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Designing Corporate Spaces: A Psychological Approach

What if we told you that the chairs, tables, lights, decor and wall color you choose for your business can impact your bottom line—and not just because of the retail cost of the decor.

It’s true.

Investing in office design is an investment in your employees. Companies are discovering that purposeful design of office spaces is increasing employee productivity and improving employee performance, which yields more profit and saves money over time.

Spending a few extra bucks on office design can save your business money in the long run by boosting employee morale and increasing productivity.

But how?

Glad you asked.

Here’s how you can take a psychological approach to office design without breaking the bank.

Our guide explains what to do and how you and your employees will benefit.

Open up your office space.

Large, open (or collaborative) office spaces are replacing the cubicles and walled-off offices of yesterday. The open office configuration features long workspaces, often with team-oriented seating arrangements to facilitate collaboration.

The primary benefit of an open office space is improved communication, as there are no walls or doors to limit conversation. Studies show that employees who have increased opportunities to socialize are more likely to work together to solve problems and share information.

You may be thinking, “Sounds great, but how are we supposed to have meetings without distractions?” Fear not—no need to do away with your conference rooms. Use glass walls to provide privacy while maintaining an open feel.

Increased visibility of work activities also increases accountability, as employees are more likely to stay focused on tasks that add value to the business. Check out how Twitter has made use of the open office concept.

Designate flexible workstations for specific tasks.

If the idea of conducting conference calls in a noisy open office sounds challenging, consider designated or “flexible” workstations. The major benefit of a flexible configuration is improved concentration, as it offers employees spaces where they can concentrate without the distractions of an open office.

Flexible workstations may include desks for computers, round tables for small group discussions, and closed-off small spaces for phone calls and tasks requiring quiet focus. Rather than assigning each employee their own desk, employees have the freedom to work wherever they are most productive.

Mobile technology is necessary for a flexible workstation setup to facilitate employees’ ability to move around without disrupting work. Companies such as Google and Twitter have seen productivity increase as a result of flexible workstations.

Allow employees to add personal touches.

You can probably think of one employee who has so many personal items on his or her desk that you wonder how he or she gets any work done. An abundance of holiday decorations, vacation photos and assorted knickknacks are seen by some as too unprofessional for the office. However, research has found that allowing employees to decorate their workspace fosters trust, causing employees to feel more invested in the company.

The major benefit of a personalized workspace is improved productivity, as an experiment conducted by University of Exeter psychology students discovered. The students divided UK office workers into four groups with varying levels of freedom in personalizing and reconfiguring their workspaces. The group that was allowed to decorate to their heart’s content reported improved productivity, mood, neatness and concentration.

Encouraging employees to add personal touches is an easy way to boost employee morale and costs you nothing.

Let the sunshine in.

A wellness-minded workplace with natural light brings a trifecta of benefits: improved employee health, quality of life, and work performance.

Northwestern Medicine’s study on employee health found that employees who worked in window-filled offices reported greater physical activity than employees who worked in offices without windows. The workers with windows also saw their sleep increase by 46 minutes more per night on average. Additional benefits associated with increased natural light exposure include a boost in vitamin D levels, improved mood and decreased stress.

Placing workstations within 20 to 25 feet of windows is a simple and inexpensive way to increase natural light exposure. If you have few or no windows, consider installing light therapy bulbs or lamps, which mimic natural outdoor light as another affordable option.

If letting natural or simulated natural light into your office is not an option, consider giving your employees ample opportunity for breaks to get out into the sunshine.

Bring positive psychology into your office.

So if you see rows of drab gray cubicles, beige walls and fluorescent lights as you look around your office, perhaps it’s time to update the office space. Break free of traditional design elements by taking a psychological approach to office design.

Many companies are using the psychology of office design to create corporate spaces that make employees more productive, healthier and happier.

Do you want to reap the benefits of an office space designed with psychology in mind? We can help you transform your office into a place that brings out the best in you and your employees. Call us at 877-779-3409 or complete our form to contact us online.

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