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How you choose to design your office space is important. It will send a message about your company. It will affect how employees feel about entering the space every day. Our physical surroundings can impact us in a variety of ways that can affect things like our mood and productivity. If you are trying to figure out how to design your office or are in need of a redesign, here are some tips to get you started.

Maximize Natural Lighting

One of the more unappealing aspects of the workplace is the florescent lighting. While you may need some artificial lighting in your office, maximize natural sunlight. Limited exposure to sunlight is known to impact moods and it may even hamper productivity. Many studies have shown increased exposure to natural lighting improved productivity in the workplace. Furthermore, our eyes are naturally equipped to deal with changing levels of natural light—compared to being under the constant glare of artificial light, workers are less likely to experience headaches and eye fatigue. We respond strongly to natural lighting and the more of it your staff can soak up during the day, the better off they will be.

Create Casual Spaces

Besides the requisite break room to eat lunch, you also want to create other casual spaces where employees can gather away from their working area. Relaxed, informal areas are a great way to unwind, which relieves stress and boosts creativity. These common areas are also a great place to foster relationships with others in the company.

Encourage a Neat Work Area

A messy office is not only bad for productivity and efficiency; it can negatively impact our overall mental state. No one feels good surrounded by chaos. This is especially important if you have a small space where clients will need to pass through. Instead of having individual garbage bins at each employees desk where the garbage can really pile up, encourage them to put garbage directly into the main trash cans; this also increase the likelihood they will recycle. In the design phase, many people overlook the storage aspect yet it is usually one of the top complaints in an office. When planning your office design, make sure you carefully consider your storage needs and plan accordingly.

Consider Ergonomics

Did you know that hundreds of thousands of work days are lost to work-related musculoskeletal disorders ever year? That is no small number. When choosing your office furniture, do not skimp on the proper chairs and other items because you want to save some money—in the long run, this choice may be the costlier one. Research has shown ergonomic chairs improve productivity and reduce absenteeism. Moveable monitor arms can put computer screens at eye levels, reducing neck pain. Do your best to create an environment that supports the health of your workers and reduces the risk of work-related strain.

Make the Space Inspiring

For any business to be successful, it will need to always be looking ahead, finding ways to solve problems, finding ways to do things better, creating new products and services. All of this requires creativity and the environment we find ourselves in can be a major factor in whether or not our creative juices are flowing. Create a space that inspires. Besides maximizing natural lighting, incorporate natural materials into your work space; get lots of plants. Choose colors carefully for the different parts of the office—consider whether you want a space to excite or soothe. Hang plenty of artwork and make space for other objects, such as sculptures, that make the space more aesthetically pleasing.

Kelli Cooper is a freelance writer who covers a range of business topics. She especially enjoys writing pieces about how people can create spaces that increase productivity and well-being. If you are in Australia and need furniture for your workplace, check out office furniture Brisbane.