So, how can you tell if you need a revamp of your working space? Have you ever considered that your workplace requires optimum working functionality; otherwise your employees would never get anything done. If productivity is lagging could your working environment be to blame?
Simple updates to your working space can ensure it is working for – and not against – you and your employees. When planning an office move make sure that you don’t waste much of the space on decoration, as you will need to accommodate workstations and adequate space for circulation.
So what is ergonomics (or human factors)?
Ergonomics is not as scary as it may sound. Ergonomics is about designing for people, wherever they interact with products, systems or processes. We usually don’t notice good design (unless perhaps, it’s exceptional) because it gives us no cause to, but we do notice poor design.
The emphasis within ergonomics is to ensure that designs complement the strengths and abilities of people and minimise the effects of their limitations, rather than forcing them to adapt. In achieving this aim, it becomes necessary to understand and design for the variability represented in the population, spanning such attributes as age, size, strength, cognitive ability, prior experience, cultural expectations and goals
Ergonomics enable flexibility, or thinking beyond the desk
Work processes change, your services or products change, customer demands change, employee demographics change – your workspace should be responsive to these changes. One of the elements of physical and creative well-being is movement. Our bodies weren’t designed to sit in a 90-degree posture all day. Movement has physical and psychological benefits.
Unconventional worktops can provide a great work space for some businesses. Choose the right sort of materials and this links with durability, but it is also about ensuring maximum comfort for your employees. Replace uncomfortable seating with ergonomic alternatives. An effective workplace has a mix of spaces and postures. Ergonomics can be applied to your entire working space – aiding creativity, productivity and comfort.
Does your workplace have ‘Liveability’?
A productive workspace needs good facilities, consider the overall location in terms of some of the facilities you need include: kitchen, bathroom, car parking, information technology and telecommunications. Without these sorts of services and facilities, it is likely that the whole business will fail. This refers to how the environment supports employees’ ability to do their work.
A building ‘lives’ over time, as such, it can’t be just a flash that is designed to last for a day. It has to be able to grow with the company over time. Employees need to physically interact with other staff and readily access equipment, files, and other resources. The workspace should enable this interaction by eliminating barriers, providing ample meeting spaces, making it easy to form team areas.
Desk layouts in clusters, facing each other, can make the workspace dynamic, loud, and collaborative. Check the height of desks and chairs – these should not be causing back or neck pain. Provide employees with accessories to aid their comfort, such as wrist supports or a different style of keyboard.
Encourage movement and a variation of working positions – whether that’s stand-up meetings, or working from a comfortable sofa. Create a relaxation or ‘break out’ area for your employees to unwind. Breakout areas for staff ‘hangouts’ are important to creating informal collaboration or office chats that don’t disturb workers who have their head down on projects.
Your space is an extension of your culture and brand
Creating a positive image is vital to attracting and retaining staff and customers alike. The workspace environment needs to be welcoming, warm, even refreshing and dynamic.
Part of managing that perception is looking at all the ways customers and employees interact with the company. Brand is communicated at every customer ‘touchpoint’ from how employees answer the phone to the first impression customers receive when they walk into the building’s reception area or lobby.
The facility itself can be used to visually extend the company’s brand and convey its corporate culture. In planning the perfect place to work from there is lots to consider. First impressions are as important to workplaces as they are for individuals.
If it is old, crowded and appears stagnate then employees will not be proud of their workplace, and their performance may suffer.