Work environments have an essential influence on employees and organizations’ productivity and success. Workplace design is the physical environment that should encourage employees’ well being in order to achieve productivity and collaboration.
In recent years, companies have been more concerned about its workers physical and emotional well-being. Wellness programs and encouraging a healthy lifestyle are becoming commonplace. While physical health can easily be observed and improved, emotional health is more abstract, complicated and often forgotten. Human Resource departments should be proactive to cater to employees’ emotional needs.
Emotion is important, as it is a part of who we are, and affects how we react and produce in a work force. Human Resource professionals need to understand how a workplace design can shape employees’ emotions to make the best performers.
Positive emotions can be triggered by a sense of belonging. Feeling connected is an essential human need. Feeling needed generates powerful emotions and creates commitment between employees themselves and between employees and an organization. Employees need to feel acknowledged, and know that their effort is not going to waste. Furthermore, relationships at a workplace strengthen employees’ engagement and increase performance. So what workplace design can fulfill those needs?
One popular trend is the occurrence of open work-spaces, which are said to increase creativity and collaboration. As an added bonus the company gets to save money on construction! An open office design is ideal for extroverts. However, for those who prefer privacy or whose work requires extreme concentration, unwanted conversations and other distractions can impede productivity.
One survey indicated that focused workers are 57 percent more able to collaborate, 88 percent more able to learn and 42 percent more able to socialize. Therefore offices should combine a variety of design options to meet the needs for both collaboration and privacy. For instance, open spaces could be used for collaboration and socialization, while private offices could be made available for employees in need of some extra privacy.
Facebook has recently opened their new 430000 square foot open floor plan office. It appears to fulfill the organization’s 2000 employees’ needs. It will be interesting to see if this trend has been taken way too far.