At Active, we love to learn and stay ahead of the latest trends and research in workplace design. That's why last week, we sent our marketing coordinator, Stéphane Boucaud to a seminar led by the Herman Miller Insight Group.

From the seminar entitled 'Cognitive Wellbeing in the Office' led by Lillian Antonio, Herman Miller's in-house ergonomist, Stéphane shares his top takeaways:

Ergonomics is an essential part of workspace design. After all, if a space is designed without its users in mind, its unlikely to result in an efficient and productive environment. It is important to note that ergonomics is more than just designing workplaces, systems and products that work specifically for the human body. Physical, cognitive and social factors all play a part in influencing ergonomic design in an effort to bring out the best in employees.

Relating to concentration, productivity and engagement,cognitive wellbeing should be considered high on the agenda when designing an office.

Environment

The environment we work in plays a big part in our productivity. For this reason, more and more people are opting to work from home, preferring a quiet, comfortable environment over a noisy, distracting office. Workplaces require different work zones and tools to bring about better productivity from employees. Work stations with and without computers, for example, helps provide employees with more choice of where to work and avoid busy environments that may hinder productivity on a particular task.

With the popularity of open plan layouts, it is essential to manage noise levels in the workplace to facilitate concentration. While collaborative space is necessary for certain activities, quieter environments are equally important for focused work. While no one loves a piercingly silent office, loud offices can be highly distracting. To combat noise levels, sound masking can be achieved by the separation of desks with sound-proof board and acoustic panels which also offers employees some additional privacy while diverting unwanted noise.

The overall aesthetics of an office environment, guided by colour, design and spatial layout, can have a significant impact on the people who work there. For instance, choosing a bright colour palette for furniture, wall and floor coverings can have the effect of energising a workplace, while muted tones used in conjunction with lighting can create tranquil spaces that encourage different behavior and can significantly affect productivity.

By looking after employees' cognitive wellbeing, other elements often fall into place. Ultimately achieving the end goal of employees feeling energised and ready to produce high-quality work as a result of increased wellbeing levels.

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