How to Create a Happy Workplace EnvironmentDaniel Savoury
As Britain returns to work post-pandemic, having a healthy working environment has never been more essential. Employees who begin to return to their workplace want to feel safe and secure in a healthy and comfortable environment. For employers, this may be a welcome return to normality, and may even increase productivity by way of having staff together again in one place. But the wrong kind of workplace can actually have a negative effect on productivity. So how can you ensure that you’re getting it right for staff wellbeing and your business?
Consider the environment that your workforce is working in. A hot and uncomfortable environment will make people feel less happy with their lot and affect productivity. The same is true of a low temperature. This has been scientifically proven by researchers at the Lawrence Berkley National Laboratory. They found that performance increases with temperature up to 21-22 °C, and decreases with a temperature above 23-24 °C. The highest productivity is at a temperature of around 22 °C.
Air conditioning is a fast and reliable way to reduce overheating of both employees and equipment. Depending on the size of the workspace, either portable or industrial air conditioners can quickly create a more productive environment by ensuring that air is refreshed and cooled- especially important in summer.
Air cleaners offer another solution to maintaining a healthy environment for staff. The jury on the benefits of cleaning air with regards to Coronavirus is still out, but air cleaners provide a plethora of health benefits such as reducing irritants in the air causing skin allergies and asthma. Filters trap airborne pollutants by size exclusion. HEPA filters can trap particles as small as 0.3 microns in size and are highly effective in this range. Contaminants left unfiltered can lead to asthma, irritated eyes, nose, and throat, headaches, hay fever, sneezing, sinus congestion, coughing, fatigue, and dizziness in some people.
In light of the pandemic and social distancing, now might be a good time to redesign the office or workplace to give people more space to work. A bright airy workplace will create a better feeling of well-being compared to a disorganised cramp space.
Consider different types of desks and seats to aid productivity. Standing desks are believed to help people feel more energised and aid productivity. Providing options rather than one size fits all will only be beneficial and show that you are considering the wellbeing of your staff.
Well-lit workplaces are more productive and those which provide plenty of natural light can improve the sense of wellness of staff. Being able to see “outside” enables people to feel connected with the world and allows their eyes to adapt better when they leave work. It also enables their circadian clock to function normally. Being stuck inside an artificially lighted workplace for 8 hours is not a perfect environment for humans and there is a science around creating the perfect lighting for employees nowadays. Studies show that staff in daylit and full-spectrum office buildings reported an increase in general wellbeing including better health, reduced absenteeism and increased productivity. Invest in good lighting not just for sakes sake but for employees and notice an increase in productivity and general happiness of your workforce.
The absence of presence of sound can vary from person to person. However, no one wants to hear noisy heating systems, annoying door slams or mobile phones ringing. A study showed that the three most annoying noise sources, including conversation, ringing phones, and machines had a significant impact on the workforce. So invest in good quality office design and equipment and be clear about noise control as this can make your staff very unsatisfied and lower productivity.
Workplaces should be a place where people feel relaxed and energised to work leading to increased productivity. Is your workplace up to scratch?