Looking and feeling good, safely – your office design essentials
An office design that looks and feels good will keep employees motivated. This is important, as motivation helps to retain the best talent and reduce business operating costs. Did you know it can cost as much as 50 to 60 percent of an employee’s annual salary to replace them? *
With this in mind, employers of choice are embracing more holistic office design to improve the work-life balance. Lounge and breakout areas, activity based work zones, multifunctional furniture—they have so much to offer staff.
Yet employers still have a duty of care to provide a safe working environment, so it is important to introduce these modern office design trends safely. Evoke Projects shows you how to make your office look and feel good, safely.
Educate staff on lounge and breakout area usage
Lounge areas are fantastic to get people away from their desks and encourage informal interaction in a relaxing environment. They are generally very popular with staff because they are inviting spaces with comfortable seating. Breakout zones also improve work-life balance, as staff feel that they have some downtime.
But what happens when employees start balancing laptops on their knees and get too comfortable on the lounge to move to a desk? This can lead to poor work posture and back or neck strain. Overcome this risk by:
- Highlighting the intention behind the breakout zones: collaboration, relaxation and thinking.
- Explaining the adverse effects of using laptops for long periods in a non-ergonomic position.
- Providing stand-up desks within your office design as an alternative place to work.
Buy great looking ergonomic office furniture
Your office design can look modern and interesting and still be safe. You now have so much choice when it comes to ergonomic and multifunctional furniture, there is no excuse for a drab or unsafe office. Evoke’s tips:
- Stick to good quality ergonomic furniture in the main work zones.
- For a touch of modern office design and colour, add beanbags and ottomans in areas where people spend less time, or where they can be used as extra seating for occasional use.
Light up your office
Light can improve both safety and aesthetics. Good lighting is important for staff to perform their office work. If you are planning an office fit-out or refurbishment, consider changing your office design to bring in more natural daylight. Natural daylight has many health benefits that can flow through to improved motivation and productivity.
Adjustable mood lighting can really change the ambience of an office area or meeting room. Use bright lights for focusing on paperwork, or switch to a softer light for training or review meetings. Colourful mood lighting works well in some spaces, but use it sparingly.
Workplace Codes of Practice have guidelines for lighting, ventilation, heating and cooling. Although they are not legal office design requirements, it is recommended to include them in your office fit-out plans. To find out more, visit http://www.business.gov.au and search for ‘WHS Codes of Practice’.
Reconfigure office layouts carefully
With modular and multifunctional furniture, it has never been simpler to change the office layout. It’s no longer necessary to wait for the next scheduled office refurbishment. As business needs change, the office design can change in a heartbeat. Activity based working, where the office furniture varies by zone to allow for different activities, is another driver of reconfiguration.
This has wonderful benefits for the business and for employees. That said, it is imperative that workplace health and safety rules are followed. Discourage staff from moving or adjusting heavy furniture, and include guidelines in your OH&S training.
Flooring is a fundamental part of your office design. It can dramatically change the look of a whole office, but don’t get carried away with aesthetics at the cost of safety.
If you are using wood or floor tiles in your office refurbishment, consider potential slip hazards, particularly in kitchens and storage rooms. Use slip resistant floor coverings or apply anti-slip treatments to the floor.
When you are planning your office fit-out, decide upon electricity and computer requirements well in advance to avoid loose cables trailing along floors.
To find out more about safe office design that looks and feels great, please call Evoke Projects on 1300 720 692.