Where you work matters: How workplace design impacts employee experience

Does your office feng-shui really matter? Spoiler alert: Yes.

A meeting room in Foundever Cape Town facilities showing a meeting table, chairs, flatscreen TV, buffet and large windows

Published ·February 26, 2024

Reading time·4 min

Does where you work matter? Just like we always say at Foundever™…the employee experience is the customer experience. Research shows workplace environment plays a crucial role in employee wellbeing and satisfaction (95% of employees think that a well-designed office makes them more productive), which, in turn, impacts business success. This is why we make it a priority to carefully plan and execute thoughtful design in our hubs around the globe.

So how do we strategize to make our workplaces the best in the biz? Let’s break it down.

5 elements to consider in workplace design strategy

A well-designed office creates a positive atmosphere, promoting employee encouragement and creativity. So, what elements should you focus on during the design process? Here are five important themes to bring to your workplace.

  1. Elements of nature: Incorporating elements of nature such as plants and greenery can have a positive effect on mood and mental wellbeing. Plants not only improve air quality but also create a calming and inviting atmosphere.
  2. Natural light: Natural light is essential for regulating the body’s circadian rhythm, enhancing mood and promoting a sense of wellbeing. Employees exposed to natural light tend to be more alert and productive.
  3. Fresh color: It’s proven that colors like blue and green have a calming effect and can help reduce anxiety and increase concentration. These colors can also evoke feelings of tranquility and promote a sense of balance.
  4. Open environment: Open layouts encourage collaboration, communication and community among team members, facilitating the exchange of ideas and enhancing problem-solving capabilities.
  5. Comfortable furniture: The right furniture balanced with proper lighting contribute to the physical comfort of employees, reducing the risk of strain or injury and improving overall productivity.

At Foundever, we tailor the design of the employee experience day-to-day by giving each area of our hubs a specific purpose. For example, our new hub in Cape Town, South Africa, exemplifies this with a modern design concept — fresh colors and lots of light in social areas, with local vivid artwork wrapping around the main atrium to promote expression. In areas of the space meant for working, artwork promotes more motivational quotes and the physical workspaces are designed for productivity and concentration.

Artwork at work: What’s the impact?

Studies have proven the creative and collaborative value art brings to a work environment, along with the following benefits:

  • Increases workplace value: Art is a tangible way of presenting and understanding the world in which we live and work. Easily accessible, it can reflect society at large or a community in particular.
  • Creates connection: Because art is so immediate and potent, it is the only truly universal medium that cuts through any linguistic or cultural barriers to create connections and encourage conversation.
  • Reduces stress: As well as its power to connect and facilitate interaction, art is also proven to boost wellbeing, relieve stress and encourage critical and creative thinking — a critical thing to address, since nearly half of Gen Zs (46%) and four in 10 millennials (39%) say they feel stressed or anxious at work all or most of the time.
  • Supports brain health and wellness: Research has proven that people involved in creating visual art have a greater sense of wellbeing and the complexity of the activity stimulates new connections between brain cells and between the two hemispheres of the brain.
  • Promotes a productive work environment: When all of these ideas are transposed to the working environment, there is a measurable positive impact on productivity and wellbeing.

At Foundever, Conversation at HeART is our way of providing our employees with a blank canvas where they can illustrate and express their culture and diversity. It also allows them to initiate discussion around causes or values and to forge new connections with the wider community by working alongside local artists who bring their ideas to life.

Here is a completed artwork from our Conversation at HeART initiative in Athens, Greece.

Workplace environment is one piece of the wellness puzzle

A healthy workplace environment goes beyond physical aspects. Organizational leaders should prioritize their employees in mental health support, providing resources and initiatives to address stress, burnout and other mental health concerns. Building a diverse and inclusive workplace also cultivates a sense of belonging and encourages different perspectives, leading to innovation and creativity.

This is why we encourage providing open environments for socializing, while also including break areas for mental health support in our workplaces. Additionally, we encourage our associates to participate in our EverBetter program, which promotes the health, wellbeing and strong team culture through missions, movement and nutrition.

The employee experience is the customer experience

At Foundever, we have studied the impact of people sentiment for years and have concluded one concrete truth that we’ve molded our organization around, which has, in return, resulted in a massive increase in engagement and employee satisfaction — the employee experience is the customer experience. Put simply, the more engaged and satisfied our employees are, the happier our customers are, and the better our business outcomes. Having a people-first mentality has fortified almost every aspect of our organizational goals. Learn more about how we inspire creativity, commitment and connection at Foundever in our whitepaper “Our people are our superpower.”