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Staff happiness is an integral part of building a successful business. Happy staff are inevitably more productive, more loyal, and can enhance your reputation by saying positive things about the company outside of work.

And now, research has revealed that workplace design is the most important factor when it comes to staff happiness.

Read on for the facts, figures, and some great interior design tips which can help to reduce stress in the workplace.

The Research

A 2016 survey by Office Genie revealed that design made the most significant difference to staff satisfaction levels. 

Out of the 2,000 UK office workers they asked, 16% said that their working environment caused them stress. In addition to this, 12% expressed a desire for a “better working environment.”

The survey also established that when someone likes their office interior design, it can boost their happiness by an incredible 33%.

How to Spot Unhappy Employees

According to FM World magazine, mental health issues accounted for 15.8 million lost days last year (11.5%). Mental ill health affects 1 in 4 people in the UK, with common conditions including anxiety, depression, stress and eating disorders.

There are a number of signs that point to mental ill health at work. When monitoring an employee, make sure to look out for the following traits:

  • A dip in their usual level of performance, e.g. increased errors, missing deadlines and forgetfulness
  • A formerly punctual employee becoming regularly late
  • Increased absence due to illness
  • Taking on excessive amounts of work and leaving the office late
  • Being fixated with fair treatment and often using grievance procedures

It is also important to look for any emotional or physical changes in your staff that may suggest mental health issues. Emotional changes may be irritability, tearfulness or lack of confidence. Physical changes may be extreme weight loss/gain, or a lack of care over appearance.

The Survey Also Revealed Design Preferences

According to the research, 59% of employees feel that working from home improves workplace happiness. ‘Office at home’ was the most popular setup, earning an average 4.0/5 rating. In comparison, the cubicle design was rated 3.9, traditional (many/several rooms) got 3.8, while open plan came last with 3.6.

While this may be the case, it’s not always possible to achieve a regular office-home balance. For example, a colleague may be running a team or regularly meeting clients in the office, so therefore their presence is essential.

As a compromise, many businesses are seeking the help of interior designers to bring in a residential look. As we mentioned in our Design Trends 2017 blog, the ‘Home Office’ style office design is becoming more popular due to its emphasis on comfort.

Rap Tip: For a really homely feel introduce sleeping pods, sofas and a kitchen area. These are important elements of the ‘Home Office’ design, and are great for re-energising your employees.

Other Stress-Busting Office Interior Design Ideas…

The Biophillic Design

With most employees spending over eight hours a day at work, it’s hard to find the time to experience the calming ambiance of nature. However, the biophillic design brings the outside in with plants, walls of foliage and natural light, thus helping to relax employees.

Central to the biophillic office design is the green colour scheme, which is also said to reduce stress due to the calming psychological impact it has on employees. In fact,office refurbishments are a great way to refresh your office interiors and boost staff morale.

Breakout Areas

Consulting an interior fit out company to introduce a breakout area is a great way to relax your staff and, in turn, boost productivity.

As a means of increasing employee happiness, some companies opt for the fun breakout areas with ping pong tables and bean bag chairs. For those with a more conservative workplace culture, a kitchen/cafe and contemporary furniture is often favoured.

For a really impressive example of a fun breakout area, check out our blog on Google’s modern workspace design. Over at Google’s Kings Cross HQ, they even boast a running track and free massages for staff.

Work Zones

Work Zones allow employees to choose how they want to work. For example, segregated rooms or pods can be introduced alongside shared desks to create the perfect balance between private and collaborative work.

Acoustic pods are becoming increasingly popular in office interior design due to the fact they can block out sound. This is particularly good for workers who wish to escape unwanted noise or distractions that can lead to stress.

This research is proof that the happiness of your staff should always be high on your list of priorities. It also confirms that, in order to grow as a company, choosing the right office interior design is essential.

Thinking of making changes to your office? Rap Interiors are an award winning interior fit out company with over 25 years of experience. Our dedicated team of interior designers in Kent will transform your space so that employees will love coming into work!  Contact us on 0333 600 1234 or email