Numerous studies have confirmed the enormous importance of workplace environments on the psychological wellbeing of employees. Basically, creating an extraordinary workplace can pay significant dividends, and the environment, which is the physical place where employees do their work, has a key role to play, because it is the place where people interact and where performance is expressed. Simply put, happy employees mean bigger profits,
There are companies that have in fact understood this, and have consequently adapted their working environments according to the message they wanted to convey.
Google was founded in 1998 by Larry Page and Sergey Brin, and the company changed the history of the internet with the introduction of search engines. Having literally started by working from a garage, it went on to open its headquarters in California. Since then, Google has become a powerhouse, but the point of interest here is that Google headquarters is like a small town. They have everything, from gourmet restaurants, to on-site doctors, and everything in between, including an exact replica of Richard Branson’s private spaceship, and heated toilet seats! Other companies such as Facebook and Wegmans take a similar approach.
The more invested and enthusiastic people are about their work, the more successful their organisation will be. Studies show that happy employees are more productive, more creative, and provide better client services. They are less likely to call in sick, and are happy to act as brand ambassadors outside the office, spreading a positive message about the company, which attracts star performers to want to work there.
Research has shown how everything about the office environment influences performance: from design to shape, from the structure of an office to the colour scheme and furniture. The right environment promotes creativity, stimulates discussion, and trains the mind.
In the same way, offices with grey walls, and cold rooms with dilapidated furniture do not inspire employees’ creativity in any way, shape, or form.
Over the years, in their constant quest to create the right working environment, many companies have tried to adapt. There was a time when companies adopted the open space formula with everyone working in a large, shared environment. The idea behind it was to increase production, but from a creative point of view, working all together proved to be very distracting. In fact, the open space layout works well for teamwork, but seems to hinder individual concentration. If the job in hand involves straightforward teamwork, that's fine, but when an employee needs privacy, they usually end up pretty frustrated working in open office environments.
Therefore, when designing offices, a company should take into account the needs of each individual department, and provide environments for concentrating in solitude, as well as some for exchange, social contact and discussion.
A working environment includes all aspects of how a place is made. Some studies have revealed that not only can the height of the ceiling influence creativity, but the colours of the walls also stimulate thought and cognitive reasoning. For example, red should be avoided in an office because the human mind associates it with a red traffic light, and therefore in some way with a stop sign, an alarm signal, and even blood. Exposure to the colour red is therefore often associated with failure. In proofreading, however, the red ballpoint pen can be the best tool for underlining mistakes.
Sound is another important component of a working environment; some workplaces are very noisy, and others are extremely quiet. A certain level of background noise can fuel creativity because it stimulates the brain to process information in an abstract way, but it can also disturb those who have to do research and need to fully concentrate. Working in the absence of background noise can be harmful for a creative person, who ends up tuning into the slightest stimuli in their environment and ends up getting distracted.
Again, it is up to the company to assess the type of environment needed depending on the nature of the work to be done.