Encouraging Happiness in the Workplace Through Furniture Selection and Interior Design

A recent study conducted on behalf of National Business Furniture shows that happiness at the workplace is greatly impacted by the design and comfort of your workspace surroundings.

The war for talent is on. In every industry and every sector of the economy, companies are struggling to find the high-skilled workers who will drive their business forward. With unemployment rates at an 18-year low, the most talented people aren’t looking to find work; businesses are out looking to find them.

As a manager, this means you have two problems you need to solve: recruiting new employees to meet the growing needs of your business and, more importantly, retaining the best people already in your organization.

Typically, the answer to bridging the talent gap is to throw money at the problem. That works in many cases, but it’s not sustainable and the positive effects are often short lived. There will always be another company that can offer more money or benefits. Strategizing a different way to attract and keep people is critical.

Improving employee happiness is what forward-thinking companies are focusing on to keep up with the demand for talent. By improving culture and employee satisfaction, organizations are realizing a competitive advantage over organizations that rely on salary alone. Obviously, there are a lot of factors that impact happiness, but one factor that has a significant impact on existing and potential employees alike is the physical space in which your employees work.

 A recent study conducted on behalf of National Business Furniture shows that happiness at the workplace is greatly impacted by the design and comfort of your workspace surroundings. Nearly 92 percent of working Americans state there’s at least one aspect of their physical space that makes them unhappy at work. By addressing a few key findings from this study, you’ll be able to increase happiness in your workplace.

1. Bring some privacy back into your space.

  • In the spirit of collaboration, the open-office concept has taken hold across many offices. The promise of a dynamic office free from the constraints of cubicles was tempered by the fact that many people lost privacy and focus. If you do have an open-concept floorplan, add some areas that provide some seclusion and privacy so people can shift to focus-type work. This doesn’t necessitate doing a complete office redesign. Simply adding a grouping of semi-private workstations or divider panels to separate certain areas can go a long way in providing a variety of spaces where workers feel comfortable.

2. Sit (or stand) in comfort.

  • When asked what would help improve happiness at the office, 43 percent of respondents answered with “a comfortable office chair.” No wonder why—we spend more than eight hours a day in our chairs. Too often, those chairs are uncomfortable left-overs within the office that are not correctly sized for the user. Give your employees the joy of a good seat. Forget the cheap chairs you’ll find in big-box stores, but don’t feel like you need to spend $1,000 for a high-end one either. 
  • Even better, introduce standing-height desks or riser platforms to allow your employees to alternate from sitting to standing. There are numerous medical studies linking all-day sitting with increased blood pressure and heart disease. Pairing a great chair with an adjustable-height desktop will give your employees the best of both worlds.

3. Step up the tech.

  • Some 61 percent of respondents noted that dealing with outdated technology also placed a drag on their happiness. Ask your team what they need to make their job more efficient. Dual monitors, corporate Wi-Fi, videoconferencing, and communication tools such as Slack all help employees work more seamlessly within their roles and with their teams.

4. Bring the green.

  • Add plants throughout your office to bring the serenity of nature into your space. Having natural elements within the office provides a calming presence, and they also can be used as creative space dividers. Plants help break up the monotonous feeling many workspaces have. When thinking about employee happiness, don’t underestimate the power of plants.

Of course, every business has different needs and a different culture to consider. Start with asking your teams what would make their time at the office more enjoyable. Hear them out and act on some of those ideas. With a few small changes to your space, you can create big, positive changes in your employees’ happiness. Remember, the war for talent will be won with happiness.

Dean Stier is Chief Marketing Officer for National Business Furniture, a company dedicated to helping people create amazing workplaces through beautiful design and furniture. For more information, visit: www.nationalbusinessfurniture.com or e-mail: deans@nbf.com


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