Employees all over the country are faced with deciding whether to work in the office or from home. The result is a growing demand for employers to consider work-life balance and how to make office spaces more comfortable and inviting.
There are some steps employers can take while designing their offices to create a better place to spend time and be productive. This guide will take you through some aspects you can include in your office design to help create a work-life balance for your employees.
Work-Life Balance, Explained
The typical American spends much of their week at work, leaving little time for other things. Today’s workers can face a constant crush of work at all hours, from answering emails, taking calls and getting wrapped into video meetings. The intrusion of work into after-hours time adds to employee stress and fatigue.
Creating a work-life balance ensures work doesn’t take up a disproportionate amount of the employee’s life and attention. The concept involves taking more time doing enjoyable things, providing an overall more balanced lifestyle. Designing an office with this concept in mind takes some special considerations.
The Importance of a Work-Life Balance
The idea of a work-life balance makes sense from an employee’s perspective because it allows more time for leisurely activities with co-workers so they can relax, recharge and build rapport. This balance is also beneficial because happier and healthier workers are good for the business. Here are a few other pluses:
Improve Employee Performance
Work-life balance can drive employee performance. One reason is that long hours don’t allow workers to get enough rest, decreasing their ability to concentrate on the tasks at hand. The majority of employees believe they can function on only five or six hours of sleep, but research by the Wall Street Journal suggests that only 1% to 3% of people can get by without the proper rest.
Decrease Employee Turnover
Some symptoms of an employee with a poor work-life balance include irritability, negativity, and poor quality of work. All these factors can drive employee turnover because unhappy workers are unlikely to stick around long-term. You might also find yourself looking for a new staff member if sloppy work becomes the norm.
Fewer Health Problems
Stressed, overworked employees tend to suffer from more health problems. The lack of recovery time makes these individuals more susceptible to whatever bug is going around the office. Stress and lack of rest can also lead to more serious issues like high blood pressure, anxiety, depression, and obesity.
Helping your workers create a work-life balance is vital for their long-term health and for the company as a whole. There are some steps managers can take to make it easier for employees to achieve this balance, as long as they’re committed to the cause.
7 Design Tips for Creating a Work-Life Balance in the Office
One of the simplest ways to foster balance at the workplace is to change some things around the office. Designing a more relaxing and social location can help workers relax while completing their tasks, and it can even turn the office into an enjoyable place to spend some time. Here are some ways to approach that:
1. Include Task-Specific Spaces
Sitting at the same desk day after day is stressful and can make employees dread going to work. Setting up task-specific spaces, such as computer desks, reading areas, and meeting rooms, breaks up the tedious nature of spending time in the office and makes it a more balanced workplace.
2. Build Areas for Socialization
Your office could also include specific areas for co-workers to socialize. These spaces can create a sense of community within the company and allow employees to bond and enjoy some camaraderie. You might consider moving these areas away from the workstations to make them feel like a separate space.
3. Integrate Group Spaces
Including spaces for group projects can create a more collaborative environment. Having the ability to meet as a group in a comfortable room can reduce stress and, once again, break up the day’s repetitiveness.
4. Install Technology
Part of your office design could include technology in the form of mobile workstations. Anything that prevents employees from being tied to their desks all day long is a positive that helps create a work-life balance.
5. Make It Informal
A laid-back design could work for your office when trying to make it more relaxing for employees. Design elements like kitchens, couches, and lounging areas can make the workplace seem less like an office and more like home.
6. Offer Recreational Activities
Providing ways for your employees to unwind without leaving the office is an essential aspect to include in your design. The exact items you’ll offer depend on your preferences, but you could install media rooms, pool tables, and fitness centers to help your workers achieve the balance they need to stay happy.
7. Create Quiet Areas
Quiet rooms throughout the office ensure your employees can focus on their work when the time comes. The rest of the workplace might include collaborative spaces, but rooms where employees can make phone calls, read documents, or write reports without interruption are essential too.
Your attitude toward work-life balance is another critical element, as allowing flexible hours and work-from-home options can go a long way toward keeping employees satisfied. Creating the right design is an excellent first step because giving workers what they want inside your building can reduce stress and make the office more relaxing and your team more productive.
Get Expert Interior Design Assistance From a Team of CRE Pros
Designing the interior of your office is a lot of work and isn’t a job you’ll want to enter into lightly. It’s vital to find some professional assistance as you develop your design, particularly if you’re looking to add new elements to improve the work-life balance of your employees.
The Genau Group provides a full slate of commercial real estate services, including interior design, in the Washington, D.C., area. We can help you find the perfect office space to meet your company’s growing needs and renovate it to ensure your workers can achieve the work-life balance they desperately need. Contact our team today to discuss your interior design plans in Metro D.C.