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How Your Office Space Affects Your Mood



Do you ever feel tired, cranky, and wiped out at work? If you’re like many Americans, then the answer is yes. But did you know you can take action to improve your mood in the office? To boost mood, morale, and productivity, consider these simple ways you can tweak your office space to positively benefit you and your employees.

Improve Your Lighting

As Biz Journals reports, “lighting in the workplace affects employees emotionally, psychologically, and physically.” Optimal lighting can lift moods and lead to productive employees, but poor lighting — both over-lit and under-lit — can lead to stress, headaches, and eye strain. Forbes reports on one study by Mirjam Muench that found that employees who work in natural light were more alert and productive than those who worked in artificial light.

So how do you let the right amount of light in? Start by promoting natural light. According to Northwestern University, natural light can improve health and quality of sleep, so don’t be afraid to open up the shades and get rid of workspace dividers that block sunlight from employees’ desk areas.

But you can’t rely on natural light alone, especially if you have people working in the evening. Consider installing adjustable lights. This will allow you to tweak the lighting in the workplace depending on the time of day and the weather.

Adjust Your Layout

When it comes to improving employees’ mood and productivity, office layout is not the first solution you might think of. However, it can have a huge impact on how people feel.

The first obvious layout solution is to arrange workstations to receive more natural light. Consider, for instance, eliminating cubicles or installing low-level workspace dividers so that employees working toward the middle of the room aren’t completely shaded from natural lighting.

Another layout option that is becoming more popular is the open-plan layout, compared to a cubicle or private office solution. The open-plan layout allows for a more social environment. Not only does this enhance collaboration opportunities, but a social atmosphere can lead to happier employees. You may even want to experiment with having employees’ desks facing each other, too. Granted, open-plan layouts are not the right solution for every office space.

Accent With the Right Colors

Although it may not seem like it makes a huge impact, color can greatly affect your mood. Chances are you’ve experienced this concept first-hand. For example, bright blue skies tend to make people happier than gloomy, cloudy skies.

As IHeartIntelligence.com reports, the colors you choose to remodel your home with can have a direct impact on how you feel. The same applies to office décor. Start with a white neutral base for the walls. This will help sunlight reflect to bring in more natural light while making the space feel bigger.

Then, accent with a light shade of green, purple, or blue. Green will evoke feelings of comfort while relieving stress. Purple shades like lavender and lilac set a peaceful mood, while light blues literally help lower blood pressure and help people relax.

Avoid accenting with harsh colors, such as bright red, which can elevate blood pressure, and bright yellow, which can cause people to become angry quickly.

Place Plants Nearby

The Guardian reports that workplace plants can help boost employee happiness. As they say, “Offices devoid of pictures, souvenirs or any other distractions are ‘the most toxic space’ you can put a human into.

So don’t be afraid to bring a bit of nature inside! Consider placing tall floor plants in corners and then encouraging employees to bring in their own for their desks.

How many plants should you have? The Guardian reports on a study that placed one plant per square meter. With this simple change, employee memory retention increased significantly.

Control Temperature and Humidity

If you’ve ever tried working in a room that’s too hot or too cold, then you know how hard it can be when you’re either sweating or shivering. A comfortable temperate environment not only makes employees happier, but it makes them more productive! One study on office workers found that in colder, less comfortable temperatures, typing mistakes increased by 74 percent while overall productivity decreased by 46 percent.

As Forbes tells us, low temperatures can increase feelings of loneliness and sadness. Try to keep your office temperatures between 65 and 70 degrees, but feel free to tweak these settings based on employee preferences. You’ll also want to keep the humidity level between 40 and 50 percent, which is best for health and comfort according to Thermastor.com.

Regulate the Noise Level

You’ve likely experienced the effects of a noisy room on your mood. When you’re trying to work and your kids are playing loudly in the next room, you quickly get annoyed. The same concept applies in an office. Traffic and road work outside the windows, for instance, can become distracting, and loud workplaces can even cause adrenaline spikes in workers. Noisy workplaces also affect posture, which can impact physical health and wellbeing. One way to regulate this noise is by installing noise absorption materials in the building.

But outside noises aren’t the only distractions. Even the buzz of computers in a quiet environment can irritate employees. But it’s not about creating a completely silent environment. That can drive people nuts as well. Instead, you might play music to drown out unpleasant noises.

If there’s internal workplace noise from socializing employees, consider designating a separate area for socializing so that workers aren’t distracted by those on break.

When you know something needs to change in the office to boost employees’ moods and productivity, don’t just consider raising wages and providing more benefits. While that may help to some extent, the real trick is building an environment where people feel safe, comfortable, and happy. You can start with the tips mentioned above, but don’t be afraid to get your employees’ input as well to truly design an office space that will make the whole team happier.

Which one of these tips will you start with to boost moods in your office?

Author Bio : Jordan Shapiro Senior Project Manager, ASI
Managing General Partner, San Diego Office & Modular Design

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