial and reflective of natural light. All lighting should imitate this, rather than harsh LED lighting that has become synonymous with offices.

Uber’s San Francisco HQ is situated on a large site once owned by Salesforce. The six and eleven-story buildings boast a futuristic exterior, glass walls and large, light, open spaces for collaboration. All features that we’ve considered in our Head Office refit.

Temperature

It’s hard to please everyone when it comes to temperature. Some employees will always favour a bit of breeze and a window seat, while others reach for a jumper and a heater. A study from Helsinki University showed that 22 degrees Celsius is the optimum temperature for workplace productivity. High temperatures in the office have more of a detrimental effect on productivity than cooler climes, with a 6% reduction in productivity in warmer temperatures and a 4% drop with colder climes. Keep the temperature under control to get the most out of employees.

The rise and fall of open plan

Open plan was once desired at home and at work. We all opted for large, open areas to maximise space and to improve communication. But, times have changed. Now, it’s been proven that large, open offices actually breed a silo effect.

But, what happens when you choose to create an inviting, open space on a smaller scale for each team, or each style of work? You create an environment where collaboration is encouraged and everyone feels they can contribute freely. This also presents the right amount of quiet to get work done.

Hot spot areas are another way of offering staff a variety and giving staff space for different work to take place. Workplaces can’t comply with a one-size-fits-all model, and mixing it up can do the world of good. More inspired employees are more productive, so in turn it’s the right thing to do.

Where do aesthetics fit?

workplace environments

Research has shown that aesthetically pleasing workplaces can help create trust within organisations, and according to Crown Workspace 68% feel that office design impacts on the ability to retain talent. It is from this point of trust that employees build their career within an organisation. There is more than one way that this can be fulfilled. Whether it’s creating more open spaces, using windows to provide more light or making strategic use of space and décor, there are always ways to improve. What may seem like small changes can have a huge impact. Incorporating plants is said to produce a 15% increase in productivity, reported lead researcher Marlon Nieuwenhuis, from Cardiff University’s School of Psychology.

What’s in it for you?

If a workplace meets some, or all, of the above criteria, then it could improve the quality of sleep employees get, create greater inclusion, increase productivity and encourage staff to embrace a work-life balance. All of which results in better employee retention.

Look out for our next instalment to read about our Head Office refit, and how we are creating spaces for our employees to thrive.