Smile@Work | Solutions for happy workers

Work Happy
04 May 2021

The basics for improving your workspace (even in COVID time)

The notion of well-being at work has been completely turned upside down since 2020: the places where work is carried out have changed and multiplied, workers’ expectations in terms of safety and comfort at work have increased, priorities have been revised… However, certain fundamentals, which are too often taken for granted and left to one side, make it possible to improve our workspace simply and effectively. Because well-being at work depends on various individual factors, but also on a very concrete reality: the quality of workspace. Smile@Work takes stock of the main expectations of professionals in this area. And above all, on the ways to meet them!

bien-être au travail

In its recent study on the ideal office in 2021, conducted in partnership with BureauxLocaux, Multiburo looked at these QWL (Quality of Life at Work) fundamentals, regardless of the workplace. Here are the 5 main keys to an ideal workspace and some simple tips to optimise them.

1. Create (almost) silent spaces

In an ultra-connected world, with its constant demands, the ability to really concentrate is an increasingly precious asset. “The brain is bombarded with information, notes Jean-Christophe Beau, founder of My Mental Energy Pro. When you listen to someone, you have thoughts coming from inside you, but also little noises around you, perhaps a pain in the back, etc. The more sounds there are, the more you can concentrate. The more sounds there are, the more energy you are forced to put into blocking them.” The ideal solution? The provision of quiet spaces for employees. “Places that function like university libraries, says the specialist. When you go there, you don’t talk, you barely whisper. “

But not all companies have enough space for such arrangements. The good news is that effective solutions exist, such as installing acoustic panels on walls, insulating doors or windows, installing a floor covering designed to reduce noise… And for a smaller investment, it is possible to install modular soundproof partitions or screen panels separating work areas.

2. Take care of your living space, social areas… for exchange and dream

A time to concentrate, to make progress on complex issues. But also, a time to exchange ideas and develop creativity. Office work is made up of an alternation of different, complementary tasks, to which specific spaces must correspond.  “Man is a social animal, says Jean-Christophe Beau. We need to see people, to talk about our lives, to learn… This interaction can be formal or informal. This interaction can be formal or informal“. Meeting rooms, coffee machine areas, rooms for discussion… places to be considered with equal importance.

Ideally, there should also be spaces with no specific purpose. We often forget this, but the office must allow for regeneration,” insists the specialist. Because thinking makes you tired. When you are thinking hard, your brain consumes almost half of your body’s energy. Therefore, it is important to create places that are conducive to calm, or even daydreaming: a garden, an unobstructed view, works of art, a bubble chair that allows you to isolate yourself… For moments of escape that are synonymous with decompression, but also with creativity.

3. Encourage natural light

We must never forget that natural light is an essential human need, the lack of which leads to health problems. It is therefore not surprising that access to natural light rather than artificial lighting is ranked as the number one “must-have” for quality of life at work, according to the survey conducted by BureauxLocaux and Multiburo.

When it comes to designing your office space, brightness should be a priority. It’s simple: the closer the office is to a window, the better! Similarly, it is better to paint the walls white or very light blue. If there is insufficient light, well-directed mirrors can prove invaluable.

4. Choose ergonomic furniture

Stooped shoulders, bent backs, lowered heads… Working on a computer, especially a laptop, is the cause of many musculoskeletal disorders. Among the professionals questioned in the Local and Multiburo Offices survey, 72% said they wanted a comfortable and adjustable chair to avoid back pain.

In other words, skimping on the choice of chair is always a bad idea. The office chair must be ergonomic (height adjustment, modular armrests, etc.), comfortable and adapted to the individual’s morphology.

5. Diffuse the ideal temperature

The temperature of business premises is one of those issues that only gets attention when it becomes a problem… Opting for air-conditioned, efficiently heated (and insulated) premises is one of the decisive criteria when choosing your premises, for both short and long periods.

What about the ideal temperature? According to various studies on the subject, it should be between 22 and 24° for professionals who stay in front of their computers, and around 19° for those who move around regularly. It should be noted that keeping these recommendations in mind can be of considerable benefit: according to a 2014 study, adjusting the temperature in the premises occupies the employees questioned on average more than 6 minutes per day, or half an hour per week! And an ideal temperature makes it easier for employees to collaborate and be productive.

Want to know more? Download our free white paper and create YOUR ideal office.

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