Interior design is all about creating beautiful, inspiring and functional spaces for us to work, live and play. Professional interior designers use a multitude of tools at their disposal to tug at the heart stings of space occupants and evoke particular emotions.
Interior design possesses the power to boost energy, mood, wellbeing and promote productivity. The use of colour, texture, lighting, sound and furniture placement all play a significant role in the way people navigate a room and operate within it.
From residential design to work-space offices, each room has a particular function to fulfil and designers can effectively make the most out of the space to make it perform at its best ability. For example, guest bedrooms should be warm, inviting and homely to make guests feel comfortable and relaxed. In turn, offices should motivate employees to work at maximum efficiency whilst keeping their physical and mental wellbeing at the forefront of the design process.
Impact of the office environment on productivity
High levels of productivity are often associated with satisfied and comfortable employees that can operate freely in the office to carry out their jobs. But what makes employees dissatisfied? Well, apart from the general business elements such as poor management, lack of personal development and an unequal work-life balance, the office itself plays a major role in crippling the moral of the workforce.
Upon arriving at the office on a Monday morning, there are a few elements within the office that can help shake those longing-for-the-weekend blues. From bright open spaces to strategic colour choices and areas for physical exercise; reach higher levels of productivity with office-appropriate interior design.
Lighting is perhaps at the cornerstone of interior design practice across the industry. Its importance goes far beyond the office and should not be underestimated. In fact, a lack of natural light throughout the day has a direct link with symptoms of depression and anxiety. By way of alleviating these symptoms and contributing to healthier mental wellbeing, natural sunlight should be utilised as much as possible, and interior designers know just how to do it.
The psychology of colour is something that affects us all, even when we do not recognise it. There are research-backed reasons as to why you can expect to see certain colours being used in certain situations and places. For example, bright, vivid primary colours like red, yellow and blue have been found to ignite imagination, creativity and are effective tools for learning. Hence why schools, nurseries and children’s areas are often adorned in these colours.
The same colours, when used strategically can be just as helpful in adult environments like higher education institutions and the workplace. Red, is a stimulating colour that gets pulses going and blood flowing. Within an office, in particular, this can be critical to maintaining energy and focus. Likewise, tones of yellow can be incredibly energising and radiate mass positivity. The combination of red and yellow may not sound like the key to eloquent and sophisticated interior design, but when it comes to designing the office, a professional interior designer will know how to utilise each colour to have the greatest impact.
Across the spectrum, tones of blue are known to be intellectually stimulating and aid concentration. For focus-driven offices, blues combined with greens, to create balance, will have the greatest effect on employees.
As humans, our moods are naturally lifted when we spend time outdoors. Nature has a special way of welcoming sentiments of calm, serenity and adventure. Since on average, we spend between 80% - 90% of our time indoors (GreenBuilding), there is a great need to incorporate natural elements from the outdoors into the office space. Unsurprisingly, being cooped up indoors from 9 - 5 does little by way of boosting productivity.
Designing the office tips
The success of a business depends heavily on the productivity of its employees. Ultimately, productivity drives growth and helps to keep costs down. As such, it’s of central importance to any business and should, therefore, be taken into account when designing the office.
Natural lighting possesses the power to control our mood, functionality and health. Whilst interior designers cannot necessarily control and manipulate the sun, their role is to make the most out of what the dun can offer.
Window placement and skylights may not at the moment, be at the discretion of the interior designer since the structure of the building probably already stands. However, the appropriate choices of blinds and shades can help to determine precisely how much natural light is let in. Further, the strategic placements of reflective surfaces and mirrors can help maximise the amount of light that bounces around a room.
Lighting can and should be used to complement other design elements, but should also be used to serve the purpose of the people within a room. The level of comfort at which a person operates should be enhanced by the ease of vision, clarity and lack of glare. This is imperative in working environments.
The psychology of colours comes into play here and interior designers are all too familiar with the implications of colour on productivity. As noted, colours can evoke different emotional responses depending on the nature and function of a room.
Within an office environment, an interior designer will put the power of colour to good use by stimulating energy and productivity. As the lines between corporate meetings, private work sessions and coffee dates with clients become increasingly blurred; offices are being designed with collaboration in mind.
As such, appropriate colour schemes work towards fostering the combination of a sense of calm, creativity and positive energy. To do so, there has been a growing trend towards pallets of blues, greens and yellows within working environments. These have been found to help people both relax and stay alert- the ultimate combination of a successful employee.
Functionality and movability
Needless to say, little good comes out of sitting at a desk for hours at a time with no incentive to move around. The state of physical wellbeing is not merely the absence of disease but rather it’s the collective notion of lifestyle behavioural choices.
These choices are made easier when the space in which we exist provides access to food, visual stimulants and movement. We as humans can be subconsciously persuaded to make certain decisions by our environment.
As physical wellbeing is undeniably linked to high productivity, interior design has the capacity to promote physical wellness. A poor physical state has been shown to be associated with overcrowded rooms and with this in mind, design strategies should consider the ability of employees to allow for appropriate indoor physical movement.
Such strategies may include the introduction of shared communal spaces for movement and interaction, or separate keyspaces with stairs only access to encourage movement and exercise in the office.
It can be said that through the core elements of lighting, colour and space; interior design plays a central role in the enhancement of productivity in the workspace. A happier, healthier workforce equates to a happier healthier business in terms of productivity.