Work is changing all the time. Why do workplaces lag behind? Maybe we’ve grown so accustomed to our offices feeling like fluorescent fields of grey that we just don’t think it’s possible to change the way things have always been. But with a few thoughtful details, you can seriously transform your workplace experience to work better for people.
Instead of leaving life at the door invite employees to bring their full selves with rooms and spaces that encourage balance. Rooms for exercise, play, quiet time, and meditation have benefits beyond ‘cool facts to share with candidates.’ Without these spaces and the cultural norms to support their use, productivity and employee morale can suffer.
These are 3 different types of meeting rooms or spaces in your office that will boost productivity, mindfulness, and create a better workplace experience for employees.
#1: A meditation room to reduce stress
Meditation, in any context, is a low-cost method for bringing stress levels down. While many mock the need for yoga or meditation at work the numbers are hard to dismiss. The Center for Disease Control found that sixty percent of lost workdays are due to stress. By improving important human functions like decision-making, listening, and memory, meditation can increase productivity too.
Meditation rooms provide employees the chance to take some deep breaths, collect their thoughts, and then continue on with their workday—they also double as a quiet place to pray. There’s even a meditation room at the San Francisco International airport—probably one of the smartest places for some deep breaths.
Try: If you’ve got room in your budget and your office, turn one of your meeting rooms into a softly lit room with a yoga mat, some pillows, a few plants, and a blanket or two—no windows required. If space and money are tight, consider bringing in a meditation coach for an hour and encourage employees to gather in the conference room for a guided session.
#2: A nursing room for new moms
A nursing room is a space for women to express milk in private. By providing benefits to pregnant employees, employers can make the transition back to work a lot smoother for new moms and help eliminate the choice between a family and a career.
Not only is this a wise business move, establishing that your company values its employees and their infants’ health, in some states, it's the law. Creating a nursing room may sound expensive but similar to a meditation room all you need is a private room with some personalized touches to help new moms feel comfortable and productive at work.
A good nursing room is an area that’s explicitly just for nursing mothers, meaning a bathroom won’t cut it. They should be clean and private with plenty of outlets for pumping devices. Google’s nursing rooms can be booked in advance through a convenient online system. Their rooms are stocked with basic necessities and were designed with input from current nursing employees.
Try: You can easily configure meeting room booking software to include your wellness spaces. Giving mother’s the opportunity to walk up and reserve it at the door or schedule time in advance will help make new moms feel encouraged to address an important need in their personal life during their workday.
#3: A heads-down room to quiet the noise
Sometimes it can feel like you do your best work when you’re not at work. If you ever worked from home you know exactly what I mean. Fewer distractions, controlled thermostats, quiet time, and the option to switch to the couch, are all too tempting in today’s open-office floor plan.
Extroverts, introverts, and everyone in between can benefit from a heads-down room in the office. A room with softer light, a few desks, a couch, blankets, a door, and a ‘no talking’ policy is an easy way to give people the quiet time they need to focus on their work.
With the ability to change up their working environment to suit their work, employees can more easily manage their workday—increasing their productivity. By incorporating different spaces based on types of activities you can help your employees find a more natural groove to things done, plus it’s nice to tune the world out for a little while especially with a big client presentation coming up.
Try: Don’t have a space where you can shut out the noise by closing a door? Create a headphone policy so when employees have their headphones or AirPods in, people around them know not to interrupt their focus.
An office where you can (finally) bring life to work
As the workplace evolves from an alternate reality where human emotions are left at the door, employees are looking for a workplace that better supports their work and life. By making space for people to be their full selves with family needs, stress, and alone time, you can create a workplace where work actually gets done and people focus on the work matters most.