If you’re working for an established company or corporation, it’s very likely that you spend the majority of the week at an office. In the process of sending emails, attending weekly meetings, and racing to meet deadlines- have you ever stopped to think about how your environment is influencing your work and productivity?
In a well designed space, we don’t really notice the subtle details that make us feel good. We just know that the environment makes us feel happy, and that we are motivated to do our work. A workplace that is not well designed, might elicit the opposite feeling. At KLEIN, we have learned to pay extra attention to how our products influence and function in the workplace, because we know how interior design affects our workplace interactions. This encompasses everything from our desks and workstations, to layout and circulation, as well as amenities and spaces to gather.
To create better, more comfortable, and more productive workplaces, business owners, architects, designers, and contractors need to acknowledge their role as key decision makers.
With great power comes great responsibility- and to make the most of it, we want to talk about 8 design choices you can make to influence workplace interactions in a more positive direction.
With more companies adapting fluid work from home policies, we see an inevitable change in the way we interact with and utilize our workspaces. With not all workers being in the office all the time, shared workspaces and hotdesking models are changing the definition of “ownership” of a work area in a bid to increase utility. This change has also led to an increasing need of hybrid telecommuting meeting spaces- essentially, spaces that allow for a gathering of physically present employees along with screens for remote employees to call in. Prior to the pandemic, most companies already had a dedicated conference room- but it was typically reserved for important meetings, and not the workplace norm. Now- rather than a single, centralized conference room, we are seeing a need for more micro-conference rooms that can accommodate ongoing work collaborations throughout the workday.
LET THERE BE LIGHT
There are many reasons the consideration of light in workplace design has become more and more important. For one, workplace designs that incorporate bright natural light reduce the need for artificial light, which is an important aspect of sustainable design. Secondly, natural light and small slivers of sunlight promote a feeling of well being- by providing us with Vitamin D and helping us regulate our circadian rhythms.
The effects of the benefits of lighting on our mental and physical well being have been well studied. For countries in northern hemispheres that don’t receive a lot of sunlight, red lights can be found everywhere in spas, gyms, and centers of well being, to help simulate the feeling of sunshine. Another study shows that replacing standard fluorescent lamps with Full spectrum Fluorescent lighting can help combat seasonal affective disorder. So if you want to improve the wellbeing of your employees in your workplace, lighting should be one of the first areas you look to make changes in.
Although many people love working from home, after almost 2 years of on and off lockdowns and thousands of zoom calls, many workers find some relief in the prospect of getting to work again with their coworkers, in person. This has really led to increasing value being placed on the need for gathering areas in the office. These are not just areas for people to work, but also people to socialize together. Designing areas that allow people to come together for work and social activities helps teams bond and feel more unified.
Companies that are wondering how they can draw workers back into the office need to consider designing more comfortable areas for employees to work, eat, and take breaks. If the alternative to the office is your comfortable couch at home, why would you go in, unless you’re forced? By acknowledging that work isn’t only about work, but about our interactions and collaborations with people, we can create better incentives for people to want to come in, by designing comfortable and ample gathering spaces.