We’ve all worked in one of ‘those’ places. The offices with standard gun-metal grey partitions, un-inspired generic desks that only provide 85% of the workspace needed, and that distinct feeling of separation from the rest of the team. Any manager worth their salt is aware that an employee’s wellbeing and state of mind can heavily influence the quality of work they produce, and in too many offices around the country, great office layout ideas are often overlooked in favour of quick and easy approaches.
Companies and employers who take office design into account when setting up shop often benefit from increased employee motivation, a higher level of job satisfaction and more importantly a more productive workforce. So what are the key features that help an office reach its full potential?
Open plan vs. partitions – Both office layouts have their advantages and disadvantages. Open plan environments offer a more engaging atmosphere, as well as encouraging team-building mentalities important for many lines of work. Conversely, partitions are effective for those whose work involves distraction free periods where they can focus on individual projects. While in larger offices, it is easy for companies to employ the use of both, the designers of smaller offices need to make a judgement call on what will work best given the employer’s industry of choice.
Colour – Certain colours help workers to relax, others encourage creativity, while others help employees to retain information during periods of study. When looking for office layout ideas, colour can be more important than you realise. For example, have you ever owned an antique desk lamp? They’re traditionally pictured on beautiful mahogany desks in the offices of academia, built from a brass body with a green glass stained shade designed to illuminate without distraction. Their popularity is due in part to the effect of the colour during study.
Temperature and air control – Studies carried out over the last half century have consistently proven one necessary aspect of office design to be indispensable – comfort – and the greatest contributor towards comfort in an office environment is the control of both temperature and air. Lower temperatures can cause workers to lose focus, while high temperatures lead to flared tempers. With ventilation, stuffy stale air has been linked with migraines and fatigue, whereas fresh circulated air helps employees be more attentive and motivated.
Daylight – There’s a reason why doctors advise people to avoid night-shifts. The melatonin in the skin is highly sensitive to exposure to infra-red light from the sun, and a lack of exposure can cause substandard sleeping habits, high levels of lethargy and a reduced quality of work. When looking for office layout ideas, it is important to ensure that workers are engaged and in a healthy mental state – a lack of daylight can hamper this.
Downtime – During the workday, everyone needs some time away from their desk here and there. A few minutes away can often help a worker maintain concentration, or offer a different perspective to a problem they cannot solve. To ensure employees can enjoy the available ‘downtime’, offices layouts that account for break areas with amenities and décor unavailable in their workplace help them to unwind and regain composure in ways that unimaginative office designs do not.
While this is simply a brief look at how planners incorporate great office layout ideas into their projects, these factors merely scratch the surface of the inner-complexities of the office design world, and hopefully allow interested parties to understand the importance of professional designers and builders in creating and maintaining a healthy, productive workplace.
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