Creating Stress-Free Workspaces for Millennials
April 25, 2017
Millennial workers have changed the workplace culture—not just with the work per se—but also with how it looks. Traditional desks and cubicles are a thing of the past. Even desktops, which restricts mobility, are trumped by laptops and tablets. Millennials have indeed inspired office design ideas and trends that seek to adapt to changing work styles, technology, and lifestyle. These designs are not only meant to make work spaces more pleasing to the senses, but also to increase productivity and minimize stress.
In a 2016 Workplace Survey, 53% of employees felt that their workspace was making them less productive, while 71% expressed dissatisfaction in the amount of “quiet space for focused work” in their offices. Between 2013 and 2014, the Labour Force Survey also reported that stress and depression accounted for 11.3 million lost working days and that office design has a lot to do with it.
This shows that the design of the workplace is more than just being a subject of aesthetics, but also of productivity, creativity, and stress alleviation. When you’re already running to meetings and beating deadlines, a stress-free work environment is necessary to help you focus and do the job.
Sure, not all offices can have nap pods and free Starbucks coffee as in Google, but there are still ways to make the workplace less stressful and make employees more motivated. Take cues from these 12 office design ideas that are perfect for young professionals.
Open, but not too much
The Facebook headquarters made the open office layout really look cool. CEO Mark Zuckerberg sits among his employees. He’s constantly on the move. However, while that is the trend, designers caution employers about being too open. Employees also need quiet and private spaces that will help them focus. A survey showed that workers in open plan offices are more “distracted, unfriendly, and uncollaborative” as the number of people they share an office with increases.
The key here is to analyze the work that people do. What tasks do employees need to accomplish? If the tasks are more of a collaborative nature, an open layout may work. But if the work requires workers to come up with individual sales reports and the like, employers should be wary about an open layout. Balance open and closed offices to give workers an option as to where to work depending on the task at hand.
Work hard, play harder
Fun is important in the workplace. It’s not uncommon to find offices these days with hoops on the parking lot or a ping pong table in the office. In a Great Place to Work Survey, it was discovered that companies that accommodate fun are 15% more innovative and experience higher profits. Injecting fun elements is one of the ways on how to create a stress-free office space as it somehow answers calls for work-life integration.
Start with a foosball or a ping pong table, a music corner with a headset and a great playlist, and bean bags for casual meetings.
Add some color
Here’s a guess: the color of your office walls are somewhere between white and beige. Is that right? Traditional offices opt for neutral colors, but according to a University of Texas study, bland gray and white offices induce feelings of sadness and depression. So if you want office space design ideas for a stress-free workplace, these safe, neutral colors wouldn’t cut it.
Transform your workspace by adding more color. Green and blue, two colors close to nature, are calming and are said to improve efficiency and focus. Yellow is a shade of optimism and energy, while red is of passion.
Go green in the office
A dose of nature gives employees a boost. A 2016 study showed that workers exposed to sunlight and natural elements report having better moods and higher satisfaction at work.
This means employers should really put value in opening up the office with more ventilation so that natural light can come through. An indoor garden or a few potted plants also make workers happier. Use of wood, stones, and other natural elements also bring the employees closer to nature.
Increase comfort level
Comfort starts with the right chair and desk. If you find yourself always adjusting and stretching, something is wrong. Make a quick ergonomic check: eyes should be 24 – 36 inches from the computer screen, top of the monitor should be eye-level, feet should be resting on the floor, and the chair posture should be slightly reclined. Add a pillow for your lower back if you need more support. The Backease Pillow of Uratex Philippines is also ideal for workers who might feel the need to lay back and relax. It provides excellent back support for long hours of seating and also promotes good posture.
A nap paradise
Employers should really think differently about nap times these days. You probably can’t have nap pods, but having a couch secluded from where there is heavy foot traffic should help employees take a quick rest. Employees can sleep during breaks—ask the boss’ permission, or just doze off if the office allows it. Remember that a quality sleep and midday naps are necessary to reduce stress and be more productive at work.
To nap faster and better, a portable pillow will help. Choose a pillow made of memory foam that gently conforms to the shape of your head for plush comfort and good support. If your company would be so thoughtful and generous to assign a sleeping quarters for employees, the Uratex foldable and portable mattress are perfect for an invigorating sleep.
Encourage personal touches
Among the most common stress-free tips in offices is by adding personal touches to personal workspaces. A corkboard filled with sweet notes, inspiring quotes, or happy pictures of family and friends help employees stay inspired and motivated. An inspiring artwork, a favorite book you can browse leisurely, a colorful office tray, a decorative mouse pad, and a plant on the desk all help minimize stress in the office.
Provide communal spaces
Encourage teamwork and collaboration by providing communal spaces in the office. Millennials like working with a team and social areas that will facilitate casual conversations and chance encounters will foster a more relaxed and less formal working environment.
A room for Zen
Provide a room for serenity and relaxation. If offices can have “war rooms” where employees normally settle disputes, why can’t employers provide a room for refreshment? Have a room for when employees want to take a break. It should be quiet, if not sound-proof, with a comfortable couch, fluffy throw and bolster pillows, a peaceful office décor, nice scent, or soft music. This room can also be used for socializing activities.
Millennials want their workplace to be flexible so much that if they want to talk to a client in another country, they can do it without even leaving the room. Young workers are used to mobile technology, apps, software, and using multiple screens at once.
Implement a seamless mix of technology in the workplace by facilitating video conferences. Install plugs in conference tables. Have tables compatible with laptops everywhere.
A cup of coffee makes an office go round. Millennials are a “coffee generation” who like spending time at coffee shops and cannot seem to start the day without some caffeine mix. You may not be Google who can give out a free cup of Starbucks, but a basic espresso machine should do. On top of that, put a few chairs and tables in the coffee area to encourage socialization.
Declutter and Organize
Whatever the design, employees will always be stressed if the space is cluttered and disorganized. Same with emails, it is hard to focus if your desk has piles of papers and folders from months ago. A storage system in the workplace is encouraged for proper archiving and a more organized workplace.
Creating a stress-free work environment is necessary to enhance productivity and boost creativity. Employees need to be able to concentrate and focus as much as they need to socialize and collaborate. Employers today need to be more non-conventional when it comes to designing spaces in order to appeal to the younger generation, as well us make workers happier and even more productive in the process.