When people think of work-life balance, they tend to think the time they get to spend outside of their jobs. However, considering how much time is spent in our work environments, it makes more sense that improving our workspace makes the greatest impact in creating a better work-life balance.
Here, we discuss the impact office design has over work-life balance and what you can do to improve yours.
Invest in Comfort
We spend the bulk of our time at our jobs during the week, so if it’s uncomfortable, that carries into life outside of work too. Comfortable employees are happier, and ergonomic furniture can make spending an 8 hour day at a desk easier by offering better lumbar and neck support, and an overall comfortable seat.
You can also choose adjustable desks and workstations so monitors and keyboards are positioned at an ideal height. This helps to promote better posture and reduces back pain and stiff necks.
Lighting also plays a part in comfort. In fact, extensive research on the effects of artificial light has show that people who are exposed to a decent amount of natural light are “significantly more alert” as the day progresses, while those without much exposure to natural light are “significantly sleepier.”
Maintain A Reliable Work Environment
If procedures and work processes are essential to how your company runs, then maintaining structural consistency will benefit your employee’s experience and even their home life. A study on the journal of management shows that stressful, or unsupportive work environments play a significant role in work-to-family conflicts.
When employees work in places with consistency and organization, it makes a huge difference, because knowing what to expect each day reduces anxiety and stress.
Work-to-family conflict was linked to job dissatisfaction, turnover intentions, and stress at work. If your employees don’t have a good work-life balance, you can expect to see the effects in their work performance at some point.
Create Harmonious Work Spaces
Actually enjoying your work space and feeling relaxed in it is the key to a great work and life balance. Cramped working conditions or not feeling like you have your own space is known to increase stress. You can set up your workstations so that they’re accommodating all team members by implementing the following:
- Sound control
- Task-specific work stations
- Smart arrangement
- Uplifting colours
- Natural lighting
By keeping these tips in mind and creating spaces that provide personal space, while not cutting off communication with other employees, you’ll achieve a balance that supports many different personalities.
Improve Work-Life Balance with Quality Break Areas
Is your current break area a retreat, or are you storing filing cabinets, paper shredders, and copy machines in there as well? For your break area to truly feel like a place for employees to get away from work, it needs to be free of all work-related items and equipment.
You can improve your break area with comfortable seating, and make sure it accommodates enough people so no one is left without a seat.
Another component of a quality break area includes a kitchen space. If you typically go out for lunch, you’re well aware how much time can be wasted either in line, in traffic, or otherwise getting to and from your destination. A job site with a kitchen that at least contains a fridge, microwave, (or toaster oven) and coffee maker is a huge bonus.
Create a Designated “Quiet Space”
Different personality types thrive under different working conditions, but there are a few ways you can accommodate both. Introverts or anyone having a rough day or needing to decompress can really benefit from the concept of “quiet spaces.”
These spaces provide an area to step away and get a mental break. They differ from break rooms because a break room can still be bustling with chit-chat, running microwaves, laughter, or other equipment that sometimes ends up sharing space in a break room.
This space should be uncluttered and free of all company materials. Instead, fill it with soft music, plants or art, comfortable seating, and reading material. Make it known that a quiet space should be a calming space, not a lounge for chatter.
What we can see is that a good work-life balance starts in the workplace. If you can create a space with some of these principles in mind, you’ll have employees that come to work feeling more refreshed, positive, and resistant end-of-the-week burnout.