Employers’ approaches to workplaces are changing. More and more, we are seeing new, inventive and creative ways for employees to work, and better spaces for them to be working in. Thankfully, as a generation, we are fast departing from the bland, four-white-walls style of workspaces, and are beginning to really push ourselves to create the most imaginative and unique of environments.
Wellness issues are finding their way higher up the priority ladder for businesses. It should come as no surprise that happy employees who work in a workplace where they are free to be imaginative and creative tend to engage better and provide better results for the business and boost their team morale. Unfortunately, however, some employers are still reluctant to invest in their company’s wellness and wellbeing, due to the uncertainty of receiving direct results back from the costs it can often incur.
A successful workspace is one that literally works for its employees. At Staverton, we firmly believe that a successful office offers variety, agility and collaboration. Items like sit-stand desks, private working dens and clustered desk groupings all enable one of the key factors in effective working – choice. Sedentary lifestyles are a significant problem for office workers, but a workspace that has been designed to encourage movement and various ways and locations to work in, really helps in the endeavour to keep the blood pumping and productivity levels flowing – as does flexible furniture that can adapt to the needs of the worker.
By creating different spaces for employees to do their work, you are offering them a chance to freshen their environments, move their bodies, and boost that all important creativity and consequently, productivity. Our mobile sit-stand desks are among some of our most popular products, and that comes as no surprise. Office workers and employers are waking up to the effects that being sat down in one position for eight hours a day can have detrimental effects on your body, and are finally acting on it. Having the option to stand up at a desk for even just 15 minutes can give you the much-needed opportunity to stretch your legs and back, but it also gives you a change of scenery. Similarly, if you have a one-on-one or small group meeting, utilising a private working space or ‘Den’ can provide the chance to change up your environment, work collaboratively – which is important for creating working relationships – and ultimately, make you work in a more effective way.
Creative spaces do not have to be constrained just to varieties of workstations either. Think outside the box when you are designing kitchen and relaxation/breakout areas too. The more variety and change you can offer to your staff, the better results you will see. Installing a breakfast bar type environment with bar stools, for example, will encourage employees to adopt better posture as well as creating another space to be social in and eat lunch at (away from desks!). You could even go so far as to consider other items of furniture that encourage movement when away from the desk – running machines, table football / tennis tables and exercise mats/balls are all appearing in the latest innovative workplaces.
While some may palm them off as trivial, they really are incredibly simple and relatively cheap solutions, which can provide some great results on employee wellbeing and productivity.
Leesman, the world’s leading assessor of workplace effectiveness, which has surveyed over quarter of a million employees worldwide, recently issued a report that states that less than half of UK offices are actually fit for purpose, with 46% of all employees saying that their spaces do not enhance productivity. Given the intrinsic link between wellbeing, productivity and workplace design, and the pressures this entails; businesses obviously have a challenge to face. But with simple tricks such as installing varied furnishings, comfortable yet practical break-out spaces, and vibrant, well-designed workspaces, it is becoming increasingly easy for employers to really create the workplace environments their staff need, that enhance wellbeing and productivity, rather than restricting it.
An important factor to bear in mind, however, is ensuring what you plan, create and install, actually works for you. It’s all very well planning these vast, open plan and creative spaces, but if you’re a relatively small team that works independently most of the time, that is clearly not the appropriate space for you. To avoid this, make sure you are always in tune with your employees, their wants, needs and requirements, and make sure that their office truly reflects this, and also your company’s culture.
It is so important to correctly implement change. Often, employers make drastic changes to workspaces, and expect to see immediate results almost overnight. This is simply not going to be the case. When altering, redesigning, refitting or even relocating to a new workspace. You must allow time for employees to adjust to the new environment, and the appliances offered within it. Do what you can, of course, to make this process smoother, engage with your employees at an early stage, not only to find out their ideas and thoughts, but to keep them involved in the process. For example, demonstrate how to use sit-stand desks at the best height, show them how to use the new smart TV in the Den, and schedule in meetings in the new collaborative spaces, to get people used to them.
There are countless options available to provide flexible, creative and productivity-enhancing workspaces for your employees. My main tip for achieving this though, is variety. Office workers do not want to be sat in one chair, at one desk, for their entire day at work. By providing a variety of options for individuals and teams to work in, you enable the opportunity for them to keep active both physically and mentally, thus contributing to their wellbeing and ultimately, receiving more productive, happier employees.