Employers are becoming more conscious of the effect of workspaces on employees and their levels of productivity, and this is increasingly pushing for a shift from traditional work environments to more intentional and planned workspace design. One of the more important aspects, employers must keep in mind while designing a workspace is psychology, the science of human behavior and mind.
The power of our surroundings in our moods and behavior is often underestimated and since we can stimulate desired behaviors through the set up of space, planning your workspace a little bit more smartly can make a massive difference in the long run. Here are the most relevant psychological trends one must keep in mind while designing workspaces:
Me, Myself and I
It turns out identity does play a massive role in the office. According to cognitive psychology, there is a need for implicit egotism in the workspace as people look favorably on anything identified as an extension of themselves. When an organization or employer can tap into this and allow their employees to foster a sense of self-determination, they see an increase in engagement and productivity.
Basically, every individual should have the possibility to personalize their space, as ownership creates engagement, is a consistent motivation and allows for comfort and familiarity.
Empowered employees contribute to the organization's success but also have vested interest in the organization expressed through stronger loyalty and commitment. Studies have shown that intrinsic motivation consistently has had a strong relationship with achievement and performance.
One approach can be to have the employees collectively design their own space since it also provides an easy context for increased interaction between members while also allowing them to have the power over their shared workspace composition. The research revealed positive results when this approach was employed as it encourages a whole variety of positive organizational behavior.
Back to basics
Green is good. The psychological benefits of greenery and plants on office workers is substantial. Not only does it have a restorative element, but it also reduces negative emotions, alienation, and stress.
Luckily for everyone research says that it is not necessary for one to head to the wilderness to enjoy its effects, even the bare bone of elements that evoke nature, a glimpse of greenery or a representation of nature has just as much of an impact on office workers. They report better health, job satisfaction, and life satisfaction, which only supports various similar testing and project results.
Urban architects and workspace planners are looking into incorporating more feasible options like artificial plants and trees, fake vines as room decor, low maintenance cacti, custom silk plants, and colorful artificial flowers to liven up working spaces as they require no maintenance and can be designed specifically to the interior.
Since choices range from colorful, beautiful tropical plants, topiaries hedges to soothing, evocative outdoor palm trees, you can decorate without worrying. Potted plants on window sills, a few innocuous ferns against the walls, vines used to decorate, and such can be a few simple ways to incorporate greenery into your office.
Going green seems to be the most popular and the most effective trend that comes into consideration while building workspaces, simply because the results are irrefutable. Psychologically speaking, plants in workspaces can reduce stress by up to 37%, decrease feelings like depression or dejection by a whopping 58%, and boost productivity and creativity by 15%. Proof suggests they also reduce the absentee rate and the number of sickness leaves.
People tend to associate greenery with well being, and this can be the most effective way to bring about small but meaningful changes in your office with long term benefits.
The Big Question- Collaborative Work Spaces
Collaborative workspaces should allow for easy communication, movement, and interaction. Usually, open spaces, high ceilings, sunlight, and elements that evoke nature come into the mind while creating such a space.
The point of high ceilings is that they make offices feel less crowded, encourage communication, and make people more creative. How? High ceilings tie to a psychological sense of freedom and help trigger spatial exploration. They are combining both these feelings prompt office workers into thinking more freely. Across experiments evidence also suggests that they encourage abstract thinking. Visually, high ceilings tend to be appealing and appear to be more spacious.
Surveys reveal that sunlight is the most wanted attribute in offices, outstripping on-site cafeterias, nap pods, and fitness centers. Nearly 50% of the office workers complained they were not getting enough exposure to the sun and that the lack of natural light made the office feel gloomy and cumbersome. Research reveals that sunlight not only significantly improves health and well being but also has fantastic psychological effects.
Even just 10-15 minutes of exposure to natural light is enough to trigger the endorphins, or 'happy hormones' is enough to make employees feel better and to reduce stress.
Having this knowledge allows you to design ergonomic spaces that cater to and complement your office needs. Employees need to be encouraged to communicate, feel creative, and feel healthy to be their best selves at work and even more so at places where everyone comes together communally. Eventually, the results will be seen through better teamwork, communication, creativity, and ideas.
There is increasing awareness regarding the importance of human capital and how psychological states of employees affect productivity. Since employees spend the majority of their days in the office, office decor and design can and does affect their mental, psychological state, and thus, their productivity levels. It is of vital importance that organizations and employers, not only consider these factors but also capitalize on modeling workspaces to increase revenue instead of cutting costs.
Focusing on strategic investments that improve employee well being is the starting point for creating a great office culture, establishing a brand, and vying for employee loyalty. The regard of your employees is essential for building something successful and small considerations like these only work towards creating a fantastic reputation for your organization or company.