5 tips to create the ideal workspace

To ensure their overall well-being, your employees need to feel good both physically and mentally. A healthy and pleasant work environment will certainly help achieve this. Use the tips below to create the ideal workspace.

To actively reduce workplace absenteeism, providing a healthy work environment is essential. Employees who are mentally and physically fit are happier and more productive, and this also benefits you: the atmosphere at work will improve and absenteeism rates will drop.

In addition, a healthy work environment increases work efficiency by up to 10%, as found in a study by the University of Twente and CBRE. A study by Mercer also revealed that more than half of employees in the Netherlands found that light, temperature and plants are important in reducing mental and physical stress at work.

But how do you create a healthy work environment? Here are some concrete steps you can take:

1. Ensure proper air ventilation and thermal comfort

Our brains need oxygen to function. Plants in the office will help purify the air. Sansevierias are perfect for this. Working in stale, dry air is uncomfortable. By providing proper air ventilation, you can help your employees feel more productive and creative.  

Want to find out more about the air quality in your office? A recently published Royal Decree outlines the legal requirements. Start by opening windows and doors more frequently and by investing in an air conditioning system. This will give you full control over the indoor temperature at work. And don’t forget a heating system for optimal thermal comfort during those cold winter months.   

2. Provide optimal lighting for the workspace

Tasks such as reading documents and precision work require more light than others. This can be solved by adding task lights, such as desk lamps.   

Spending more than eight hours per day working inside buildings disrupts the circadian rhythm, which impacts our health and the quality of sleep we get. Dynamic lighting offers a solution by imitating the natural changes in the colour and intensity of sunlight.   

Did you know that poor lighting in the workplace causes people to make more errors? Research by the Eindhoven University of Technology has found that lack of proper lighting negatively impacts our mood. A recently published Royal Decree outlines the legal requirements for adequate lighting in the workplace.

3. A good layout can make a huge difference

As an employer, you can make sure that your workers are given the opportunity and space needed to maintain a sense of personal privacy. This is essential for employees to feel comfortable at work. Conduct meetings and long phone calls in closed-off areas to reduce noise nuisance. Another tip is to use plants as noise barriers.

By creating a designated relaxation area where employees can also exchange ideas, you can significantly reduce stress levels among your workforce.

Adding a bit of greenery to the office can also do wonders. A 2014 study by Exeter University revealed that employees are up to 15% more productive when indoor plants are added to their workspace.

The colour schemes used in offices also make a difference: yellow stimulates the brain, while cooler colours such as green and blue are soothing and restful.

4. Exercise, exercise and exercise some more

Office workers often sit at their desks for up to eight hours a day. Short bursts of exercise can make a big difference in staying more alert and preventing health problems such as back pain. Exercise also helps reduce stress. But don’t panic: no need to run a 5k marathon during lunch breaks. Here are some small changes you can implement in the workplace:

  • Encourage employees to take the stairs.
  • Move the espresso machine or water cooler to the far end of the room.  
  • Hold stand-up meetings or even walking meetings outside of the office.
  • Invest in mobile phones as they allow people to walk around while talking, even if only for 5 minutes.  

5. Promote healthy eating and hydration

Our brains are made up of 85% water. Keeping hydrated is crucial for maintaining work efficiency. Employers are required by law to ensure that all their workers have access to potable drinking water free of charge.  

Promoting healthy eating habits can be tricky: we all know that canteen food is not exactly nutritious. Consuming healthy foods is important for your employees to maintain their well-being and level of productivity. Here’s a tip: provide a fruit bowl for your workers so they can grab a quick, healthy snack whenever they feel like it. You can also make healthy snacks and beverages available in the vending machines at the office.

By implementing these smart tips, you can contribute to the health and well-being of your workforce. People also tend to incorporate healthy habits from work into their home life. This will then benefit their family and friends, creating a win-win situation for all.