Did you know that American furniture company Herman Miller — of Aeron Chair fame — can be credited (or blamed, depending on your point of view) with inventing the cubicle? Debuted in 1964, the “Action Office System” would develop into the much-maligned workspace staple of the 1980s and 1990s, before open-plan office layouts took their turn in the spotlight.
Whether you enjoy the illusion of privacy that a cubicle provides, or rail against the conformity it creates, there’s no denying the fact that office design, furniture and features have an incredible psychological effect on employees. Join us as we explore how to create a healthy work environment that fosters collaboration, productivity, and satisfaction.
Office Plan and Workspace Configuration
No company can provide every employee with a corner office that boasts stunning views. However, neither does your space have to look like a Dickensian workhouse with people crammed in every which way they’ll fit.
The most productive environment is one in which employees can choose where they work — either day-to-day or even hour-by-hour if they like, or on a more permanent basis. If you can swing it, space-wise, offer a variety of workspaces, including:
- Cubicles or semi-private areas
- Workspaces designated as quiet zones
- Large conference-style tables for collaboration or meetings
- Configurations of several chairs to facilitate informal group work
- Standing or treadmill desks
Even if you can’t equip your office with a plethora of different workspaces, aim to at least give your crew the freedom to work as they please, whether that’s in isolation or collaboration, in a quiet corner or a bustling hive of activity.
Let Some Sun Shine In
Again, it’s not always possible to offer loads of natural light. But it’s worth striving for. If you’re shopping for a space for your business, do your level best to choose one with large windows, plenty of smaller windows, or skylights. You’ll reap the rewards in productivity and employee satisfaction.
Can’t control that aspect? You can always influence how the environment is lit. Rather than rows upon rows of harsh ceiling lights, choose:
- Indirect lighting
- More task lighting than overhead lights
- Neutral, not extreme, lighting colors
- Fixtures that complement the overall interior design and the business’s brand
Don’t forget the psychological boost that plants bring to an office, either. This is an affordable and extremely effective way to soften a cold or impersonal environment, make a cozy one brighter and lighter, and even improve the air quality!
Don’t Be Afraid to Venture Offsite
Too many business owners or managers operate from a make-do mindset. The building has a dedicated conference room, so why not use it as much as possible? Who cares if it’s beige and boring, if its tech amenities are outdated (or nonexistent), or if there’s no good way to offer refreshments beyond bringing in some takeout pizzas and a couple of two-liter bottles of soda?
There are times when it makes sense to get a change of scenery. Maybe you need to impress visitors from corporate, entertain potential clients in style, or celebrate a big sales victory with the team.
“Offsite meeting and event spaces can be just the ticket to winning a contract or wowing guests,” explain the experts at Meetinkz, which specializes in connecting companies with a wide range of spaces for any occasion. Check them out at https://meetinkz.com/.
Color Your Space for Success
Time was, pretty much every office’s color scheme was beige, gray, or a combination of both. Neutrals, in other words. It was during the dot-com boom that bright, colorful, playful office design came into vogue.
Nowadays, the most successful companies have found a way to integrate the best of both worlds: enough neutral and soothing color that the eye (and brain) aren’t bombarded with sensory input, but also the strategic use of more vivid hues.
Color psychology isn’t new, and you’re probably already aware that blue shades are generally soothing, while red can be energizing — or aggravating. But don’t rely on guesswork when choosing upholstery or paint for your office. Take the time to do a little research for results that are beautiful and beneficial.
What is the best — or worst — office environment you’ve ever worked in? Do you prefer a cubicle, an open-office plan, or a flexible mix of workspaces? Any tips or tricks to share with fellow business owners for creating a comfortable, but also inspiring, atmosphere? Share your thoughts below!