In today’s post-pandemic landscape, the office landscape has become a crucial battleground for employers and employees alike. From Elon Musk’s declaration that work from home employees should ‘pretend to work’ somewhere else, to the permanent work from anywhere attitude embraced by companies such as Airbnb and Atlassian, the place of the office environment in working life will be critical going forward.
While some pre-pandemic ideologies such as a fixed location workspace and open plan office areas may be changing, another movement is afoot. That is, simply, improving employee environments to improve employee outcomes – so that they are not simply corporate monochromatic entities such as those seen in Gattaca, but something that embraces that modernity and flexibility of today’s world.
Let’s explore some of the elements that are considered in modern office design, and how they can form some of the strategies that employers can use to create and maintain a calm environment for their teams.
The Nose Knows – The Benefits of a Nice Smelling Workplace
One of the elements that can assist in the development of a calm environment is the use of familiarity. While that seems like a fairly broad term, at its core it asks, how can we use the environment of our homes to present an everyday sense of comfort and security to the workplace?
Everyone lives in a different environment, so ultimately the answer may vary across your team. However, the use of products such as wholesale aroma supplies and air purifiers can provide employees with the choice to customise their spaces in a way that suits their individuality.
Presenting options to employees enables them to foster an environment that meets their personal needs. As a result, calmer environments will naturally follow. Consider this – have you ever found yourself angry when surrounded by a scent that made you feel calm and content?
Space Invader to Space Escaper – Considering the Effective Use of Space
Another thing to consider is the use of space. A cluttered environment is not necessarily comfortable for employees, nor is it overly effective. Reducing the amount of clutter and the sense of claustrophobia in the workplace can go a long way in addressing the needs of employees.
While, as an initial concept, the idea of reducing clutter may not make sense, it becomes remarkably easy to understand once you have experienced the inefficiencies of clutter. For example, take this paragraph – three or four complex sentences, that could have easily been compacted and clarified into a single statement. Instead, you’re still reading this paragraph and thinking you could take a leaf out of Marie Kondo’s work and tidy it up into something meaningful and useful.
That, simply, is the power of decluttering. It makes things efficient, and being realistic – reading two short sentences makes you feel a lot calmer, right?
All Employees Need Some Private Time
It goes without saying that there’s been a trend in the office space in recent decades, with a shift towards open-plan office environments. Prior to the pandemic, as much as 70% of all office-based employees were working in some form of open-plan environment. That’s a huge statistic, and reflective of the desire for modern employers to reduce expensive construction costs to promote a perceived benefit of ongoing collaboration and involvement in the office. All-day, every day – is it any wonder that employees are feeling more comfortable in their home offices, without employers breathing down their necks?
Recent research has revealed the detrimental impacts that open-plan offices have had on the well-being of employees. Regular background sound, simply put, is disruptive to employee performance.
Unfortunately, open plan offices are here to stay. Therefore, it’s imperative for employers to find innovative solutions to improve the quality of their workspaces. That may involve the use of technology such as acoustic dampeners to provide quiet zones or the inclusion of meeting rooms and private areas in new office spaces.
Ultimately, there may ways that an employer can create a calming environment for their teams. Whether that be with the use of smells, the efficient use of offices or the enhancement of private spaces, there are plenty of options in our post-pandemic world.