From the space we inhabit to the space we work, feeling comfortable, safe and happy are always top priorities. Human and environmental health are linked, and to ensure employees have a space where collaboration, connection, and conversation can happen means providing flexibility in the workplace.
In a report done in Gensler’s Workplace Index, it was emphasized that giving employees multiple spaces at work will increase productivity, engagement, and overall happiness. These spaces include somewhere they can focus, somewhere to collaborate, a place to learn, and an area to socialize. The key is to move away from thinking of a workplace as a single floor plan, and instead shift toward multiple layouts. Productive offices often have cubicles, conference rooms, smaller meeting rooms, a lounge or lunch area, and larger presentation rooms. These spaces give employees the option to to adjust their workspace however they need.
Plants are another way to increase employee well being that is often overlooked. In a workplace, plants have been proven to decrease stress, increase productivity, and reduce sickness. A 2010 study by the University of Technology in Sydney showed that by simply having one plant visible from each desk, employee anxiety dropped by 37%, there was a 44% decrease in anger, and employee fatigue levels fell by 38%. Though the researchers note that the sample size was small, “This study shows that just one plant per workspace can provide a very large lift to staff spirits, and so promote well being and performance.”
At Parsons, we work in an open office decorated with plants, bouncing ideas off of one another while also respecting the fact that we need individual work times during the day. Finding a system that works for your company will encourage a safe, collaborative space for employees to thrive.