Forget trendy furniture and ping pong tables. What employees really want from their workspaces gets back to the basics.
The Cost of a Poor Workspace Environment
Employees seek workspaces that nurture their physical, emotional, and environmental wellbeing. Research has found that when they are happy with their workspaces, employees are more productive, more present, and more loyal.
But when workspaces are uncomfortable, no employee wellness program will make up for the increase in absenteeism and lack of productivity. Workspaces with little natural light, poor ventilation, and temperatures that are too hot or cold all affect worker productivity, absenteeism, and morale.
What Your Employees Really Want
According to a Harvard Business Review survey of 1,600 workers, healthy cafeteria food, workout rooms, and wellness apps don’t make a healthy workspace. The factors that really matter to employees are environmental.
Air quality topped the list of most important workspace wellness factors, with 58 percent of respondents saying good air quality was important in the workplace. Air quality was followed by comfortable light (50 percent), water quality (41 percent), comfortable temperatures (34 percent), and comfortable acoustics (30 percent).
Your employees will spend at least 40 hours a week in your building. That’s the majority of their waking hours. If their environment is consistently poor, it’s easy to see why that could lead to increased days away and eventually a job change.
Improving the Workspace Environment
Fortunately, there are several steps employers can take to ensure they have created a comfortable, productive space for their employees. For existing buildings, consider reorganizing your desk arrangements. Put workers who prefer more light and warmer temperatures around the outside of your office, and people who prefer cooler temperatures and darker environments in the middle.
Or, consider what Cisco did and create little communities of productivity based on the level of collaboration and focus required. The company’s office offers a section for in-person collaboration, a space for teleconferencing, and a quiet area for individual tasks.
If you are building from the ground up or renovating your workspace, you have more opportunity to make big improvements to your employees’ environmental wellbeing. Work with your design team to design an HVAC system that maintains superior air quality and consistent temperatures. Capitalize on natural light. Install a sound masking system to reduce the level of distracting noise that surrounds your employees. Consider investing in technologies that allow your employees to customize the temperature and lighting around their personal workspaces.
Studies back up what may seem like common sense to many—create a comfortable environment for your employees, and in return see increases in engagement, productivity, and profitability. TMS Johnson can help you design a commercial HVAC system that improves your employees’ environmental wellbeing. Contact our team today to discover your options.