As reported by The Guardian, staff absence as a direct result of stress is now costing UK employers approximately £11 billion each year. Another report claims that 57% of stressed employees are also disengaged in their daily tasks. So might moves to combat stress in the workplace be beneficial to employees’ health, productivity and job satisfaction? One such approach to relaxing workers is to dedicate entire areas to their wellbeing.
It is often misconceived that office relaxation areas have a negative impact on staff productivity. In fact, reports have suggested that relaxation areas and an intelligent workplace strategy discern work time from break time, and so enhance productivity and performance. This, in turn, helps to reduce stress related issues including burnout, happiness and various health issues. With these findings in mind, an increasing number of companies are incorporating employee-focused design into their office specifications.
There is no set pattern for a leisure area; they can be as minimalistic or as creative as you’d like. Unobtrusive colours, such as light greens and blues, reduce feelings of stress and encourage sentiments of spaciousness. Include plants, windows where possible, and artwork to invigorate the senses and relax the mind. Provide games, such as table football or pool, to reduce stress further and veer conversation from work-related matters.
3 Case Studies:
1) The Dentsu Group
Take our design of the Dentsu Group’s new 11,000ft2 UK headquarters as an example of intelligent design. This is one of the most forward-thinking communication companies in the world, at which technology is an integral component of daily routine. While the majority of the building is in-keeping with their mission statement of ‘making future magic’, we decided on a much more low-tech and relaxing ambience for the relaxation areas – somewhere where staff can get away their desks and recharge before the afternoon’s work. Bold but comfortable sofa areas give employees a place to unwind and relax. A small kitchen offers lunch-making facilities, and we included a large table as a communal eating-place where staff can connect – an important requirement for any successful company. Finally, we added oversized bookshelves to help employees feel at home in their new surroundings.
2) EDC Communications
When EDC communications asked us to design a space that would house six of their businesses under one roof, we knew that relaxation areas would prove pivotal to the project’s success. We included several relaxation areas throughout the 45,000ft2 space, each of which is in keeping with the creative ethos of the company. In one area, we provided musical instruments, as well as games, to encourage bonding between team members, not to mention plenty of comfortable seating and a communal eating space.
3) The Salamanca Group
It isn’t just creative companies that benefit from relaxation areas. The Salamanca Group, an investment company that manages the assets of high net worth individuals, also now benefits from an inviting space for its employees. Communal dining ranked highly in our considerations; a 9m long stone counter, capable of seating 40-50 people, occupies the centre of the room.