Whether you’re starting out a career from home or building your first business, designing your office is going to be one of the first tasks on your list. Take it from me, this is one thing you want to do properly, too, because a healthy working life starts in the office where you spend a large chunk of each day.
Aside from creating an office that helps you crack on and hit your business targets, you need a space that promotes a healthy mind and body. Here’s what you need to think about before you design your first office.
Create separate working spaces
Office design has changed a lot over the past few decades and big businesses have turned their backs on rigid office environments, in favor of more flexible and creative working spaces. This is because conclusive results from countless studies over the past 25+ years telling us that people work more effectively when they have a variety of workspaces to utilise.
So instead of working from a single office, modern designs tend to create a mix of open collaborative spaces, private working booths and meeting rooms – as well as recreational spaces for staff to relax and bond.
The variety of different work settings is important for keeping the mind engaged and interested but these different spaces should also be designed to help employees complete a variety of tasks more effectively.
“The workplace should always support employees in their work. A smart office should be centred on the people working there. What attracts and motivates them to be able to perform at their best? In order to achieve maximum workplace productivity an office should be designed for flexibility. Flexible in a way that it is accessible to be used every day depending on different activities, and that it is open for changes and innovation over time.” – Office Principles
This can be tricky if you’re working from home and you’ve got limited space to work with, but you can still create separate workspaces. Dedicate a small part of your kitchen for break times and a round of sending emails in the morning, plus other less intensive activities you can do while enjoying a coffee.
Then move into your dedicated office when the time comes to really make things happen and hit your targets. Finally, do what you can with your garden or a nearby outside space that can act as a natural getaway and a thinking space.
Create a healthy office for your mind and body
All of the research into office design over the past few decades has pointed towards the impact it has on worker satisfaction, mental health and psychical performance. Whether you’re an employer or a professional working from home, you have a responsibility to create a healthy workspace for both mind and body.
- Buy the right furniture: Make sure it’s comfortable and promotes a good posture.
- Have space for exercise: Stretching, yoga and the occasional walk can all help reduce the health implications of sitting down for too long.
- Promote healthy eating: A kitchen where people can cook or prepare healthy meals instead of buying pre-packed and processed food.
- Let the light in: Natural light boost morale, productivity, vitamin D levels and general mental health.
- Get some plants: Green plants have also been found to improve morale and the productivity of office staff.
- Reduce ambient noise: Distracting noises are a productivity killer so block out what you can.
- Keep it ventilated: Fresh air, low concentrations of CO2 and other pollutants.
- Keep it tidy: A tidy workplace is a more productive and pleasant place to be.
Your first office should be a productive place but also a healthy place for you to get things done. This starts with mental wellbeing but office life can have a wide range of impacts on physical health, too, which is something you need to think about when it comes to choosing furniture and getting a healthy amount of exercise throughout the day.