Banish the ‘Blue Monday’ misery: Better office design is key to a better mood

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An office with better lighting will improve mood and performance
An office with better lighting will improve mood and performance

A new survey by office design specialists, Peldon Rose, has been released today on Blue Monday – officially the most depressing day of the year. Their survey reveals the changes to the workplace environment can help staff to fight winter blues and boost productivity levels. Based on the survey insights of close to 1,000 London office workers, Peldon Rose has developed a unique formula to help businesses deliver a happy and productive office.

It was clear from the survey data that having people who believe that they are trusted and appreciated were the most important factors in helping to deliver a happy office, with boredom being the most negative factor. Trusting staff and appreciating them helps to foster more workplace friendships, another critical factor, while improving home comforts also plays a key role in fostering those friendships as well as building trust and appreciation – a virtuous circle.

The formula the agency developed was:

H = (T9+A8) + (F7+HC6) – B7

 Frolleagues (F), Home Comforts (HC), Appreciation (A), Trust (T) and Boredom (B)

The formula was based upon the following principles:

Motivation: Businesses can counter SAM by maximising daylight to boost serotonin, using bright colours on feature walls, organising office social events and ensuring staff take regular breaks from their desk.

 Boredom: Providing diverse work spaces are vital to help counter boredom. By introducing sit-stand desks or standing meeting tables, staff will be more active and move around during the day. For those more adventurous, ping-pong and pool tables can give staff a quick five-minute power recharge, even biophilic design (such as plants) can provide visual stimulation. Boredom means different things to different people, and all personalities must be considered. Improving trust, appreciation, frolleagues and home comforts companies can help eliminate boredom.

Home Comforts: Introducing elements of home comforts to the office makes a team feel happier to be there. Providing fruit, herbal teas, or cereals is a low cost option which staff are grateful for when their energy is at a low ebb. Soft furniture such as sofas and comfy chairs can improve acoustics and also provide a welcome break from their desks for informal meetings, quiet working or simply resting. In addition, other home comforts, such as showers and bike storage, would encourage staff to be more active. By investing in home comforts staff will also feel more appreciated.

 Appreciation: Top ranked by respondents to make them feel more appreciated at work are tools and technology which ranked above training and development and recognition and rewards. By investing in the right tools and technology, businesses would receive a double win with staff potentially working longer hours whilst feeling more motivated in the office.

Trust: Businesses can demonstrate trust by giving staff the technology and tools to work efficiently as well as break out areas to free them from their desks. Being seen to work is no longer as important as the output. Trusting staff to meet offsite is an easy way to demonstrate trust and encourage friendships to form.

Frolleagues: Being part of a shared enterprise and liking the people you work with goes a long way to creating a positive environment. Bosses can facilitate this by creating social spaces and communal eating areas to bring people together. In the survey, communal spaces, informal break out areas, and social events were scored highest by respondents in terms of importance to help promote friendships at work. Centralised refreshments, recycling, and printing will also get people up on their feet, helping create social interactions with colleagues.

 

 

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