Studies suggest that more than a quarter of stress sufferers blame work – so what can we do to help reduce this?

AESTHETICS

The aesthetics of a workspace holds unequivocal importance; not only does it help define a company’s culture, your office represents you and becomes a reflection of your business. You want the office to be a place you’re proud of, where you can bring clients and host important meetings.

However, you also need to be able to work to your optimum. Certain office features either stunt or promote productivity which in turn, alters the attitudes of your workers. By following some of these simple guidelines below, you could experience a more beneficial working experience for you and your workforce.

LIGHTING

One of the most influential aspects is lighting. On a practical level, an office needs to be well lit as poor lighting can cause eye-strain and tiredness. However, there are no excuses for white fluorescent lighting strips; known to induce headaches and decrease productivity. Instead, opt for softer more ambient lighting and, where possible encourage natural light as it profoundly improves mood and efficiency. Also, what’s the harm in some home-touches and mood lighting? We’ve gone for a mixture of lamps and fairy lights to brighten the space and make it feel more welcoming.

PLANTS

Biophilic design is what connects the built environment to nature and has been proved to decrease stress for employees. It’s all about bringing the ‘outside in’ which can be achieved through the use of plants, décor inspired by nature and good outdoor views. Here at Avenue HQ, throughout our different spaces, we have plenty of floor to ceiling windows, an eclectic mix of plants and greenery, oh and a pretty impressive rooftop bar! Not only do plants spruce up the office and improve the aesthetics, they also filter the air. Air quality is directly linked to brain function, so a bit of greenery, and an air filtration and conditioning unit,  can go a long way in improving productivity.

ARTWORK

The modern office should be a space that inspires creativity and motivates people. This can be enhanced through the use of artwork – not only does it brighten the room and add colour but helps get those creative juices flowing. Here at Avenue HQ, we support a range of local artists by showcasing their artwork across the space. The works remain in constant rotation, bringing in new pieces to ensure the space is ever changing and dynamic. We’re also always on the hunt for new talent and love a recommendation, so please don’t hesitate to get in touch if you have something in mind.

(Find out more about our Resident Artist Emily Bartlett here).

LAYOUT

Due to the size and multitude of facilities available within Avenue HQ’s walls, you’re relieved of small, stuffy office space. We’ve created autonomy in how individuals want to work – want some solitude in a private meeting room? Or interaction during the working day? Want to sit on a comfortable sofa and get through your pile of work? We have you covered. The open layout and diversity of our workspace is designed to encourage interactions, productivity and autonomy.

By having shared facilities and an open-plan design, members could be more than 30% more active than their traditional office counterparts. This is due to the passive increase in exercise by having to walk around the space and shared facilities. These subtle, day-to-day changes help enhance workplace wellbeing which will both reduce stress and increase productivity.

BREAKOUT SPACES

Breakout space within the office is valuable for a plethora of reasons; namely, providing a place to unwind and relax – helping to reduce stress and preventing people burning out. We provide activities within our breakout spaces (e.g. table tennis/PlayStation) which helps get people together and those endorphins flowing; this further builds the strong sense of community we have here at Avenue HQ. It also provides a separate in-house space to eat lunch. (Read more about the benefits of not dining al desko here).

Breakout spaces and other design features can such as shared facilities impact opportunity for collaboration. This is especially significant within a co-working space due to the varied nature of businesses and individuals within one office. It’s important to create chance encounters that provide co-workers chance to discuss their personal lives and meet new people as well as enriching business relationships and providing constant opportunity for in-house collaboration.

ACOUSTICS

By having a separate breakout space, it means noise within the office is kept to a minimum, meaning others productivity isn’t hindered by those taking a break. Poor acoustics and distracting noise within an office equates to higher stress levels. To counter this, the use of soft furnishing can be used to absorb noise as well as playing music, which has been proved to stimulate brain activity, improve concentration and reduce stress levels.

MEETING ROOMS

Having a range of meeting rooms to reflect the nature of meetings can also enhance productivity. For example, there’s a time and a place for a boardroom style meeting, however, sometimes productivity and creativity flows better in more informal meeting areas – hence, we have a range of clustered seating and smaller meeting rooms as well as more corporate style spaces to meet your team’s needs.

By following these simple guidelines, we can help achieve a more stress-free and productive workforce, which helps promote workplace wellbeing. Avenue HQ has been build and modified with these principles in place and they remain at the forefront of plans to adapt current spaces and with future expansions in mind. Seen as though we spend such a large proportion of our lives working, let’s make sure we enjoy it!

Pippa Hought

Pippa Hought

Community Associate at Avenue HQ

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