When people talk about workspace design, they usually give examples of aesthetic appeal and some functionality, but rarely anyone talks about security and safety.
The truth is, these features of good workspace design are as important in an office as they are in a warehouse, for example. Work injuries such as straining, falling, and tripping may seem harmless but can leave serious consequences on your employees, especially if they’re older.
After all, as human, our bodies can be rather fragile. Any hit we take can take a toll on our mental strength as well. This is why we need to make sure that the environment we work in is absolutely safe and secure. Without the feeling of safety, there is no feeling of comfort. Without comfort, stress increases, and people start focusing on all the wrong things. Without comfort, you’re also missing the most important component for productivity and efficiency- confidence. By incorporating security into your workspace design, you’re ensuring your employees feel comfy, confident, and safe. These are all positive feelings that breed positive behaviour and more success.
1. Upping the security level
One very important feature of your workspace design should be improving the security level of your office. The design is practically useless if employees don’t feel safe in their own workplace. Sadly, not everyone has pure intentions, so it’s imperative that you keep the malintent people out of your premises. This is especially important if your office deals with some financial branches.
There are a few ways you can go about this matter. If you don’t deal with clients but just go about your day, the best one may be to add a code to your front door. The only people who know the code will be on the inside, and anyone who tries to break in without knowing it will set off a security alarm. Thus, no one will be able to get in and harm you or your employees no matter how hard they try.
A similar thing can be done even if you do deal with clients. Your employees can punch in the right code, while clients can ring a bell. Of course, you’ll need to install a security camera to know who you’re letting in.
A better option when it comes to security and clients is hiring professionals. If you have security on hand, your employees can be sure that no one will harass them that day. Aside from potential robberies, you won’t have trouble dealing with difficult clients either. Even though you wouldn’t consider security employees as part of the workspace design, most often, they are what makes your design functional. They are the backbone of every serious office as they allow your employees to get on with their day safely. Nothing boosts morale more than knowing you have someone to count on if things go awry.
2. Choosing the right furniture
Where your employees sit can have a great effect on their morale. The more comfortable their desks and chairs are, the better they feel. Not only that, but you’ll also be preventing one of the most common office injuries there is: straining. Office work may not be physically demanding, but sitting in the same position all day can be as challenging as some warehousing or construction work.
The human body was made to move, so keeping it still all day can and will make it strain. Add staring into the computer screen for the whole day to the mix and you’ve got a headache and eye problems, too. Thankfully, your design can significantly lower these effects.
The right office chair will have proper lumbar support and make your employees feel comfortable even if they’re sitting upright. High-quality chairs aren’t hard to find, and you can easily find buying guides online if you’re not sure what to look for. As well as the traditional office chair, you can try getting creative. Some offices have started using standing desks, while others think that fitness balls are an excellent alternative to the office chair. If you want to go a step further, you can even get a hold of treadmill desks. This makes sure your employees get their daily dose of exercise all the while working. As you can see, straining is practically a non-existent issue in modern workspace design.
3. Having emergencies in mind
Regardless of how happy you are with your office design, you need to remember one thing. Your design can work either for you or against you. The aesthetic appeal is completely irrelevant if your design stops you from dealing with emergencies in a timely fashion. In that spirit, too much decoration can be a hazard instead of a way to boost morale.
Each office should have clearly marked escape routes which are easy to navigate. Your design should, therefore, focus on the ease of movement in the office. If a fire ever occurs, you’ll know that everyone will be able to get out safely and in time. Your design will ensure it. In the same manner, you should have fire extinguishers as part of your office décor. A few boards with the escape routes and plan of evacuation are a must, too.
Offices should have emergencies other than the fire in mind, too. After all, workplace injuries will be the more common problems you’ll face. Your design can keep them in mind, too. As part of the functional pieces of “décor”, you should introduce first aid kits around the office. Some offices take it a bit further an add a small infirmary room to the premises, but there isn’t much need to go this far.
4. Taking care of slippery surfaces
Slippery surfaces are the number one cause of, well, slips. Though slips don’t seem like a big deal, they can have some serious consequences. If your employee falls, they could potentially sprain their ankle, or even break an arm or a leg. Your polished wood surface may look amazing, but it doesn’t mean it’s exactly safe.
Thankfully, there are a lot of stylish and non-slippery options to solve this issue. The first thing you can look into is a carpet or a rug. They’re the most common piece of office décor, and they do their job pretty well. With a carpet or rug on your side, your employees won’t have to worry about accidentally slipping in certain parts of the office. Just make sure to purchase a carpet that’s sturdy and holds its place, because this sentiment will be useless otherwise. Also, make sure that your carpet is regularly cleaned so as not to introduce bacteria to the office.
Another, less demanding option maintenance wise, is the anti fatigue mat. These kinds of mats are made with a ribbed pattern to provide extra friction and prevent slipping. All you have to do is place the mat down and watch it work its magic. They’re usually used in places where you would have to stand for a while, like behind counters or at checkouts. In the office, they’re perfect for waiting rooms and meet and great areas because there is a lot of traffic there. The mat will ensure no employee or client will slip.
5. Making sure it’s clean
Though you wouldn’t typically say that office hygiene is part of the workspace design, you can’t have a proper design without office hygiene. This is a part of safety that you can’t neglect one bit. You can take care of the aesthetic features of your design but they will always look less pretty and be less functional when the office is not clean.
Office hygiene is important on a higher level, too. If the office is not cleaned regularly, you risk inviting pests to the premises. Bugs and mice are horrible house guests as they eat your furniture and spread disease. This is something you definitely want to avoid in your office.
As well as that, having a clean office means that your employees will know they’re safe. They won’t have to worry about touching a surface and getting sick. They also won’t have to worry about encountering mice or bugs on their way to get a snack. All of this allows them to relax and enjoy the full extent of the creativity you’ve put into the rest of the design.
You should consider hiring a cleaning crew which will wipe down office surfaces every day after the office hours are over. That way, you’ll know for sure that everything is as clean as possible without putting in too much money or effort.
Implementing just one of these features will get you going in the right direction, but implementing them all will bring you to your goal. You are bound to see the extra confidence in your employees’ posture and walk. This will be your number one sign that you’ve made a good call with your design. It’s always the right time to redecorate, so get started on your next project the sooner the better.