Transform Your Energy by Changing Your Workspace

According to the ancient Chinese principle of Feng Shui, your environment and your relationship to that space constantly affects you. In other words, a clear space helps you clear your mind. Colors, placement of furniture and use of space help play a part in attracting energy (“chi”).

For a modern view, Sally Augustin, Ph.D., a practicing environmental psychologist and principal at Design With Science, stated in the Harvard Business Review, “one of the things that environmental psychologists focus on is how design affects mood. Via a chain of psychological chain reactions, mood influences worker engagement; more positive moods link to higher levels of engagement.” 

“Workplaces where employees are engaged communicate to the people who work there — and anyone else in them — that their employer values them and the contribution that they make.” writes Augustin. “The psychological lift that comes from feeling respected enhances engagement.” 

“A place indicates respect for employees when it supports them as they do their jobs. Workers want to do their work well. Workplace performance has a big influence on self-identity,” writes Augustin. Workspaces can be designed to improve collaboration, problem solving, and creative thinking. 

Here are some things to consider according to Augustin: 

Color is Powerful.
Where work is hard, these places should be relaxing. Use colors that aren’t very saturated but are relatively bright and that aren’t cluttered. Where the mental work is relatively easy, more energizing spaces are suitable. The space should include only a few colors and patterns, and carefully consider placement of decorative objects also avoid stark colors. Stark colors seems to disengage workers. 

Gather feedback and listen.
Employees interpret their environments based on their national, organizational and professional culture and personal experiences. Get a third-party to ask the employees their opinions, guarantee that all responses will be anonymous and kept confidential, and listen.
Allow workers to have some control and privacy. Allow employees to have some input on lighting, temperature settings, and mobility in furnishings, at least to some extent. Make sure to allow privacy when it is needed beyond the bathroom stalls.

Vulnerable or at ease test.
Tuck small meeting spaces into alcoves off hallways or floors of workspaces. Consider the positioning of seats. Are seats faced away from walkways and are these items in natural or comfortable positions? Ask yourself, would employees feel vulnerable or at ease? These simple questions will help design a space that will likely allow workers to feel engaged.

Add Green Life to the Office.
Having plants in the office provides aesthetics helps with the air quality and stress reliever.

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Written by Front Street Intern Brittanie Phillips.