Designing an Office to Support Your Employees

Designing an Office to Support Your Employees

Every important trend has a human element that we ignore or don’t consider. This can happen when designing and planning an office for maximum productivity. It’s important to remember that the end result has to support the people who work there.

Sounds obvious, right?


Photo: Global eO+ Panels

But we often put things before people. Look at it this way.

In the past, what did web designers do to rank a website high? They worked to get the attention of the search engines while ignoring the needs of the people who read the site. Keywords were stuffed into articles even if that hurt the readability and cheapened the user’s experience.

But now, pleasing the human reader is the most important variable in ranking a site.

The same can be said for the office as noted in this post, The Best Office Spaces are Responsive to Employee Needs. We have all this great technology, but do we use it to support the employees as well as we possibly can? A well-designed office weighs the needs of the people.


Photo: OFS Obeya Archtectural Structures

Know Your Ergonomics

Ergonomics is the study of fitting a working environment to people, instead of making people fit the environment. Providing height-adjustable desks, proper office lighting, ergonomic chairs and accessories are part of creating a workplace that allows workers to move at their best.

Photo: 9to5 Seating @nce Chair

Design with a focus on ergonomics and you’ll make great strides toward having an office where people are supported as they focus on their tasks.

Achieve that by laying out a floorplan and then deciding what furnishings are necessary.


Photo: Cherryman Amber Collection

Get Input

Ask your employees what matters to them. How do they work best and what would they like to see in a work area? Create a scale like the one in the article 7 Factors of Great Office Design in the Harvard Business Review.

Ask your team how strongly they prefer permanent walls compared to open spaces, or if they like spaces that “promote conversation and lingering.”

Define Spaces

Make areas well defined. That may seem easy to do, but if space is at a premium, then it’s not easy to separate workspaces with lounge areas or the breakroom.


Photo: Nevins Climb Multi-Level Seating

Make areas for workstations clear with enough storage to reduce clutter. Keep break areas clean and make sure personal areas in an open office setting are quiet.

If your space has room for a rec area, then bring in foosball tables or ping pong tables that easily fold and can easily be moved when extra space is needed.

Plan Easy Navigation

A supportive office is easy to navigate for people whose sight is impaired and face challenges moving around. Have workstations in clearly designated areas with clear pathways that lead to personal quiet areas and breakrooms.


Photo: Friant Dash Revitalize 

Use indoor plants to create boundaries between defined areas. The plants help to deflect sound waves, freshen the air and add a touch of color.


Photo: Nevins Climb Multi-Level Seating 

Light Up

Natural light is welcomed in the office. Enlarge windows as much as possible and use skylights or solar tubes to bring in as much of the sun as you can.

Photo: Global Bridges Benching Series

Light is a natural morale booster. It helps employees get into a rhythm of sleeping well at night and staying as alert as possible during the day. Use desk lamps at workstations and computer areas so workers don’t have to strain their eyes to see.

Make sure stairwells and other darkened areas are well lit to reduce the chance of accidents.


Photo: Koncept Gravy Lighting

When laying out a plan and designing an office to support your employees, evaluate your ideas by asking, “How will these conditions benefit the people working here?”

Designing an Office to Support Your Employees

Get expert input on your space planning needs. The team at 2010 Office Furniture has nearly 50 years of experience in helping Southern California’s most distinguished corporations, universities, and other nonprofit organizations.

Read Also: Plan Your Office Branding for the Employee Experience
Main Photo: OFS Heya
Resources & Special Thanks to Respective Product Manufacturers: 9to5 Seating, Cherryman, Friant, Global, Koncept, Nevins and OFS

Energize Your Office with Movement

Energize Your Office with Movement AMQ Kinex

A productive office emphasizes smart movement over a sedentary lifestyle. It’s important to learn how to energize your office with movement that’s good for the body, mind and overall well-being of employees. Moving comes in many ways that are beneficial.

The Problem with Not Moving

Sitting during the workday begins before you arrive at the office. Once you leave home, you may be sitting in the car for thirty minutes and up to an hour on freeways and streets.

Guess what’s happening during that time?

Stress is building. Yesterday’s troubles may still on your mind, or you may have to change routes because of an accident. Anxiousness can kick in while you wonder if you’re going to make it into the office in time for that important meeting or call.

Your mind is active, but you’re physically confined.

So when you get to the office and make it to your workstation, you may be buzzing inside and all fidgety when you’re confined at your desk again.

Sound familiar?


Photo: OFS Genus Chair and Heya Lounge

In recent office history, employees were considered productive when they were sitting at desks and quietly absorbed in their work. The longer they sat still, the better. Those who stretched or got up often for a drink of water or trip to the bathroom were suspected of not focusing or working hard.

In the modern office, that attitude is changing with plenty of studies showing the benefits of moving instead of remaining in one physical place or posture.

Why?

Sitting or standing in one position stresses knees, elbows and ligaments. Posture suffers as well, and parts of the body like the neck and shoulders and lower back muscles get strained and sore. It’s a physics principal that works on inanimate objects, too, like recreational vehicles (RVs).

RVs that aren’t driven need to be on blocks so weight is taken off the tires. The air in the tires won’t circulate and the vehicle’s pressure will ultimately ruin the treads. Our bodies are similar.

Sitting at a desk for a few hours at a time makes you like that RV stuck in the driveway, especially if you’re at a workstation that doesn’t support your natural body movements.

Wonder why your brain gets foggy?
Photo: Maverick Height Adjustable Table 

When your blood isn’t circulating well then you have less oxygen flowing to where your thinking occurs.

Movement helps you maximize personal productivity.  That’s why it’s important to remember to energize your office with movement.

The Benefits of Movement in the Office

Moving is essential for learning because it ignites our mental functions. When you’re moving, blood is flowing to the brain.

Changing positions reduces weight on specific points of the body and minimizes stress on your joints.

A study advising ‘sit less, move more,’ available as an abstract by the National Institutes of Health, notes that the use of active work stations reduces fatigue levels and lower back discomfort.

The study, focused on six universities in Spain, concluded that simply reducing “insufficient physical activity” by 10 minutes had health benefits. Ratcheting movement up to two hours a day was highly recommended.


Photo: Energize your office with movement with Humanscale Office Ergonomics

Here are simple ways to add movement in the office and promote employee wellness.

  • Supply ergonomic chairs that support a person’s weight and allow natural movements
  • Use height adjustable desks
  • Think of “90/10” – 90 minutes in one position, followed by 10 minutes of movement
  • Encourage stretching exercises at workstations
  • Use good posture while on phone calls
  • Allow working in different areas, including out of the office
  • Take brief walks at lunchtime
  • Make water breaks part of the day
  • Install a treadmill or two if space allows
  • Bring in a masseuse once or twice a month to give chair massages

Quality ergonomic chairs like the Humanscale Freedom Task Chair are engineered for movement. A chair like this adjusts to the user’s weight automatically, including a “weight-sensitive recline system.” Armrests are adjustable allowing for a comfortable posture when typing on a keyboard and looking at a monitor.

Photo: Humanscale Freedom Chair

Desks like the Maverick Height Adjustable Desk are useful for executive offices, reception areas or for shared work surfaces. An employee can sit with a desk surface that’s just right for them or raise the desktop and stand to change positions.

Make Movement Part of the Office Culture

Moving more in the office means you’ll also have to trust employees for acting responsibly and to take charge of accomplishing their goals. Don’t expect to look over their shoulders and micro-manage their work.

Stay in communication. Set deadlines they have to meet, no matter the location they’re in.

Photo: AIS Height Adjustable Table

The Covid-19 pandemic tossed the office environment into chaos when stay-at-home orders were issued and the familiar workplace suddenly changed. Virtual meetings became normal and expected.

If you have employees who want to sit at their workstations and then switch locations to another part of the office temporarily that form of movement can be healthy. If someone wants to go home early and finish the workday there, or even in a park, then that could a helpful way to minimize stress.

A smartphone itself is an amazing communication tool with its access to social media platforms that allow video and text messaging for updates and progress reports from anywhere with a wi-fi signal.

Movement doesn’t mean a lack of productivity or skipping out on work.

Space Planning is Essential


Photo: AIS Day to Day Powerbeam

The team at 2010 Office Furniture knows that an office isn’t just a collection of useful furniture. They’ll help you arrange your workspace to help energize your office with movement, to promote office health, productivity and effective communication.

Share your office design and space planning needs with 2010 Office to get the layout that addresses your needs most effectively.

2010 Office Furniture supplies Southern California’s most distinguished companies, from large corporations and prestigious universities to leading nonprofits in Los Angeles County, Orange County, and the Inland Empire.

Contact 2010 Office Furniture and share your thoughts.

Read Also: Social Distancing Tips and Adjusting to the Realities of Covid-19 in the Office
Main Photo: AMQ Kinex Workstations
Resources & Special Thanks to Respective Product Manufacturers: AMQ SolutionsOFS, Maverick Desk, Humanscale & AIS