Many people overlook the importance of design in the workplace. I am not talking about product design, rather how office design helps to make a better workplace by creating a space that everyone enjoys. The benefits include reduced costs, increased productivity, better quality, and better engagement among others. When you get down to it, design and ergonomics are extremely important, so let’s look at five reasons how a well-designed workplace helps you and your employees:
- Reduce Costs due to Injury
Good design not only ensures that workflows properly, it also makes sure that employees are not standing (or sitting) in uncomfortable positions for hours on end. This has a direct cost benefit. According to the Department of Labor, Musculoskeletal Disorders (MSDs) ‘are among the most frequently reported causes of lost or restricted work time.’
MSDs are not limited to factories and warehouses. In fact, offices workers are also at risk. This is due to poorly designed desks and chairs, as well as routines which force office workers to remain in uncomfortable positions for hours on end. One example of a how ergonomics is being incorporated into office design are standing desks. These desks allow workers to adjust their position during the day and the Smithsonian Magazine recently noted these desks haveseveral health benefits.
- Well Designed Workplaces = Fun Workplaces
A big part of design is the visual aspect! In fact, good design can also increase workplace happiness by creating more interaction, by boosting employee efficiency and by looking beautiful. It can also have a huge impact on your customers. Take, for example, this modern dental office redesign. Who would have thought that going to the dentist would look, and feel so good? In the case of a dental office, a well designed workplace not only gives employees a great place to work, but it also can help to reduce patient anxiety about the visit.
- Increases Employee Engagement
No one wants to come to work in a tired, run-down environment. It should be no surprise that employees react positively to offices and factories designed to make them feel involved.
Think about it. Would you rather sit in a windowless office for eight hours a day, or would come to work in a place with tons of light and space? I know what my answer would be. What about you?
One benefit is that the light and space makes everyone more open and engaged. Another benefit is that workers can choose the workspace which best fits the job at hand. It could be setting up a special work group, or reacting to a realignment in the industry. Either way, good design helps to keep everyone engaged.
- Increased Productivity
Working in a well-organized and well-designed workplace makes everyone more productive. According to the Interior Design Association ‘workplace design should enable [employees] to do their jobs easily, while remaining flexible.’ Ensuring employees are working in comfortable positions will keep them from tiring. In addition, fewer unnecessary motions at better heights and reaches increases efficiency. This creates a virtuous cycle. As one employee becomes more productive, others will as well which raises the performance of the entire team.
- Improved Quality
Quality is everyone’s job, but having a well-designed workplace goes a long way to making it easier to achieve. A poorly designed workplace can lead to tired and frustrated workers who will cut corners just to get the job done. Depending on your industry this can be dangerous. It can also cost money as poor quality leads to lost productivity, wasted materials, and higher costs.
As you can see, a well-designed workplace helps in so many ways. It can lead to happier, healthier employees. It can also help to increase quality and productivity, as well as reducing lost time due to injury. It’s a winner for everyone.
So, if you are a business owner, then you should talk to someone who can help you improve the design of your office, factory, shop, or restaurant. You don’t need to spend a million dollars; in some cases, a small tweak can go a long way. So, find out what you can do to step up your office design game. In the end, your employees will appreciate it and your customers will take note as well.