A study found that 95 percent of employees today need quiet and private areas, but only 40 percent say their workplaces provide them.
Some of the largest companies in the world have engaged in innovative workplace design by dedicating quiet spaces to help their employees unwind and de-stress at work. Salesforce added a meditation room to each level of its San Francisco offices and SRAM has outdoor meeting spaces and rooftop gardens for its employees. Google, Facebook and Nestle use pods to create privacy for both focused work concentration and short nap breaks. While these companies use different tactics to increase productivity and support the wellbeing of their employees, they share the same goal of effectively meeting the needs of their employees.
Another study found employees in open-plan offices lost 86 minutes of productivity a day, due to noise distractions, and 49 percent were unable to concentrate easily.
Quiet spaces don’t have to be elaborate or expensive. Building a space for an entire garden or outdoor area may not be plausible in a 60-story building. However, small and clever changes to your workplace design can help your people really benefit. If productivity is decreasing, and noise and disruptions are increasing, consider what you can do immediately to cut the negative effects on employee wellbeing at work. Here are eight ideas to get you started:
Couches, lounges and moveable tables can be utilized to turn one corner of the office into a private area for an employee.
Use portable whiteboards, curtains, screens and dividers to allow your employees some private or quiet time.
Turn a large meeting room into smaller ones by adding glass screens. The glass gives the impression of being private while allowing for visibility.
Not every office will have an outdoor space. However, if you do, encourage your employees to use it by adding some tables and chairs, and accessibility to power.
Use a screen to mark a corner of the office as a silent zone. Remind employees they can use it whenever they want, but it must be a tech-free and noise-free area.
A quiet space for your employees might be as simple as urging them to use headphones at work to signify they’re unavailable and need peace.
Consider adding ceiling panels that absorb and cut noise to separate your employees from background work noise.
Make an indoor garden beside a window with sunlight that encourages employees to sit in, soak up Vitamin D, and get work done. Employees perform up to 25 percent better with a view outside. Alternatively, think about bringing more light to the office, or reducing eye-strain.