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The Effects Of Office Space Design On Employee Satisfaction


An average South African work week is just over 40 hours. And it is estimated that if you average 40 hours of work a week, you will spend nearly one third – 30% – of your life at work. So, being comfortable at work isn’t just about efficiency and productivity in the office. It also has a significant impact on how you enjoy your life.  

Given this statistic, it’s unsurprising that the time you spend at work has an impact on your health and wellbeing. The more comfortable that an employee finds their workplace, the more relaxed and comfortable they are at work. 

This is why more and more businesses have started to introspect on the importance of staff satisfaction.

Employee satisfaction and productivity audit

One of the most important factors that any business must concentrate on is how satisfied its employees are. Once you know this, you know where to focus improvement efforts. 

Employee satisfaction impacts a business in many ways, including:

  • Reducing employee turnover
  • Helping employees stay motivated and engaged
  • Ensuring that employees are relaxed and not frustrated
  • Helping drive higher revenues for the organization

How to improve staff satisfaction?

There are many employee satisfaction factors that employers must consider. These include:

  1. Adequate pay
  2. Job security
  3. Trust between employees and supervisors
  4. Work-life balance
  5. A positive work environment

Each of these factors must be looked at carefully by employers. However, while most businesses intuitively understand the importance of the first four listed factors, the final factor can prove more challenging. 

A positive work environment encompasses many things. These range from comfort between co-workers and a positive interpersonal environment to – importantly – a comfortable physical environment. 

Does office design have an impact on employee satisfaction?

Businesses are slowly realizing that an inviting physical environment is just as essential to employee satisfaction and productivity as accepting workplace social dynamics. 

Global research indicates that fully one-third of employees around the world feel disengaged from their workplaces and jobs. At the same time, another study shows that 87% of workers say that they would like their employers to offer a healthier workplace for them to spend time in. 

In order to bridge this gap, ensuring that your workplace is effectively designed is crucial. 

5 Key design concepts to enhance workplace satisfaction

Maximize employee satisfaction benefits by paying attention to these elements of office design:

  1. Lighting: Incorporate as much natural light as possible. 
  2. Acoustics: Incorporate silent breakaway areas where employees can work in quiet away from general office hubbub.
  3. Air: Installing air filtration systems, and bringing in office plants. 
  4. Furniture: Research indicates that the more comfortable an employee is while working, the more efficient and productive their work is. Furniture should allow employees to easily change their posture during the day, minimizing potential health risks and the risk of developing musculoskeletal disorders. 
  5. Layout: The office layout is perhaps one of the most important elements of designing an office space. Offices should, as far as possible, provide spaces for employees to work privately and focus. At the same time, there should also be space available for them to create social, informal connections. There should be space available to accommodate visitors, guests, and temporary workers, so permanent employees don’t have to worry about giving up their own space. 

Designing offices specifically for staff satisfaction

A decade ago it seemed strange to design workspaces with staff satisfaction front and centre, instead of focusing on employee productivity and efficiency. Today employers and employees are reaping the lifestyle benefits of professionally designed office spaces.