How Great Office Design Can Significantly and Quickly Reduce Stress in the Workplace

We live in a fast paced world where much of our day is spent at our workplace where people are also working more and more hours. This can be detrimental to our health and well-being, so it’s important to look at the various areas of our lives to see how we can continue not just keeping ourselves well, but thriving.

In order to do so, we’re excited to share how fantastic office design can reduce stress in the workplace as a significant contributor to better health.

Creating an exceptional office space for you and your staff takes knowledge, experience and an understanding of your business from a functional aspect, people’s behaviour, branding, communication, culture and an Occupational Health and Safety perspective. What’s more, being up to date with current eco-trends is crucial to design and the ability of your office space to remain progressive and supportive of a healthy work environment.

Thus, here are some fabulous yet simple tips that will make your office design outstanding in the blink of an eye.

1. Make Your Office Space Functional

Over time, we have seen the shift in the design of workspace to be less ‘regimented’ or ‘confined’ to one that allows for personality, style and fun. Finding that balance is important and how the office is designed depends on the need for collaboration or concentration.

While many may not have the budget of someone like Google, we can still take away some ideas from their office design and the influence it has on staff morale and productivity.

When considering to what extent the workspace needs to be collaborative or quiet, we look at social, technical and organisational elements. How the workspace is structured can have an impact on the stress levels of workers.

What type of business do you have?

For instance, a consultancy may require ease of access to quiet meeting rooms from reception with the need for internal consultancy staff to have a more open plan to allow for discussion. A call centre, on the other hand, may have a greater need for partitioning so that conversations are not within earshot but have a general space where staff can congregate to interact and share.

The layout of the office can have an impact on the opinions and attitude of the staff. Business leaders who are closed-door can give the impression to their employees that they are not approachable so the team members may feel they won’t be heard.

In addition, how the equipment at a desk is set out can also mean coming to work to clutter and electronic overload or a calm and organised space. Hence, it’s important to consider the physical structure of the office to maintain high staff morale and reduced stress.

Understanding the function of all the departments and how you can enhance communication between these teams can also improve collaboration and understanding, as well as break down stereotypes. For example, a creative team in an advertising company may have little to do with the accounting team, so it’s a good idea to look at the departments or teams within your company to work out how to best maintain a positive working culture and encourage interactions between them.

The size of the space can also influence how employees view their workplace and indeed if they want to come to work. It’s important to consider whether cubicles, open-plan, private offices or perhaps a combination of these are the most beneficial for your staff.

Moreover, studies show that high noise for extended hours can cause higher stress levels. Having a communal space as a destination is something that should definitely be considered as part of an office plan. However, the activities within this area should not interfere with those who require peace and quiet to complete their work.

2. Mind the Air Quality and Lighting

It can be difficult to control the type or air conditioning that is used in a building that you are leasing for your office. However, it is still worth noting that certain studies conducted show that a ‘green’ environment where the air quality was improved, had a positive impact on the health and well-being of the study participants.

Check out this article to see how proper ambient scenting can do wonders for your business. Not only does it improve your employee’s productivity, but it significantly reduces their stress levels. Amazing, isn’t it?

Aside from actually adding to air quality, the use of plants also adds to the impression of breathing cleaner air and is preferred by office staff.

Furthermore, there are two types of lighting that need to be considered in an office environment – internal lighting and natural lighting. The preference is always for as much natural light as possible.

Also, windows these days need to meet certain criteria based on thermal ratings and radiation absorption to meet particular industry ratings. Therefore, it’s wise to consider the office orientation before renting an office space.

3. Choose Eco-friendly Design Materials

Reducing material toxicity in the workplace is critical for the health of your staff. Always remember – healthy employees are more productive and happier.

The type of paint used for the office space can provide for less toxicity. These days other options are available including water based and zero VOC (solvents). It can be easy to overlook this element of office design, but this is certainly something to be considered before leasing or when refurbishing an office.

Aside from walls, flooring is another area that one can consider for eco-friendly office materials. Bamboo flooring is a more popular option these days, but this will depend on your building type and requirements for safety. Be aware that not all carpets are good-quality.

Furniture is something that can help identify your brand and image in your workplace. Find out if your commercial interior consultants have furniture that has been made from recycled materials or materials that are non-toxic and natural.

The type of furniture you use in your ‘meet and greet’ area may be quite different from the communal area for workers. Ergonomics of your office furniture and accessories is critical these days, and such concepts as sit-stand desks are more widely used to support the health of staff.

When an office is being designed, such considerations are applied to water saving plumbing, and fixtures that reduce the impact on the environment.

It’s now very easy to ensure products available to staff through the washroom, work area or kitchen are eco-friendly. Check to make sure the commercial office cleaners are also using eco-friendly products around your office.

4. Create a Separate Activities Area

Breaking up a work day and letting your staff know that it’s OK to take a break is excellent for productivity. Providing activities and creature comforts in a communal space does wonders for stress levels and allows for interaction. When your team members feel they are valued, they are happier and healthier, remember?

Therefore, consider more options such as filtered water, healthy tea/real coffee, table tennis, mini-pool table, coffee table books or books of interest, board games, fidget spinner, hacky sacks, as just some ideas to provide a low-stress environment.

Remember that great design incorporates many elements and having a low-stress environment means happier, healthier and more productive staff who will be glad to come to work.

We would like to thank Ettore Riboni from In2 Space for giving this article. To learn more about office design and sustainability, see the office design website of IN2 Space, Melbourne’s preferred office interior designer and project manager.

4 Incredibly Easy Steps to Greener Automotive Industry

Mechanic servicing automobile car engine in repair garage

Automotive Industry is definitely one of the biggest ones. It is very complex and consists of numerous procedures before actual vehicle making, such as finding the appropriate material for each part, producing vehicle parts, designing, maintaining both the parts and working areas, etc.

Although people nowadays cannot imagine living without vehicles, this industry does not have a positive impact on the environment and our planet.

Air pollution is one of the worst consequences. Also, hazardous waste reduction, oil disposal and other production and recycling costs to the environment are impossible to measure. Considering the fact that we have only one planet to live on whereas, on the other hand, living without vehicles nowadays would be science fiction, some action has to be done!

Many vehicle manufacturers have been working on a more environment-friendly approach to production in the last years. However, like every other change, it requires time. And when talking about the environment and our planet, time is priceless.

So, it would be the best to start at least with smaller actions, which would definitely be of great help! Here are four simple steps you can implement right away into your workshop and help our planet instantly!

1.Deal Properly with Hazardous Chemicals and Materials

Firstly, when it comes to purchasing all the chemicals and materials you need, try to make a list and then read it thoroughly. Find the most hazardous chemicals and materials and try to find a less hazardous replacement for them. Maybe you even realise that you can stop using some of them!

When it comes to less hazardous chemicals, focus on those which are water-based or biodegradable.

Photos courtesy from Flickr Image by James Bastow

The next thing that would be smart to do is storing all the toxic chemicals in the appropriate way! Pay attention to the expiry date and put them in the order you purchase them. In this way, there would be far less waste which is always beneficial for the environment. Also, it would be great if you separated all the flammable chemicals in a separate area. Nobody wants an extra fire-danger in the workshop, right?

2.Save Water

Whenever there is some info about taking care of the environment, water saving is always number one priority! And with a good reason, since the only thing we really cannot live without for a very long time is water!

Now, what you can always make sure you do before you close your workshop for the day is to check the taps, showers and toilets for leaks. Furthermore, consider installing rainwater tanks for car washing and toilet flushing. Also, take care of evaporative cooling towers and get them serviced on a regular basis. This will prevent leakage and enormous water losses.

In addition, while washing hands, do not let the water running from the tap all the time – stop the water flow while you are soaping your hands! This may sound a bit too simple. However, this simple act will save huge amounts of water.

3.Reduce Waste in an Appropriate Way

When reducing waste the crucial thing to do first is to separate the recycling waste. This act will be extremely helpful since mixing wastes may make them unusable for recycling. What you can do here is next:

  • Metal waste is gathered in one place and sent to a local metal recycling facility. In this way, you are reducing the carbon emissions involved in transporting metal.
  • Cardboard is segregated, saved and sent to a paper recycling facility.
  • Oil filters are no exception to recycling. The only thing you have to do before sending them to the appropriate recycling facility is to drain them and store them safely.

Make sure none of the employees and workers ever forget to recycle! You can create a recycling schedule or hang recycling posters all over the workshop. It will serve them as a great reminder!

4.Clean Smart

When you think of how many areas, parts and tools you have to clean in just one workshop, you cannot but think about wasting water. So, in order to save water, washing vehicles, degreasing motors and cleaning areas should be done as practically as possible.

In terms of chemicals used for cleaning, try not to use toxic and hazardous ones. There is a number of different detergents and sanitisers which are environment-friendly, so you have many options to choose from. If you already have to use toxic and hazardous chemicals during production and repairing, at least you can avoid those chemicals in the maintaining part of the job!

Also, one of the best things you can do is consider hiring a professional service for washing parts. Ecosafe Washer is a great tool since it is easy and safe to use, cost-effective and powerful! What’s more, it is completely non-toxic and non-flammable which means it is safe both for you and your environment. It cleans parts thoroughly without damaging them, and it is water-based and contains no chemicals at all!

Call Alsco now, and our friendly representatives will happily answer all your questions and give you the best offer based on your needs!

Photo courtesy from Freepik Image by Peoplecreations