With almost a third of our lives spent at work, it is important to consider how we feel and function during this time. The office is a place to be comfortable, productive, creative, and social. It is the design of the office that will allow you to feel and think easily.
Perhaps, you have never consciously thought about how your mood and even functionality are determined by your surroundings. But you probably have fought for a window seat or changed the color of the walls and trim to suit your tastes. This is just one way we see the psychological effects of our work and living space.
This is not just something for the employee to consider either. Employers should be increasingly aware of the desire millennials have to be happy and productive in their professional pursuits, not merely properly compensated.
By allowing your employees the opportunity to decorate their homes in whatever way suits them best, you will increase the feeling of fulfillment in your workforce. This promotes better company culture because employees who are happy and fulfilled in their work will be more productive and less likely to look for ways to skip work — like calling in sick.
If you are an employee looking to improve your workspace, or an employer looking to increase the quality of company culture this article is for you. Here are four ways you can create a positive and happy work environment.
- Own your space!
Bring in your personal effects, like pictures, cup holders, or even a potted ficus. This is tantamount to tagging your territory and creating sovereignty over your small kingdom. Being keenly involved with your surroundings is important for feeling in control of your work and this can increase your productivity by as much as 32%.
As an employer, it is a good idea to allow your employees freedom in creating their personal space. You may even designate a certain amount of stipends that will allow them to add some personal touches to make themselves feel at “home” even when away from home.
These highly productive and motivated employees will often keep sticky notes, family photos, and healthy snacks. Follow this link to see what your workspace says about you.
- Take advantage of windows and plants
I once was working as an engineer in the basement of a very drab building. We would often arrive before dawn and leave after sunset. We spent the days enclosed within white walls that were free of all decorations or design features. Picture roller blinds are a great way to incorporate some art work or branding into the office in a practical way.
We grew more and more desirous of nature as we worked and would get to drawing windows on the chalkboards and dreaming of beautiful landscapes. Why did we resort to this solution to our issue? We were looking for the relief that comes from natural surroundings.
If you don’t have the luxury of windows, never fret. Bring all that nature closer to you. By adding a small plant or mini waterfall, you can bring the soothing colors and sounds of nature right to your workspace.
- Pay attention to color, lighting, and shape
Studies have shown that different colors have a great effect on the mind and body. Blue and green are great for encouraging creativity and red seems to help the mind pay closer attention to the details. Lighting has an equally powerful effect on the mind. Dimmer lights are great for relaxing the mind and promoting creativity, brighter lights sharpen analytical skills and evaluative thinking.
Using the circle and avoiding the square is another good way to keep the mind active and trigger brain activity. Sitting in a circle also encourages teamwork and collaborative efforts — it seems King Arthur knew exactly what he was doing.
- Plan first
Can’t decide exactly what you want your place to look like? You certainly don’t want to be working backward over what you have already accomplished. I completely understand.
When my husband and I began renting, we were in a home that had tan walls, art, couches, furnishings, and other details. We wanted to make everything a little more comfortable by adding some walls and putting in shelves and we were very thankful that our landlord allowed us to drill some holes in the walls.
We wanted to do this right. So, we used Lucidchart which allows you to upload photos of your wall and change the designs and colors as you wish. Here is a sample of how this worked when we used this especially handy program. You can see the original photos as well as the diagrams from Lucidchart and the final products.