A 2019 Gallup report found that 28% of workers feel burned out often, a 23% increase from 2016, which leads to workers taking more sick days or leaving their positions.
Companies today are realizing the importance of supporting their workers’ wellness, how it has a direct impact on productivity and how they can transform offices to address the issue of poor mental health in the workplace.
Workplace design has evolved tremendously in the past decade, going from neutral-colored cubicles, to completely open offices with virtually no privacy.
The issue with open offices is that they can be incredibly distracting and loud, which can hinder productivity. Now, designers are finding a way to balance these two extremes so that offices can support collaborative areas, as well as private spaces for individual work.
Some redesigned offices in the past year have started including padded panels to dampen noise, movable furniture, freewheeling whiteboards and more.
“One of the things we know about burnout is that people feel stalled, or they feel that they don’t have enough autonomy,” said Tracy Brower, a principal in applied research and consulting at office furniture firm Steelcase.
Flexible workspaces have used furniture design to transform lonely desk lunches into spontaneous lunch meetings with standing desks and lightweight chairs that can easily be moved around to accommodate multiple people.
Another example of accommodating various work styles is Microsoft’s New Space, a 6,000 square foot facility at the company’s headquarters that features screen-filled meeting pods and collaboration spaces.