When we deliver a sensory experience to the workplace, we transform purely functional spaces into energising environments where employees find more meaning, fun, success and fulfilment in their work. Some elements are obvious requirements, while others require a little more consideration when designing your workplace.
Olfactory stimulation can change our brain waves and mood in powerful ways, which can affect our ability to concentrate, learn, and recall information. Breathing in an aroma can have an instantaneous effect on our moods and emotions. Some experts tell us inhalation is the most direct route between the outside world and our brains. Using this to our advantage in the workplace can provide mental clarity and stimulation, as well as relaxation and inspiration. For example research shows that people working with computers made 54% fewer typing errors when the workplace was perfumed with lemon; 33% fewer with jasmine, and lavender.
The architecture, wall colours, furniture, art, light – all visual surroundings, impact people in one way or another. Some surroundings are visually pleasing and induce a sense of calm, happiness, inspiration, etc. And some offer nothing but distraction, discomfort, chaos, doom and gloom. When designing your environment think of what you want your employees to see and feel when they are in different areas of their workplace. Yellow and orange are colours that can stimulate and energize employees, blue and/or green can help employees feel calm, relaxed and hopeful. The colour red can help excite and stimulate employees, as well as increase brain wave activities, heart rates and respiration. Considering these elements in the workplace will certainly have an impact on how your organisation operates.
One of the most important and sometimes overlooked requirements for all employees is thermal comfort. Thermal comfort is the point at which people do not feel too hot or too cold – it will vary between individuals. Employers should aim to provide their employees with an office environment temperature range of around 18-22°C. An optimum working environment also means that exceptional air quality is essential. Room humidifiers can play an important role in ensuring that employees breathe easy.
Music is a powerful tool that if used advantageously can help raise productivity and in turn help your business. Music that is happy, exciting or stress-reducing can be used to increase the extent to which employees cooperate with one another. Research indicates that there are numerous instances where music has benefits for people within the workplace. They are to:
improve productivity in jobs that are repetitive, mundane or undemanding
improve performance in physically-demanding jobs
raise employee morale
improve employees’ physical health (thus potentially reducing absenteeism)
improve employees’ willingness to co-operate with one another and be helpful.
Plants need their own paragraph as they fit into most of the categories above contributing to clean air, visual stimulation, and olfactory stimulation. There are so many options of flowers, potted plants, plant walls – all of which will impact the overall sense of well-being in your workplace. People report a general sense of happiness when they have flowers in their space and a sense of calm and security when greenery is present. Nature can be a powerful tool in the workplace.