Workplace winners

The aim of employers is to have a productive, profitable business and hopefully happy employees. For their part, employees also want the business to succeed but of course their priority is to be happy and healthy themselves. These two sets of priorities can be in competition but new research has suggested a way to boost productivity and make employees healthier and happier at the same time.

Researchers surveyed 2000 office workers in a series of studies. Essentially the research looked at the worker’s attitude to their workspace, their involvement in that workspace and the productivity they achieved.

The results showed that the more control that people have over their workspace the more they are happy, motivated, and feel physically comfortable. This all translated to them identifying more with their employers and feeling generally more positive about their work. Having established this the researchers conducted two more detailed studies.

In these two studies that took place at the University and an office respectively, the subjects were given a series of tasks in a workspace that was either “lean” (bare and functional), “enriched” (decorated with plants and pictures), “empowered” (the individual was allowed to design the work area), or “disempowered” (the individual designed the workspace but this was then redesigned by the office manager).

Employers everywhere should note of the results. People working in enriched spaces were 17 per cent more productive than those in lean spaces. This was mere chickenfeed though compared to the workers in empowered spaces who not only completed 32 per cent more work than those in lean spaces but did it without any increase in mistakes.

The researchers point out that employers rarely consider how they use office space but office design, and involving workers in it, influences worker productivity as well as how much initiative a worker will take. Allowing workers to be involved in designing their workspace will make for happier and healthier workers leading to raised output at a minimal cost.

It seems a shame to have to put basic human regard for others in profit and loss terms, but you have to speak the language of the natives sometimes.

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The WellBeing Team

The WellBeing Team

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