Conseil en innovation stratégique

Need to relax? Go to work!

According to a recent survey run by Dale Office Interiors, an English company whose mission is to “design and build bespoke, high-performance workspaces that enhance business performance », 1 in 5 office workers agree that having a place to relax at work is the key to increased productivity. Based on a sample of 500 respondents, this survey confirms the growing importance of workplace design on employees’ performance.

The focus on performance and productivity is definitely an invitation to consider working spaces as an investment, not a cost, which comes in many different ways:

  • Giving employees the possibility to relax away from their desk can contribute to decreasing significantly staff illness, by reducing backaches or headaches, or just spending less time in a seated position.
  • Breakout areas are places where employees can not only meet, collaborate and improve their soft skills, but it is also an opportunity for information-sharing and networking which has become crucial in matrix organizations or project-group structures.
  • Employees don’t want any more to be stuck to a traditional desk and chair but expect variety in the workplace, an expectation that implies agile and multi-use spaces. If the same room can be turned either in a lunch place or a client meeting area, it can significantly improve its occupancy rate.

Actually, relaxing workspaces can exist in many forms, from the nap room to the informal meeting room. Ben & Jerry’s, the Vermont-based ice cream company and known as one of the earliest adopters of this policy, supplies a room with a bed and pillows that can be used by its employees. According to its representative, “the room itself is really part of the larger corporate culture here and the company’s belief that a happy employee is a productive employee”.

More and more companies, such as Zappos, Nike or Uber, convinced that a short afternoon catnap of 20-30 minutes enhances alertness and concentration and help employees get the most energy out of their day, have created nap rooms or facilities on site such as the “Energy-pods” at Google, which look like a slick and futuristic capsule where people are allowed to nap in the middle of the day without interference and are eventually woken-up by pleasant lights and vibrations.

‽ When you consider, following another research of Swan Medical, that over 50% of employees in the United States experience poor or insufficient sleep, why don’t you encourage an afternoon break away from the desk?

Bruno Bourdon