This article is part of our “workspace design” series.
1. When designing shared workspace environments, what are some rules of thumb to follow?
When designing shared workspace environments, one rule of thumb is to always make sure that the design is intelligent and is full of bespoke, thoughtful solutions that meet your teams’ dynamics and requirements.
While some teams may thrive in a more collaborative setting, others could find this less productive and may prefer breakout rooms or quiet spaces. Workspace providers must understand that their members all have different personalities with varying work habits, so when it comes to designing an office space, a one size fits all solution will not work.
2. What are some often overlooked aspects of workplace design that can make a big difference?
One of the aspects of workplace design that is often overlooked but can make a big difference is workplace acoustics. People often forget to think about how sound will travel in their office until it’s too late and becomes difficult to change, so sound should be factored in from the outset.
The ideal scenario is usually an office that has both quiet spaces as well as fun, collaborative areas as this provides a balance for workers to get the quiet time they need but allows them to socialise and bond with other workspace members.
Another important feature that is overlooked is bringing in accents of the outdoors through lighting and window features. In fact, Peldon Rose recently commissioned a survey that revealed that nine in ten (90%) of those surveyed consider exposure to natural light as important in supporting their mental health and wellbeing at work, but only 63% currently have it in their workplace.
3. Which design elements should all workplaces be equipped with?
There are certain design features that should be available at all individual working spaces and in the wider office environment.
At their working space, height adjustable desks and user controlled lighting allows members to work comfortably. Not only is it harmful for people to be leaning over their desk all day, but being exposed to stark lighting can also have negative effects on an individual’s mood. Adjusting desk height can help boost creativity while softer lighting may help to elevate the mood of office workers.
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For the wider workplace environment, social and communal areas are vital. Our recent survey found that 77% of respondents value social and communal areas and 75% think they’re important to support mental health, but only 51% have them.
Including areas that create dialogue, like a really good coffee machine, will work to pull people together and even cause accidental meetings or brainstorms on the way to somewhere else.
4. What is your opinion of multi-sensory design? What can workspace providers do to offer a full-experience workplace design?
I believe that all senses should be engaged when designing a new workspace. It’s as much about an atmosphere and making people feel comfortable as it is about being tactical in your layout.
One way workspace providers can offer a “full-experience workplace” is to add more greenery to counterbalance all the technology we see in our offices nowadays.
Plants create a more comfortable and relaxed atmosphere for employees and are also seen as more inviting for clients coming into the office. Another way is well considered acoustics in the office so sound doesn’t travel and people can find quiet areas to work.
A mix of textures and colours can work to dictate the workspace’s tone and mood. For example, blue can be more calming whereas orange is a bit more upbeat and provides energy.
Finally, having different rooms and breakout areas for employees provides them with choice in their workspace. Some days they may need to sit with their head down to get work done, whereas other times sitting at a round table with their team may be what they need to be most productive.