How You Can Use Modern Office Design to Prevent Employee Burnout
Employee burnout is a real problem that many companies face. Employee wellness programs have become a popular way for companies to try and combat workplace burnout, but are they really effective, and do they actually solve the core problems?
The truth is, the answer is a little bit of yes and no. Employee wellness programs are designed to promote a healthy workplace, team bonding, and other positive things, but they are often a band aid solution to the overall problem. While a short term boost is great and all, it often doesn’t solve the core problems that exist.
We all want to love our jobs, the many perks that come with working somewhere, and feel like part of a team. The tech industry has mastered this, with their multipurpose offices that serve as workplaces, gyms, restaurants, and whatever else you can think of.
Employee burnout is a serious problem that is affecting workplaces throughout the world. While there is no single cause for it, some of the more common ones include:
- Lack of workplace autonomy when it comes to choosing where to work, what to work on, and how to complete it. This can lead to workplace boredom and burnout.
- No social support in the workplace. Employees often feel they receive little to no praise, no valuable feedback, and that their managers often work against them.
- Workplace conflicts often go unresolved, causing an employee to feel helpless about their work situation.
- Not being included in the decision making processes, leading to employees who feel like they aren’t a valued member of the team.
Here’s the deal…
Wellness programs have good intentions, but they don’t always go far enough. This is where modern office design steps in as a long-term solution that every company should really start thinking about if they want to promote a healthy and positive workplace.
You cannot define health by any one metric. Certain employees don’t want to attend mandatory yoga classes, they may not like group fitness sessions, and the idea of playing a round of pingpongt isn’t their thing either.
When a company starts to approach a “one size fits all” solution, you run the risk of alienating certain employees and creating a hostile environment that promotes only certain types of personalities. This is bad.
There’s a better way.
We’re not suggesting you bulldoze your office and start over. Far from it. We want you to understand how a healthy office can reduce things like stress, anxiety, and employee burnout.
A long-term solution like modern office design doesn’t alienate your workers by forcing them to participate in programs that they may dislike. Instead, it lets them experience a healthy workplace on their own terms, and research has shown, workplace autonomy is one of the quickest ways to boost employee happiness.
While some design solutions may seem obvious, others are less so. It shouldn’t surprise you that your employees will burn out quicker if they are forced to work in dimly lit cubicles bathed in fluorescent light as their neighbor listens to loud music all day.
Not only do they lack stimulation, but they lack workplace autonomy. While autonomy does mean freedom, it doesn’t mean that a workplace has to be chaotic. Employee autonomy can be something as simple as allowing your employees to work wherever they want within an office, rather than forcing them to work in cubicle 2C.
These kinds of choices are often enhanced when an office is designed with modern office design in mind.
Modern Office Design as a Long-Term Solution to Employee Burnout
You’re probably wondering: “How does modern office design fit into all of this?”
Modern office design is all about creating spaces that are multipurpose and take advantage of healthy design trends. These trends are often the perfect solutions to the main issues that lead to employee burnout.
In an ideal world, a modern office will incorporate things like:
- Natural light
- Biophilic design (nature and natural textures)
- Sound and acoustics to reduce noise
- Work spaces that promote well-being and autonomy
- Communal areas that emphasis the culture of a company
- Good color contrast
- Temperature control
- Air purity
- Indoor and outdoor work areas
And there’s a lot of evidence to support this type of design too.
Here’s what the World Green Building Council found when they took a deeper look into the benefits of modern office design on worker well-being:
- 101% increase in cognitive scores in offices that had low concentrations of CO2
- 6% decrease in employee performance when temperatures are too hot or too cold
- 46 minutes of additional sleep reported for workers that have windows in their office
- 66% reduction in productivity in noisy workplaces
- 7-12% reported increase in productivity in one call center that had a view of nature
- Increase in workplace satisfaction in workplaces that make use of nature, colors, textures, and materials that promote a warm, welcoming, and calming environment
Short-Term Vs. Long-Term Thinking
It doesn’t matter what your motivations are, all companies need to start thinking about the long-term because of the impact it has on everything from workplace productivity to the wellbeing of its employees.
A company cannot banish its employees to a cubicle anymore. Employees are looking for every additional perk that a company can offer them, and they can because of how badly modern companies are battling to hire top talent. Modern office design is something that many employees actively seek out because they want to work in a place that provides them with autonomy, multipurpose rooms, and a space that takes what we know about workplace health and actually puts it to use.
And that my friends, is why modern office design is one of the easiest ways to combat employee burnout.