A well-designed, eco-friendly office environment = healthier, more productive employees.
No one enjoys going to work in a poorly designed, messy, or unappealing office. It’s no secret that a drab, unhealthy work environment increases absenteeism and results in lower productivity.
This doesn’t need to be the case any longer. By updating offices with sustainable, eco-friendly products and good interior design, companies derive a double benefit – higher employee attendance and productivity, as well as lower operational costs.
In fact, in 2010, the American Journal of Public Health published the results of a study on the Effects of Green Buildings on Employee Health and Productivity which showed a reduction in stress, depression, and illness-related absences while also demonstrating an in increase productivity among employees “who moved from conventional to green buildings”.
How do you combine sustainability with good interior office design?
Sustainable decorating options have come a long way, and more new products are continually being offered. Here are a few ways to make your company’s work environment healthier and more attractive.
“Green” corporate office design.
1. Go for eco-friendly sustainable wallpaper. Sustainable wallpaper is great for improving indoor air quality. You can find it in many different colors, patterns, and styles, from trendy to traditional. Look for wallpaper made from natural fibers or recycled materials or anti-microbial papers that resist mold; colors should be made with water-based dyes.
2. Use low or no VOC paint. VOCs (Volatile Organic Compounds) create dangerous off-gassing that can last for years. VOCs can trigger asthma and other respiratory problems as well as allergic reactions. Lots of companies now make low or no VOC paints in a variety of colors and finishes – this is yet another way to improve the air quality in your office.
3. Try non-skid entry mats made from recycled plastic bottles (100% Post Consumer PET Polyester) inside and outside your office doorways. Greet clients with your corporate name and logo on these functional yet attractive mats that provide safe entry on wet days.
4. Parabolic lighting. Diffused and less harsh, parabolic lighting eliminates the glare and eye strain caused by other types of lighting.
Next add the employee-friendly design aspect.
1. Open floor plan. Eliminate high cubical walls to help open up your office space. Make file areas easily accessible with enough traffic space when drawers are open. By keeping windows unobstructed, you’ll allow natural light to flow throughout the office and individual work spaces.
2. Lose the Ivory Tower. Today’s company executives want to be accessible to their employees, so consider putting the “C” level offices on the same floor as your employees. If possible, use glass walls to instill unity and an “open door policy”; when privacy is needed for meetings and phone calls, the door can be closed.
3. Encourage Teamwork. By lower dividing walls between individual work spaces, you’ll not only open the entire office up visually, you’ll also encourage teamwork. Employees feel more of a sense of unity when communication is easier and divisions are reduced. If your space permits, include a small conference table where spontaneous, casual meetings can easily be held.
An eco-friendly, sustainable, and well planned office design makes good business sense for your company’s bottom line - and for your employees. For more “green” office design ideas, click here.