It’s that time of the year when most of us are looking forward to a much-needed break…

Another busy year with plenty of deadlines and challenges is one thing but experiencing undue stress and fatigue in the workplace could be pointing to a space that does little to nurture or rejuvenate. Gone are the days of depressing offices sporting claustrophobic, boring grey cubicles and bad lighting.

Today’s Millennials seek bright, inspiring spaces that enable workers to give of their best. Modern workspace design is being given as much consideration as residential homes do – and rightly so, given that many of us spend as much time there and are expected to be our most productive and creative.

For business owners who want to create enabling environments, there are some simple principles that can be incorporated into the workplace with relative ease. Paul Keursten, co-founder of OPEN, experts in the design, building and managing of co-working spaces of the future, has advice for ensuring workspace helps facilitate inspiration and business success rather than reducing it.

Keursten suggests the following 7 tips for keeping energy levels optimal and brain function healthy:

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1.     Walk & work:

Office-based jobs can result in an incredibly sedentary lifestyle during the workweek, which can have negative effects on posture and general health over the long-term. Movement is important and so workspaces that provide options to get moving shows key investment in your staff.

Clever tools such as ‘Walk and Work’ treadmills are a great way of helping staff reach daily exercise goals. OPEN offers these in its locations to allow people to remain healthy and active while performing day-to-day or administrative intensive tasks.

Boxing bags and an indoor putting green are other fun features that can take a workspace to the next level and get people moving.

2.     There’s an app for it:

Useful apps that make exercise quick and easy to do can also be great if introduced into the workplace. An example is JAMM sessions that encourage simple 1-minute exercises for flexibility and strength that can be done at any point throughout the day. OPEN does weekly workshops where members can ‘JAMM’ together with fellow co-workers.

workouts
Copyright: vadimgozhda / 123RF Stock Photo

3.     Yes to yoga:

Employers who offer after-work or lunchtime yoga sessions make it easier for staff to engage in activity that encourages deep breathing and movement – both useful in reducing stress.

4.     Comfort first:

Today there are a variety of working environments and the point is that different tools work for different people. From standing desks, height adjustable tables, laptop and keyboard elevating stands, additional screens, and ergonomically designed chairs, it’s worth finding out what individual people find most comfortable and as far as possible, trying to meet those needs.

5.     Bringing the outside in:

Outside environments i.e. bringing the outside into the space through plants, but also creating environments out in the fresh air that are conducive to both work and play can be a great way of bringing life into an office.

Outside environments i.e. bringing the outside into the space through plants, but also creating environments out in the fresh air that are conducive to both work and play can be a great way of bringing life into an office.

6.     Breakaway spaces:

Environments that include comfortable and relaxing furnishings such as fat sacks, hammocks and fake grass provide a much-needed chill area for staff that need to take a breather from a hectic day.

7.     Feeling it:

Mixing up textures in workspaces can help create different environments and spaces with different feelings to allow individuals to find the space that best stimulates them.

The idea is that by designing spaces that offer comfort and convenience as well as aesthetic pleasure, employers are ultimately contributing to a general sense of well-being for staff. “The same deadlines and pressures will still apply to stressful and busy jobs but by creating spaces that help rather than hinder workers, you’re helping people towards coping with the challenges they face in the workplace,” says Keursten.