The psychological benefits of a good physical working environment

29 July 2019

The correlation between a positive physical working environment and productivity, engagement and motivation is one that is increasingly obvious in the modern workplace. Research has established that addressing both the physical and psychological needs of employees in the workplace through a combination of design and strategy can help to improve everything, from attracting the right talent to improving results. There are a number of key psychological needs that all humans have that can be catered to with the right environment in order to impact positively on workplace behaviours.

  • The need to feel physically safe. It’s not just safety in terms of fire precautions and a comfortable environment that has an impact here but also emotional safety where team working is encouraged so that employees have strong working relationships with one another.
  • Equal treatment. Particularly among younger generations, hierarchical office spaces that reward those who are more senior with a better workspace can be really off-putting. A more modern approach is an office without allocated seating where everyone can interact, no matter what their status.
  • Privacy requirements. At some point during the day everyone is going to need a quiet moment and offices that provide rooms where doors can be closed, or offer dedicated quiet zones, cater to this essential need.
  • Activity based working environments. By opting for this type of workspace you’re giving employees the opportunity to choose where they work based on what they need to do. This flexibility gives employees more freedom to work intuitively and makes them feel valued.
  • Physical comfort. From good lighting to aesthetics, spaces that are comfortable mean employees don’t need to focus on their physical needs and can concentrate on work instead.
  • The need to connect. Connection is often where innovation comes from and is essential for collaboration. If you want to encourage more interaction and working together it’s essential to design an office space that enables connection.

The benefits of implementing change

• Attracting the best people. According to research by CBRE, 71% of workers are willing to give up some perks to get a well-designed workplace.
• Reducing workplace stress. Employees with access to views, working in comfortable spaces who have more flexibility are happier and tend to be less stressed.
• Reducing attrition. Job satisfaction is higher in employees who have a better working environment, feel valued because their needs are met and are more engaged because they care about the future of the business.
• Fewer sick days. Absences and sick days are costly for any organisation but a better working environment can help to ensure that these are minimised, whether the causes are physical or psychological.
• Productivity and results. Better office design can improve collaboration and foster innovation and support staff in getting things done, which drives productivity up.
• Reducing overheads. Often, an agile approach to working environment enables a business to accommodate more staff in the same space and reduce the expenditure that might be required for a more traditional, hierarchical approach.

A good physical working environment can have far reaching benefits where employees are concerned and is well worth investing in.

To find out more about how we can help you establish a positive working environment, get in touch with our specialist team today or visit our website here.