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While customer happiness is key to a successful business, the secret to a happy customer may be a happy employee. A 2019 Glassdoor study found that an increase in employees’ ratings of their experience working at a company corresponded with an even bigger increase in customer satisfaction. This trend was especially clear in industries where employees interact with customers.

Employee happiness is also associated with productivity. According to Gallup, employee burnout can lead to $322 billion in turnover and lost productivity costs. Hence, it’s crucial to take care of your employees.

One major aspect that can contribute to worker happiness is a sense of well-being in one’s workspace. The design of an office—from air quality and lighting to fitness opportunities and comfortable chairs—has a big impact on how employees rate their overall happiness with a company.

Include natural lighting

Employees who work in naturally lit office environments reported 63 percent fewer headaches, 56 percent less drowsiness, and 51 percent less eyestrain, according to a 2017 Cornell study. It’s not always possible to add a skylight or more windows to the office, but there are small steps you can take on almost any budget.

If your office environment already has windows, remove nearby furniture, thick curtains, or other items that may be blocking the light.

If you’re short on windows, invest in full-spectrum lighting. Full-spectrum lighting mimics the light spectrum of natural light. Have fluorescent lighting? Consider purchasing fluorescent light covers, which change fluorescent or LED lighting into natural light.

Improve air quality

Many new and renovated buildings have poor air quality. Breathing poor-quality air for eight hours a day influences your employees. It can result in sick days, allergies, and lower cognition. When air quality is improved, the cognitive functioning of adults can increase significantly, according to a 2021 Harvard University study.

One affordable way to increase air quality at home or at the shared office is to offer HEPA air purifiers for employees. Air purifiers remove bacteria and germs from the air, leading to healthier and happy employees. Want more information on air purifiers?

Create outdoor workspaces

If your office building has access to a rooftop garden or outdoor space, use it! Encourage employees to have meetings outdoors, congregate outdoors, or just take breaks outdoors. Not only does it help break up the day, access to nature is also linked to reduced anxiety, according to a 2021 study.

If your office doesn’t have access to nature onsite, think about whether your work model allows your employees flexibility in where they work. Can they work in their own garden or a nearby park? Can you build in breaks in your employees’ days, so they have time to step outside for a breath of fresh air or a quick walk?

Create indoor natural spaces

If you can’t create an outdoor patio or rooftop garden, consider bringing the outdoors in. Studies have found increased happiness and productivity when natural elements are brought indoors. Natural elements can be as simple as adding potted plants to the office. Or, go bigger with living walls, indoor water features, or even a fish tank.

Encourage exercise on the job

It’s tough to sit at a desk all day. Researchers have linked sedentary behavior with stress, anxiety, and depression. On the flip side, active employees may be more productive and in a better mood.

Exercise can be incorporated into the workday in a few different ways. Offer employees under-desk exercise equipment, like under-desk treadmills, ellipticals, or bikes. Or raise the bar even higher, and offer weekly yoga, meditation, or other wellness classes in the office or through virtual platforms.

Make your employees comfortable

Outdated chairs, desks that don’t adjust, clunky keyboards—any of these can lead to employee discomfort, strain, and loss of productivity. Investing in ergonomic furniture keeps employees more alert, engaged, and productive.

One ergonomic option that has been linked directly to health and productivity at work is active workstations, such as standing, cycling, or treadmill workstations. Research shows that each of these types of workstations has different benefits, including decreasing boredom and improvement in simple processing tasks.

Employee wellness is key to a happy customer. These design tips can help improve not only the quality of your employee work experience but the quality of your customer experience as well.

Portions of this article originally appeared on the Quill website.

The Sundance Company                                                                
Established in 1976, The Sundance Company has the experience to help you with your commercial real estate needs throughout the Boise Valley. If your requirements include property management, leasing, real estate development, project planning, construction, or space planning then look to us. The Sundance Company has more than 1.6 million square feet of office and industrial space available in prime locations in the Boise metropolitan area. More information is available at www.sundanceco.com or 208.322.7300.

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