Guest Blog – Workplace Design: How it can have wide-ranging benefits to businesses

29 March 2019

In the first of a series of Guest Blogs, Michelle Harris from Run Wild Interiors explores the impact that good interior design can have in the workplace. Many of the workspace providers we are working with are incorporating innovative interior design ideas into their fit out in order to create vibrant, inspiring, and desirable spaces in which to work. Visit Michelle’s website www.runwildinteriors.com for further inspiration.

We decorate our homes to suit who we are as individuals: Designs that support our needs and lifestyles; colours and finishes that make us feel happy, relaxed, invigorated.

With a fairly substantial proportion of our lives spent working, surely it makes sense to address such intrinsic needs when designing the working environment too? Thankfully, workplace design is fast becoming a requisite for business development – and with good reason.

Having a beautifully designed space in which to work can, quite simply, be pleasant… and inspiring. However, on a higher level, good work-place design, can in fact transform how a person works; how they feel; and ultimately, their overall wellbeing. This is not only immensely important to each and every individual, but will have a huge impact on the team as a whole. Not only will people feel happier at work, but research has shown that good workplace design can also increase productivity and performance. Furthermore, with top talent being in shortage in some areas of business, having a vibrant workplace can help attract and retain valuable talent. Surely this is a clear ‘win’ on many levels?!

So, how is this achieved?

The answer is rather simple, yet the process and logistics are perhaps more complex: Create a design to suit everyone! Cater for everyone’s personalities and working styles; address everyone’s needs and preferences; in addition, ensure to allow for the constantly evolving nature of today’s work. Simple!

Essentially, I’ve found there’s a few key points to look at when re-designing a work-place:

Firstly, let’s look at space planning: Creating areas to allow for multiple and flexible working options ensures that people can work where, when and how best suits them, at any given time, for any specific task; be it in an impromptu and/or formal meeting area; quiet zone, or break-out space; an area for effective collaborations; or just a space to simply ‘touch down’.

Identifying brand identity and implementing it into the design can tell a passer-by in an instant if the business is corporate and fast-paced, or a creative hive.

Colour, and the psychology behind it, is also crucial. Did you know fast-food establishments often have red in their design as it’s a colour that makes us feel uncomfortable after a while, and encourages the customer to eat and exit more quickly!

As a nation, we are embracing biophilic design, and studies have shown that both active and passive contact with nature can have a positive impact. There are a great variety of ways to introduce nature into the work-place, and it can begin with something as simple as a pot-plant, and evolve to a whole building created from natural materials, containing forms and patterns form the nature intertwined within its design.

Likewise, factors such as light, sound and ergonomically designed furniture and equipment also play a huge part in how we feel and react within a space. Introducing the right quantity of natural light – with suitable filtration, if needed; by moving away from standard ‘office’ lighting; by creating a softness of sounds, make the difference between being bathed in beautiful sunlight, and unable to read a monitor; energetic collaborations, and having to shout to be heard.

Workplaces are exciting spaces to design; they have such a huge impact on the daily lives of so many people. There are so many little subtleties that, with clever design, can amount to incredible changes for the better, from a person’s wellbeing, to an increase in profitability for the business.