Most employers know that unhappy and stressed workers cost them money. It’s thought that hundreds of millions of pounds are lost to the economy each year due to unproductive, disengaged employees.

Investing in the physical environment is one way to keep your workers happy, promote wellness and boost productivity, which will lead to higher staff retention and fewer sick days among your workforce.

Clean, comfortable and inspiring surroundings will help employees feel committed and loyal to their jobs, lift the mood of the workplace, improve interactions among colleagues and support workers to live a healthier lifestyle. In turn, your employees will be happier and more productive.

If you’re planning an office overhaul, here are seven steps to get you started:

1. Improve the air quality

An air purifier will filter nasty odours, dirt particles, pollen and pollutants from the environment, creating a cleaner, healthier space for your employees. Better air quality leads to fewer allergy symptoms, less fatigue and fewer headaches—all improving performance in the workplace.

Pictured: The Woods AL 300 Office Air Purifier from Kaiser+Kraft.

2. Bring the outdoors in

Plants bring numerous benefits to the office. They’re thought to increase happiness and productivity, improve workers’ psychological wellbeing, reduce noise levels and boost creativity. Plus, they are aesthetically pleasing!

This famous study by NASA found plants improve air quality too. The scientists found plants play a “major role” in removing benzene, trichloroethylene and formaldehyde—three organic chemicals—from indoor air. These three nasties can be found in plastics, resins, synthetic fibres, composite wood products, wood finishes, adhesives and aerosol cleaning products—all pretty common in the workplace. Find the full list of the plants tested by NASA on this page.

3. Make use of natural light

Numerous studies demonstrate the positive effects of natural light. It’s understood that bright and airy office spaces will, in turn, boost worker satisfaction and employee output. Dim and harsh lighting both cause eyestrain and headaches— hardly conducive to a productive atmosphere. While natural light regulates our energy levels, mood, sleep and general well-being.

If you do not have the budget for structural alterations and cannot add/change windows, consider re-painting the office walls white. This achromatic colour bounces light around the room. Installing mirrors is another simple way to maximise the sunlight already entering the room. Any mirrored surfaces will reflect light around the office.

4. Hang eye-catching artwork

You may wonder how hanging a few pictures will boost employees’ well-being and productivity. According to various studies, art is more than just decorative. It can enhance creativity, reduce stress levels and improve general well-being too.

Pictured: Pastel Botanical Print Set from Violet’s Print House.

5. Encourage workers to stand

Sitting down all day is bad for our health. It burns fewer calories, is linked to weight gain and obesity, and increases the risk of diabetes, heart disease and early death. “Standing desks” are one popular antidote to this problem in the workplace. Give your employees access to height-adjustable desks and allow them to spend part of the day working standing up, should they choose.

6. Provide a variety of seating options

Consider installing different seating options around your office space. In addition to the traditional desk and chair set up, add in colourful wing chairs, sofas and perhaps even beanbags! Here’s why:

  • For workers with laptops, sofas and chairs provide an alternative place to work, to stretch out from being hunched over a desk all day and to break away from chatty colleagues.
  • For people trying to problem-solve, moving to a different location provides a fresh perspective.
  • Additional seating will provide a place for workers to collaborate on projects and work together solutions to problems.
  • It will create a space for employees to sit and recharge during break times. Happy and refreshed employees are more productive!

7. Add a splash of colour

The psychology of colour is a well-studied phenomenon. Thanks to this research, we know that colour can affect us in untold ways: from altering our moods to boosting creativity, from enhancing performance and productivity to changing the energy of a space. If your office building is a blank canvas, consider incorporating an accent colour or two. A well-thought-out palette will create an inviting, stimulating and pleasing place to work.