The right environment for staff can have a positive impact on their health and wellbeing as well as on their job satisfaction and productivity levels.
Physical design can affect our mental health and happiness. For example, research has shown that air quality and lighting at work can have significant effects on brain function and productivity. Poor lighting can cause headaches, eye strain and tiredness which can all contribute to stress and thereby anxiety and depression.
Studies have shown that sunlight exposure has been shown to relate positively to job satisfaction and organizational commitment and negatively to depressed mood and anxiety. Direct sunlight was a dominant predictor of anxiety, indirect sunlight was a dominant predictor of depressed mood, job satisfaction and organizational commitment.
Colours have the capacity to impact our mood and have an influence on our mental and physical well-being. Research in neuroscience and psychology has shown the effect that colour has on our brains and our hormones, and therefore an effect on our mood, behaviour and our physiology. Therefore, the colours that we surround ourselves with on a daily basis can affect how we feel and therefore the choice of colour in our workplaces is so important.
Light is made of colours, and when it strikes our retina, it converts into electrical impulses that passes onto the hypothalamus, which in turn affects our hormones. Different colours have different wavelengths and therefore they affect the endocrine system and consequently our mood and stress levels in different ways.
Colour psychology has shown that green is a mood-enhancing colour and is known to be a very effective stress-buster. Natural elements such as plants can help create buffers between stress triggers and employees. Use of more plants, larger windows opening out to nature, water features and open spaces can all create a healthier and calmer workplace environment.
When designing workplaces consider air quality, with access to fresh air, lighting, including access to appropriate amounts sunlight as well as the colours we surround ourselves with.