5 key design features that drive employee happiness
by Haworth, Inc.
These days, the office is less a tool for increasing productivity and more about making employee well-being a priority.
This shift is partly due to Millennials who blend their work and personal life. They come to work with the need for belonging, connection, and contribution to a greater good. This change in workplace expectations led the Haworth Research team to ask: Could office design become a driver of happiness and meaningful work?
The team’s findings show that a person’s workspace does affect happiness in two key ways. First, thoughtful workplace design gives people more control at work. Second, organizations that invest in flexible interiors where people are empowered to work the way they want demonstrate that they care about their people. This investment makes employees feel valued and contributes to their happiness.
When the Haworth Research team reached out to 2,000 office workers across the US and beyond, they discovered five features that influence the ability to focus and increase the feeling of being valued—which increases employee happiness. They are:
Legibility and access to daylight have the largest impact on feeling valued. This makes sense because these two features are part of the overall ambient work environment. They affect everyone, regardless of the location or type of space used.
The other features that contribute to feeling valued—adjustability, technology, and office storage cabinets—are experienced primarily, but not exclusively, within the individual workspace.
“Cube farms” that are laid out with monotonous regularity create a disorienting maze and have costly negative consequences because they:
On the other hand, legible floorplans are easy to navigate. They make it easy for people to create a “mental map” of the layout. The layout sets up a predictable rhythm that makes it easy for them to learn or easily guess how to navigate the space. Using design cues, they can find any location in the building.
Use design to make employees feel valued and provide legible workspaces. You’ll make workers happier by satisfying their need to connect and contribute to a greater good—and you’ll help create more productive organizations.
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