Creating a Comfortable Workplace

6 min. read

Ensuring that your employees are comfortable in the workplace will allow them to perform to the best.

How comfortable are your employees at work? Ensuring that your employees are comfortable in the workplace will allow them to perform to the best of their abilities and improve productivity.

When an organization prioritizes comfort, its employees know that they are being cared for and that their jobs and lives are worth investing in. Adding comfort to the workplace is a simple way to improve employee engagement and boost morale. A recent study revealed that employees who are satisfied with their work environments are 16 percent more productive, 18 percent more likely to stay at their job, and 30 percent more attracted to their company over competitors.

Creating a comfortable workplace is especially important as people are returning to the office after long periods of isolation. Providing a safe, supportive environment, conducive to people’s needs will make the transition much easier.

Below you will find tips on how to create a comfortable workplace that will make your employees feel happy, inspired, and motivated.

Consider Color

The majority of workers (61 percent) value an aesthetically pleasing, comfortable workspace.

The psychology of color plays an extremely important role in the workplace, both for employees and visitors. Certain colors evoke feelings that can be useful when applied to the various zones of the workplace. For example, shades of light blue instill a feeling of calm and tranquillity which can be beneficial in a break room. Green stimulates thoughts of growth and positivity which could work well in a space used for brainstorming and forward-thinking. Whereas gray is thought to influence perceptions of security, intelligence, and solidity, perfect for a reception area.

*Consult your interior designer if you think the use of color is right for your workplace.

It is key to think about the kind of atmosphere you want to create and which colors will help you achieve this. Employees need to feel relaxed in the office and some home comforts can be replicated to produce a more laid-back environment. Warmer color palettes can be calmer and more welcoming when introduced to an office setting, contrasting the stereotypical cold, stark boardroom.

You could consider employing a professional color consultant to assess your workplace and assist you and your team with the final decision.

Open Spaces

Many workplaces today have reconfigured their office spaces in favor of open concepts rather than the closed off cubicle setting. This creates a more welcoming environment that encourages collaboration between employees.

Air quality and light are major influencers on employee performance, happiness, and wellbeing and a more open concept helps to increase air flow (which is also a health benefit for everyone in the office) and bring in more natural light. A high-quality workplace — one with natural light, good ventilation, and comfortable temperatures — can reduce absenteeism by up to four days a year.

The use of glass instead of solid walls creates a sense of workplace transparency while reflecting light around the space. Furniture that organizes and hides cords will also add to a sense of tidiness and calm. If you are considering a redesign of your workplace, make sure to adopt an employee-centric view of every space and the comfort it offers.

At the same time, the outside areas should be embraced. Encourage employees to take walking meetings when possible and incorporate fresh air into their working day.

Create zones

Approximately two-fifths of workers (39 percent) who value a comfortable workplace say that a dedicated desk, office, and/or meeting space is most important.

Creating zones in the workplace can have a positive impact especially when a more open concept has been embraced at an organization. While collaboration is important, employees still need quiet spaces that provide peace and privacy. This can be achieved by offering individual work-stations or privacy rooms that allow employees time away from the rest of the team to focus.

It is also possible to foster workplace socialization in an appropriate space by creating comfortable places for employees to mingle and relax. Some organizations offer their employees amenities such as fitness rooms and open gardens to encourage exercise at the same time. Charging stations for personal devices or ‘plug and play’ areas with comfortable seating will also bring groups of people together.

Incorporating zones into your office interior does not have to be an expensive process. Effective results can be accomplished through clever use of paint effects, plants, flooring, or furniture positioning. This is also important at a time when social distancing is in effect. Without affecting the atmosphere or aesthetics of the workplace you can ensure that employees keep their distance in a comfortable setting.

Be Sustainable

Sustainability should be a key element in any modern organization's growth plans. It’s a huge priority, especially for the younger generations, and earth-friendly practices can be used in various ways throughout the workplace.

Illustrate your commitment to sustainability by choosing suppliers who incorporate recycled, natural materials. This can include vegan furniture, hemp, bamboo, and cotton. Doing so helps to reduce carbon footprints.

Energy-efficient windows let in lots of natural light and air while saving the organization money in the long term. Other products such as flooring can be sourced from companies that use sustainable practices.

Biophilia – Bring Nature In

Biophilia is defined as the innate human instinct to connect with nature and other living beings, so it makes sense that reflecting nature throughout the workplace can be beneficial for employees. Biophilic design has been found to support cognitive function, physical health, and mental well-being.

Nature can be reflected in the workplace through unobstructed views from windows, access to fresh air, comfortable temperatures and sounds, and the addition of plant life. Even though plants do not have a formal function, studies show that employees’ quality of life can be enriched by green office landscaping.

By creating a comfortable workplace that brings in elements of nature you provide an environment where employees can thrive.

Promote Healthy Remote Workspaces

Nowadays "the workplace" doesn't just refer to the office. As more people than ever are working from home it is essential for organizations to take a vested interest in how their employees’ home offices are set up.

Ergonomic chairs and desks are good for combating back and wrist pain, preventing injuries which in the long run means increased productivity. You could also offer desks that provide sit-stand flexibility which promotes healthy work habits.

Provide employees with information on how to set up their home workspace so that they feel comfortable working at home to the best of their abilities.

Consider consulting experts who understand your industry and type of workplace on how to address specific challenges for improving comfort for your employees.