By Veronica Moine
Design is an integral part of everyday life: It’s the background of all social interactions, especially at work. I was recently tasked to recommend some improvements to the Dimoso office, and it got me thinking about how design can influence morale, relationships amongst colleagues and the overall perception of the workplace.
In the 50s Psychogeography became a well established discipline and was used to study the effects of the geographical environment on emotions and behaviour. Nowadays architects and designers still rely on it to understand how people interact with and within the urban space.
In recent times, research has broadened to include the relationships between the design of the workplace and the business performance; showing the enormous impact that elements like space, light, furniture and colour have on how we work, on our ability to focus and be productive.
The latest office trend has been to have an open-space environment instead of cellular office. Encouraging colleagues to work as a team and share ideas in real time are some of the most evident benefits of an open plan space. A further element is the ease of maintenance particularly in terms of temperature control. Another advantage of this spatial structure is the ability to have flexible seating arrangements enabling workers to find the best place to work and get inspiration.
Light is a key component of our vision of the world. Inadequate lighting can cause eye strain, headache and indirectly affects your mood, energy and behaviour. A good office design should take advantage of natural light or use an indirect lighting source in combination with a small direct one.
Furniture plays an important role in increased productivity. Functional, visually appealing and moveable furniture makes the working space enjoyable and recognisable, allowing employees to reconfigure the work space according to their work style.
Ergonomic chairs are designed to help achieve good posture while working, preventing long-term problems such as back pain. Yet if you like to combine efficiency with physical exercise you can opt for a standing desk. This will help to achieve your daily activity goals quicker, as well as a counter to heart disease and obesity.
Also colours have psychological effects on business performance.
What I have found is, it doesn’t matter if you can’t afford a full office refurbishment, a small budget can improve your workplace dramatically simply by paying attention to small details. And the benefits can be seen and felt straight away. A cosy and liveable office will increase employees satisfaction and the sense of belonging to the company. Working in a place that reflects your needs is the first step for facing business challenges and building constructive relationships with colleagues and clients.