The New Office Experience (Part Two)

In the first part of this blog we looked at the challenges building managers and designers face when creating a modern office. In this post, we will look at how addressing these challenges can help improve wellbeing in the workspace.

Increasingly, employees are seeking more flexibility and comfort in their workplace, meaning organisations need to be more responsive and adaptable to the wants and needs of their workers. Designing a workspace without observing how office workers use their space is futile.

An adaptable workspace not only encourages a free and creative way of thinking, but also helps improve productivity and collaboration between employees. It can even help to improve levels of engagement and foster a culture of innovation within your organisation.

Domestication of the workplace

A phrase one might hear in the context of office design nowadays is “domestication of the workspace”. Office environments have changed dramatically over the last few decades, with beige or monotone offices – devoid of personality – becoming a thing of the past. Little changes can make a big difference, and introducing ‘homely’ touches to the office can help to improve employees’ productivity and comfort.

The subtle combination of plants, art, scent, and lighting can generate significant improvements in employee engagement for a relatively low outlay. Keeping designs minimalist and dynamic, while introducing furniture that can be personalised, is a good place to start when domesticating your workspace.

Modular desks continue to gain popularity as they can be reconfigured depending on the space available and the number of people you have working for you. What’s more, they’re very easy to move around. Even sleep pods are finding their way into modern office design, allowing people to take a nap whilst at work.

Wellbeing and biophilic design

Biophilic design relates to designing spaces that enable people to reconnect with nature. The layout of an office can help employees experience the benefits of plants or provide a sense of being closer to nature, even if they aren’t physically outside. For example, clever interior landscaping can give workers access to an indoor garden or views of vegetation. Using glass not only helps to facilitate eye-catching architecture; it also lets in plenty of natural light and provides views outside the building. Utilising light effectively can improve the aesthetics of an office as well as have a profound impact on workers’ productivity. Finally, incorporating the colour green – a symbol of abundance, refreshment and harmony – in office design can also produce positive results.

Many of us can appreciate the health benefits of being outdoors and this can be easily replicated in the office environment. Improved air quality is frequently reported in places where plants are used – with the air being described as feeling fresher and cleaner. In fact, interior plants really can remove some pollutants and humidify the air, especially when used in green walls where the large volume of foliage and benign growing conditions allow them to make a significant improvement to indoor air quality.

 

An adaptable approach

Ongoing observation is needed to ensure that workspaces continue to be effective for the people using it. As people change, so must office buildings (and their designers!).

If you’re unsure of how to improve engagement and productivity levels within your work environment, then why not consult one of our experts and see how you could transform your office space with employee wellbeing front of mind.

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