When we go to work something happens and we rarely notice, it’s a subconscious event that happens, a self-preservation thing. It would take an awful lot of effort, not to mention training & practice to stop, change or control. But, it’s the source of much low-level stress; not a ‘good stress’ type (although I’ve never really believed there is such a thing).
So what is this thing that happens to us all?
It’s the donning of our ‘Work Mask’.
We all adjust our behaviour to be the version of ourselves that we believe that:
a) our boss will praise & promote … and/or … b) our work colleagues will accept and like the most
We spend a lot of time at work with people that we don’t get to choose to be with. For most of us, more time is spent with work colleagues, than we’re able to spend with the family members and friends that we want to be with.
This odd situation, one that we now are so used to it’s simply accepted, goes unnoticed, isn’t even considered a ‘strange way to have to spend our short lives’; has, just as quietly, brought us all to the wearing of our ‘Work Mask’. How each of us changes our behaviour is not relevant to the point I’m coming to, what is important is that to wear our Work Mask all day, everyday at work takes an awful lot of effort, self-control and sub-conscious activity. It also induces a constant and consistent level of stress. Not a healthy element of stress, but one that drains energy levels slowly each day, each week, every month.
Wouldn’t all employers want an increased level of performance and productivity from all employees, every day? It’s time for employers around the world to recognise that the solution to having this utopia, isn’t in larger HR teams, bigger recruitment budgets, more training or replacing otherwise loyal employees. A significant part of the solution can be found in the creativity of interior designers & architects and in moving a good dollop of that recruitment budget across to the workplace design budget (which usually doesn’t even exist). This eventually, also cuts the cost of new employee training & induction because fewer existing employees leave voluntarily or otherwise.
The design solution is to style some workplace areas to make employees ‘feel’ as if they are at home it can be done very easily. For example by choosing textiles, patterns and colours strongly associated with home decor a feeling of Home can be achieved.
Have you ever said, or heard someone else say “I had to work from home yesterday and do you know, I got so much more done there.” There are many reasons that we tell ourselves for having been able to do so much more good quality work at home. However, the main reason is that we were our real-selves. No energy was being used to wear our Work Mask, we were focused on our work, maybe people we love to be with and in surroundings that were natural, familiar, relaxing and comforting to us. As a result our productivity and performance levels went up.
Use living room layouts, wallpaper, rugs, plants, lamps and make sure that their are plenty of power points around these settings so that people can use technology easily and comfortably whilst ‘making themselves at home’. Use furniture that is more residential than Workplace, encourage commercial furniture suppliers to add these styles to their product ranges.
It’s no accident or fluke that the latest hotel lounges are being designed in exactly this style; the big names in this sector have already understood that to continue to enjoy the huge business that is ‘meetings’ in their lobbies and lounges, they need to ‘home style’ them. It’s what people want, desire and need in our stressful working lives.
The last (but significant) design element to be included in creating a ‘Home Office’ style in the Workplace is to use color, textiles, furnishings and space to help create that crucial sense-of-wellbeing that is an essential ingredient in our lives today.
(Also a useful article: http://bit.ly/Interfacedesignspace-Mindfulness)
Improving employee productivity, performance, wellbeing and loyalty can all be achieved, simply, easily by an employer. No vast sums of money are required, just imagination, a little creativity and a desire to make life better for everyone. And it will reduce recruitment needs and costs – perhaps making it self-funding.
If you’d like to know more about Workplace Design Trends, or our inspirational seminars on the subject take a moment to get in touch, we’d love to hear from you: Phil email or call: +44 7896 088 996