Looking around the typical office, what are you likely to see? White walls, tinted windows, nondescript furniture and a slew of laptops, keyboards and monitors are usually the norm. Normally, this is the sort of thing which might not interest people while they’re working, but drab surroundings could help to alter moods, thereby harming productivity, among other things.
Every aspect of office design, from the colour scheme used to the way in which desks and other pieces of furniture are laid out, could have a bigger impact than first realised. Any business with even minor concerns about productivity might begin to wonder if it’s worth giving their offices a makeover to make them a little easier on the eye.
A lick of paint?
If office managers up and down the country begin to realise that, in order to pep up their colleagues, their office is in need of complete renovation, what can they do? Is a lick of paint sufficient? There are several ways in which any office space can be improved, but some seem to be preferable to others, especially by employees who feel that their workspace offers little by way of inspiration.
We at Podspace recently surveyed 1,000 workers throughout the UK. The statistics revealed that the view was all-important in helping to make a workspace more inspirational. 37.6% said that they felt a beach or sea view from their window would be the best possible vista, with 34.5% saying they would like to look out onto rolling hills or countryside.
Having a view of somewhere such as a cityscape or identikit business park can be a little uninspiring and bland, whereas seeing something a little more lively and calming could help to put workers in a much better and lighter mood, making them feel more ready for the day ahead. Aside from the view, there’s much more to think about.
To try and make offices a little better, it might be worth considering adding one or two home comforts. In making them seem a little more familiar for employees, they could feel at ease and, in turn, may be compelled to work a little harder. The addition of things like beanbags or funky lighting might work, as could cushions or even communal seating areas.
Being in the office should be a pleasant sensory experience. Aside from sight, smell and sound are important. A communal music system could prove handy for sound, while gentle scents such as lemon may help to sharpen the senses of workers feeling the effects of a long day late in the afternoon.
The way in which an office is designed can have a significant impact on productivity. Thinking about what workers actually want from their office space during the design stage is imperative in order to keep them from flagging. It can also help to reflect positively on your business.
It’s all about the desks
Desk layout is a big part of office design. There seems to be a fine line between too much and too little space between tables, while the use of partitioning can dictate the level of interaction between colleagues. In the survey, four out of 10 people said that they wanted to do away with it, preferring to be able to maintain eye contact with colleagues from separate desks.
Having an open-plan office may be the best solution in order to keep everyone happy in terms of giving them enough personal space. Having sufficient room to sit down, move from desk to desk and place all our technology is imperative in helping to make an office environment work for all staff, something that can’t be achieved with a design plan that’s more rigid than open-plan.
Seat of business
As for the desks themselves, should they be complemented by plush leather chairs, funky beanbags or something in between? More than half of all people surveyed said that they would prefer either contemporary and colourful furniture or luxury and leather furniture, with the former just shading it. Anything colourful is likely to make an otherwise dreary office space look more fun, if nothing else.
To make an inspirational place to work, businesses should consider making it as spacious and open as possible. The addition of modern furniture seems to be the thing to do as well, but the view can make it or break it. Any workspace with all of that should help to make people want to do their jobs without question, shouldn’t it?
Michelle Lord is a co-founder of Pod-space.co.uk. Specialising in eco pods over the past 5 years, Pod Space has developed award winning designs and pioneered advanced construction techniques to ensure that their pods remain at the forefront of Eco building design and technology.