Raise profits by Designing Psychological Safety into your Workplace
It’s only natural to favor some spaces over others, especially when it comes to the workplace. Some employees like social and collaborative spaces, while others prefer peace and quiet. Some employees prefer spontaneity, while others crave practicality. Although everyone will have different preferences for their work environment, they all share one thing in common… the workspace will have an impact on how they feel and perform.
Have you ever thought about the subconscious message of your interior design choices? What kind of energy does your workspace promote? Let’s dive into the psychological impact interior design can have on your employees and why psychological safety is so important for performance—and ultimately your bottom line!
Feeling Psychologically Safe in a Space
According to the Center for Creative Leadership, psychological safety is defined as “the belief that you won’t be punished or humiliated for speaking up with ideas, questions, concerns, or mistakes.” Psychological safety is particularly crucial at work, where most employees spend 40+ hours a week. This can affect employee retention, productivity and innovation.
Here are the benefits of psychological safety at work, to name a few:
- Reduce stress and prevent burnout
- Empower employees to speak with confidence
- Promote honest feedback
- Encourage risk-taking
- Foster equitable experiences
- Increased employee retention
- Enhanced collaboration
Essentially, if employees feel comfortable enough to be themselves and share their thoughts without fear of being alienated, judged, or misunderstood, everyone will benefit from that.
How to Leverage Interior Design to Build Psychological Safety in the Workplace
The first step to building trust and psychological safety is to find out how your team works best. The most seamless way to achieve this is by distributing a survey to let your staff be heard!
More specifically, our proprietary Workplace Productivity Analysis® offers custom-designed questions to pinpoint the right workspace changes. In addition to this staff-wide survey, Relocation Strategies also holds a series of one-on-one meetings with department heads and stakeholders to understand budgetary and logistical concerns. Our consultants and designers pair survey results, stakeholder information and extensive industry knowledge to make recommendations that suit your team’s needs.
Invest in Quality Furniture & Attend to Accommodations
It’s simple… when you invest in your staff, you’ll see that return on investment in profits! Nobody wants to be physically uncomfortable at work, and it’s important to open the floor to those who would like to request accommodations. For instance, maybe one of your employees is having back pain and requests a chair that is more ergonomically suited for them, or maybe there’s an employee who prefers shifting stances throughout the day and requests an adjustable desk. Generally speaking, it’s important to provide your staff with furniture that supports their bodies to prevent workplace-related injuries. When you address your employees’ needs, they will feel seen and heard and in turn, develop trust in your company.
Adopt Resimerical Design
Resimerical (residential + commercial) design mixes contemporary aspects of residential design in commercial settings—giving your team the best of both worlds! Noting the previous trends of commercial design, most of the time commercial spaces play it safe with a bland, non-stimulating environment. However, adding residential aspects of design to the commercial space will liven up the mood and offer more comfort with homey touches. Resimercal design is the ultimate “wow” factor when it comes to first impressions of a space.
Increase Square Footage
For companies that have the means and motivation to relocate or renovate, we suggest increasing the square footage of your workspace. Typically, busy, high-density offices are uncomfortable—whether employees are in their work area, break room, restroom, lobby, kitchen, etc. Opting for more space provides your staff with more privacy and personal space, causing fewer distractions and disruptions.
Designate Your Spaces For Different Uses
It’s safe to say that the more square footage you have to work with, the easier it is to designate different spaces. However, if you’re working in a smaller space, achieving spaces designated for different scenarios is still possible, but may require some extra creativity.
What brings many people psychological safety and peace is knowing that they have choices. Specifically, the ability to choose a space that works best for their comfort and productivity. Based on the survey results from your team, it may be a good idea to implement quiet zones, social hub areas, common spaces for collaboration, and reservable office spaces—all available to your staff when needed. This eliminates the anxiety of not knowing what you will encounter when you arrive at work.
When your employees have the option to choose where they would like to work, they will know what to expect and the standards set for that particular space. This also eliminates conflict between employees who may seek different working environments—think of someone who prefers to collaborate through open dialogue versus someone who needs to internally process their ideas before sharing.
Reimagine Your Workplace with Relocation Strategies
Ultimately, employees who feel comfortable and psychologically safe are known to perform at a higher rate and in turn increase your profits. At Relocation Strategies, we have over 35 years of experience renovating, relocating, reconfiguring and reimagining our clients’ workplaces to suit their needs. Trust the experts in the transformation of your space. Of our clients surveyed, after our Workplace Productivity Analysis® was administered, employee engagement rose by 25%. Let’s chat more about how we can help you reimagine your workspace.
Interested in learning more about the psychology of the workplace? Check out our CEO + Owner Melissa St. John’s interview on the Urban Foundry podcast with Andrew Urban!