Your work environment affects your overall well-being

If you are especially tired after your workday and, despite giving it your best effort, you feel that you accomplished nothing, don’t be too hard on yourself. Surprisingly often, the reason behind it is your work environment.

For many people who work in an open-plan office, their train of thought is broken several times a day. They can be distracted, for instance, by a person walking by, talking on the phone or packing up their belongings. When a person’s thoughts are constantly interrupted, their ability to focus begins to wane, prompting a kind of “fight or flight” response, where they make decisions very quickly and just try to make it through the day. This can lead to making mistakes at work.

Studies show that noise and commotion in open spaces are a major cause of low work performance. Constant stimulus weakens the ability to perform and raises stress levels. In addition, background noise and constant stimulus have been proven to be directly linked to weakened cognitive ability and raised stress levels. Thus, working in a poorly executed open-plan office can even be a health risk.

Open-plan offices must also have spaces where people can perform focussed work without being interrupted. Employees, people, need spaces where they can give their attention to doing the right things and being at their best when doing them.

The right kind of spaces support productive work

Firstbeat, a provider of comprehensive heartbeat analytics, conducted a study on the effect of the work environment on overall well-being. The study involved analysing the stress and recovery levels of a group of participants working under normal working conditions compared to working with practices and ergonomic workstations that support their well-being. The objective was to determine the impacts of a diverse work environment on an employee’s overall well-being.

The participants said they slept better and felt less stress during the time they worked in the well-being work environment. According to Firstbeat’s study, the effects of noise in an open-plan office could be clearly seen in the results of the well-being analysis. For example, for one corporate manager who took part in the study, the hours with the least stress clearly coincided with the late afternoon, when the office had emptied of other people. Quiet workspaces, such as phone booths and meeting rooms give employees both important breaks to recover and productive moments for working intensely.

Investing in workspaces pays off

Improving the functionality and acoustics of offices and workspaces is often considered costly, but even small changes can have a big impact. If, for example, work efficiency has decreased by 10% due to a noisy work environment, an investment to fix the situation can pay itself back very quickly.

Noise is a major stress factor that can lead to sick leave or can even cause an employee to leave their job. For companies, this often means costs and lost expertise, which can be avoided by investing in the work environment.

Do you want to improve your work environment?

Module pods prime work communities for success. Download the presentation, which can

– help you pinpoint the challenges of your work environment
– give you tips on how to solve your space-related challenges
– increase awareness of the benefits offered by Module office pods in your work community


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