How Hospital Architecture Affects Productivity

When thinking about ways to improve productivity in a hospital, your mind probably goes straight to reading more books, creating some new habits, or possibly even meditating. These are all undeniable contributors to productivity, but could there be another layer hindering healthcare productivity that isn’t as apparent?

As research into human productivity continues to progress, it’s becoming widely accepted that it isn’t simply the things we do that impact how productive we are. It’s where we do them.

The design and architecture of a hospital or healthcare space is a large contributor to the overall productivity and wellness of the people who work there. But that’s not all…

The Link Between Architecture and Productivity.

The interior and exterior aesthetics are fundamental aspects of the architectural process. But it’s becoming increasingly apparent that they also have a powerful effect on our cognitive and physical functionality.

In other words, if you work in a bland, uninspiring environment with second-rate views and a cold visual feel (like many hospitals), you won’t be nearly as productive as you could be. And you probably won’t be very happy either.

This Isn’t Pseudoscience.

There’s actually a solid amount of evidence to back up these claims. For example, a report from the World Green Building Council noted that “Longer distance views, away from computer screens or written documents […] reduce(s) fatigue, headaches and the effects of eye strain in the long term. Views also have a positive impact on wellbeing, in part by providing a psychological connection with other groups of people while in a safe space”

The same report also acknowledged that healthy environments have colors, textures, and materials that are welcoming, calming and evoke nature. That’s because “Visual appeal is a major factor in workplace satisfaction.”

What Does a More Productive Hospital Look Like?

The primary workspace for healthcare employees shouldn’t be an afterthought. Giving them the room they need to work individually, along with the ability to easily communicate and collaborate with others on their team is very important. Working at a hospital can be a stressful job, so it’s important for them to have their own space to decompress in a relaxing environment when needed.

More Inspiring Spaces
It may also be worth your time to consider how the interiors of your spaces are designed. Are they dull? What feelings do the wall colors evoke? Are you using plants to bring a sense of the outside, inside? It’s good for productivity to go beyond the basics of what people need, and start thinking about what makes them feel more inspired and engaged at work. Whether that’s a splash of color or simply more comfortable seating options.

Encouraging Health and Fitness with Design
Hospitals can lend themselves naturally to more sedentary behavior. Equipping yours with amenities such as bicycle parking and showers will encourage employees to walk, run and cycle more. You’ll be surprised how much productivity and morale increases after making improvements such as these.

Are you Ready?

The productivity implications of design decisions are something that must be considered when designing a hospital. If you’re ready to start implementing some of these elements into your healthcare facility, it may be time to bring in an architect. It never hurts to at least talk with an architect or professional who understands how the design of a space impacts people’s wellbeing.