The Surprising Ways You Can Manipulate Your Work Environment To Your Advantage
Companies are continually looking for new and innovative ways to get better at what they do. And one of the most promising avenues to achieve that is through improving the working environment. For years, companies insisted on having dull and drab environments, believing that their priority was to keep costs down. But as the value of the people component of organizations goes up, that set of priorities no longer makes any sense. In any business, it’s the employees who make the most significant difference.
Granted, you may not have an office full of workers at your disposal. Heck, you might not have a staff at all. But that doesn’t mean that you can’t manipulate your work environment to your advantage. Here’s how you can change the place in which you do your job for the better.
Introduce Green Plants
Research suggests that people feel their best when out in nature. We evolved living among greenery, so it makes sense that we would respond positively when in an environment filled with plants. Offices that introduce a substantial number of plants to their interior environments see an improvement in air quality, lower absenteeism, and happier and more productive staff.
Make Your Flooring More Attractive
Workers spend a lot of their time looking down at the floor. Most places of work are either covered in cheap, durable carpet or raw concrete, depending on the setting. Making your flooring more attractive might sound like a small thing, but it can make a big difference in how your place of work feels. Simply using polished concrete instead of raw can have a dramatic effect on the overall atmosphere of a building, making it feel more professional and welcoming. For offices, using wooden flooring can help to make the setting feel more relaxed and smell better. Wood doesn’t collect pollution brought in on people’s shoes as carpet does.
In the 1970s, building designers started patching up all the gaps in buildings that could lead to heat exchange with the outside environment because of the ongoing energy crisis. And while this was a good idea from an energy saving perspective, it now means that many workplaces are chronically under-ventilated. Evidence presented in National Geographic suggests that when ventilation is poor, cognitive function declines.
Researchers changed the levels of ventilation in a building to see whether it had an impact on workers. They didn’t tell the workers that they were halving the ventilation. Halving the ventilation appeared to halve performance, suggesting that air flow is one of the most powerful tools that businesses can manipulate to increase productivity.
Use Building Layouts Which Encourage Physical Activity
The drive in the 20th century was to make working environments as productive as possible – or at least, that was the goal. Businesses hired special consultants who told them how to arrange their office spaces for maximum output. But the problem is that many of their suggestions led to reduced physical activity by workers. And this, in turn, made people more lethargic. Now progressive workplaces are incorporating design features, like stairwells, that encourage people to be more active.