Interior design matters in the workplace: here’s why
[updated November 13th, 2020, to reflect the dramatic changes this year has seen]
Productivity in design: workplace interiors for clever companies
- Does interior design have a place in work?
- Can interior design even affect our work?
While everybody reacts differently to design, one fact about work never changes: employers want their staff to be as productive as possible.
In this post, we explore the ever-shifting definition of the workplace, and what that means when it comes to interior design and office architecture.
The very definition of 'workplace' was changing way before the Coronavirus pandemic
And the meaning of ‘workspace’ was changing with it, according to the founders of Barber and Osgerby, a design studio, in dezeen -
"Formal work rules are dissolving, regardless of where and how we work – now frequently in hotel lobbies or cafes. As a result, the desk is no longer at the centre of our work life. It is disappearing as an archetype.”
Now, in the middle of a global pandemic, the workplace is transforming in ways nobody could have predicted. This all means that the prevailing ideas around desirable office spaces have been turned on their head.
To anticipate this impact on workplace design, architecture firm Woods Bagot has reimagined workplace layouts, and argue that these new models of workspace layout will be adapted in one form or another by offices throughout the world.
Case study: FibreGuard fabrics at Future Space offices
Are open-plan offices still the best idea?
There’s less face to face communication in open-plan offices, according to a Harvard study entitled The impact of the ‘open’ workspace on human collaboration. Yes, that’s right, apparently, open-plan offices do the exact opposite of what they were intended to do: they shut down communication.
In recent years, this has contributed to the rise of text-based communication on platforms like Slack or Facebook’s Workplace. Our love of text-based communication was in turn contributing to interior layout designs focused solely on re-imagining and re-configuring the workplace.
The wellbeing of office staff hinges on office interiors
In 2019 we were wondering if re-configuring the workplace was necessary. Surely if the workplace has functioned for this long in the same format, it could continue to work?
2020 has given us the answer to that question: no, workplaces can't function in their current form, not at least for the foreseeable future. One thing that hasn't changed is the fact the fundamental well-being of office staff still affects their creativity, thinking skills and overall productivity.
Yes, wellbeing needs have shifted. The perks and benefits of offices like Google, with their swimming pools and free food are irrelevant in this world in flux, with many office workers now working remotely.
The question is though, what happens when these remote workers return to the office buildings?
The design world has seen an explosion of new ideas and concepts when it comes to the workspace, and that is not a bad thing!
Making office space work for its inhabitants
While prospective employees still seek out dynamic, innovative workplaces, their needs within a traditional office environment have changed.
It’s common sense then to look at the way individuals work: what makes them the most productive?
Catering to this ensures that you’re already going the extra mile towards helping your staff grow on personal and professional levels: and growth is great for your company and your bottom line.
Our durable, stain-resistant contract fabrics were designed with your office spaces in mind, no matter where they are or what form they take.
'Successful' office spaces will be those that adapt the fastest to new social distancing regulations
What we need now in interior design and architecture is agility. Remember: you define success. What is 'winning' for you might not be the same for another company, and our suggestion is to hold your definition in mind when it comes to designing or refurbishing office space interiors.
To us, office interiors are a success when they are 'healthy' and acoustically controlled. Sound absorption techniques and innovative airflow improvements ensure both.
Read more about 'healthy' interiors and our specially engineered antimicrobial fabrics. This soft-to-the-touch range has a uniquely breathable and flexible moisture barrier, making it ideal for very demanding environments.
Good office acoustics
While people respond to design in different ways, acoustics continue to affect a huge segment of office workers.
A whopping 70% of office workers, in fact, are not happy with the sound levels in their workplace, according to a finding by Leesman. Of all the aspects of an irritating workplace, bad acoustics is a heavy hitter. How can you ensure that your office interiors are acoustically welcoming?
- Use a variety of materials in office space interiors. They'll help regulate the sound level and create visually stimulating interior environments too!
- Hard flooring and empty walls affect the acoustics of interior spaces intensely, so maybe it’s time to let go of the harshness of minimalist office design and let a little softness in. This can mean anything from upholstered wall panels to acoustic ceiling panels, and anything in-between. Look at the space you have and use it to your advantage.
Smart office ventilation
The World Health Organisation has stated that fresh, clean air needs to available in all workplaces. Read more about these new developments: How office architecture is adapting for a post-COVID world.
Workplace interior design trends
It's been an interesting few years for trends in office and workspace design, and this year is no different. We've seen meeting rooms overhauled, casual spaces promoted and mass migration to remote work. We probably don't need to tell you that you don’t have to jump on every single bandwagon that rolls into town.
This is even more important when it comes to the survival of traditional office spaces in a post-COVID world. Interior design can be your secret workspace weapon to get where you’re going (with an overhaul of your ventilation system too!), so stick to your aims and ignore any fads that don't quite reach your standards.
Office interior design (still) boosts productivity
No matter where the workplace is, our environment will always impact our productivity. This affects workers across the board, from remote workers in cafes to 9-5ers in the HQ.
Whether you're designing the office layouts for a staff of 200 or carving out a remote workspace for yourself, keep productivity and wellbeing front and centre in your mind.
Contact us for reseller details or to specify our stain-resistant contract fabrics.