The Modern Office
It’s a question of logic. We spend an average of eight hours a day in our work environment; comfort and practicality are priorities. Aside from creating a workplace conducive to employee productivity, the modern office also gives prominence to employee well-being through design hacks that not only enhance office morale, but also make the property itself desirable.
A Win For Well-being
Well-being at work is all the rage nowadays, and rightly so – with mental health issues stemming from work-related issues rubbing shoulders with one out of every five Americans, the chances are that if it isn’t one of your colleagues suffering, it’s you. The consequences can never be good for business – or the people that make it all come together.
Fortunately, growing awareness of the effects of the workplace on mental health and therefore, business, has captured the attention of progressive landlords and office owners. Traditional hierarchies in which the workforce is ancillary to the owner’s personal requirements for business success have been switched out in favor of flexible work employees’ work-life needs are met, and everybody benefits.
The pandemic and remote work have made us reevaluate what it means to be an office worker, and the resounding outcome is that we need a work environment with a company culture that complements our well-being and work-life balance.
The Worker’s Office
Modern office design features not only attempt to eliminate more discrete health hazards, they actually enhance the well-being of their co-workers by placing the focus on human-centered design, where all needs of the workforce are met. High-ticket tenants and buyers actively seek out offices that tick these boxes:
- Adaptable Workstations
Ergonomic seating and height-adjustable desks can help counteract the physical discomfort of sitting in the same position for eight hours a day. Workers that have some autonomy and choice in their arrangement fare better than those that do not. We can take this further by offering a variety of workstations, such as in this office, contrasted with individualized areas such as these, where depending on the nature of the work involved, employees can flitter between face-to-face teamwork and more individualized activities.
A further advantage of a working environment that offers flexibility in working areas is that it can enhance the workweek in any number of businesses. More dynamic workspaces appeal to larger audiences, which helps attract and retain top talent and is a good incentive for buyers.
- Natural Light
Biophilia is our desire to be closer to nature. Studies have shown that the mental well-being of office workers is better in offices whose design features curves as opposed to straight lines – pathways, desk edges, partition walls, and flooring can emulate nature when we avoid excessive usage of right angles, and this has a positive effect on our state of mind.
When offices leverage the soothing effects of nature, such as natural lighting and an abundance of plants, we are presented with an inviting environment where employee engagement is high because they feel good. Well-being strikes again.
- Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion
Another key player, DEI, weaved into design is becoming a must-have for tenants rather than a nice-to-have feature. Accessibility is non-negotiable. Ramps and wide, easy access not only guarantee the comfort of wheelchair users, but they also entwine with the element of curves we mentioned previously.
While most offices have accessibility in mind, the execution of such features is rarely seamless and tends to divide users according to physical ability, rather than offer an aesthetically-pleasing design that is truly inclusive. Let’s remember to offer equitable solutions that level the playing field, no pun intended.
- Work Hard, Play Hard
Today’s office environment transcends the caged feel of the white-walled office of the nineties to bring us divergent zones that blend harmoniously. Some of our greatest ideas come to us during the water cooler chat, that moment of socialization when the pressure of performance falls into remiss – and successful companies deem lounge areas and recreational spaces paramount to employee well-being.
Furthermore, under Chapter 448 (448.05) of the 2021 Florida statutes, employees must have suitable seating for purposes of rest during the workday, making a recreational area a fundamental aspect of any working environment.
Google offices even add games to their office equipment. While you don’t have to turn your facility into an amusement park, recreational areas are a pillar of workspace wellbeing, because breaks, socialization, and changing the work area let us get back to work with renewed energy and insight.
The fast-paced, results-focussed, sterile environment of yesteryear has been replaced with office space initiatives that spotlight the processes and the people. The open office of our time recreates a homely, personalized space that puts employee health on a pedestal.
The harmony of a modern workspace makes our workers more productive, less stressed, and more present, which is good for business. Secondly, they feel more satisfied with their job, which helps accomplish Decent Work and Economic Growth, one of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Finally, the facility itself ranks highly on realtors’ listings, as companies search for the ideal companion for strategic growth and staff well-being.
Office design has the ability to make or break a team — and a business. Where comfort, in the broader sense of the word reigns supreme, office workers can feel at home away from home, in an office where their well-being takes center stage, productivity, and cognitive prowess can soar.