Interior design and overall aesthetics are essential to any office space. The general look and feel of your space can reflect your company’s personality and identity, while simultaneously dictating or influencing office culture. It can also be crucial to employee performance, as everyone knows that the surrounding environment can play a huge role in how people think and feel.
Aesthetically pleasing office interiors can help boost productivity, efficiency, and even physical and mental health—which is why designing your office requires thorough planning and careful decision making to ensure your desired results.
Your office should be an environment where your employees feel comfortable, inspired, and even motivated to go to work every day. To accomplish this, here are the key elements you need to incorporate into your interior design to make your company’s workplace more productive and visually appealing.
Key Office Design Elements
Every company has its own brand image or identity. And more often than not, this is visually mirrored in their commercial spaces. This is why you’ll see large, established companies with offices that have a more classic, minimalistic look, while startups and trendy businesses opt for an edgy industrial design or a more eclectic aesthetic that combines different interior design trends. One great example is global recycling network TerraCycle’s office, which is furnished with items made entirely out of trash.
However you choose to design your company’s space, make sure that it matches your brand and incorporates the key elements (listed below) that are essential to creating an environment that is conducive to productivity.
Artwork, posters, and pictures
Having artwork and other visual images in your office is not just for aesthetics—it also adds a personalized touch to the space. Art also has the power to evoke certain feelings or emotions (whether positive or negative) in people, which is why having them in your office can affect the overall atmosphere. In addition to influencing emotions, art can also help stimulate those creative juices. A particularly beautiful or impressive piece of art can make someone feel more inspired and motivated to innovate and create something exceptional of their own.
When choosing or purchasing art to hang up on your walls, don’t just focus on beautifying your space. Art is an important component of any well-designed space not just because it looks good, but also because it helps improve a person’s experience in that space. And since your employees are going to be sitting in your office day in and day out, you may want to choose pieces that can help shape or create a positive experience for them, in a way that improves their productivity and overall satisfaction.
Many companies are now designing offices with different types of spaces that cater to each employee or department, with each one being conducive to certain types of tasks. There are open office spaces that encourage collaboration, and then there are specific areas that are smaller and more closed off for employees who require maximum concentration with minimal outside stimulation.
A collaborative environment is typically favored in any office, but not all employees will benefit from it. Therefore, it’s essential to minimize or limit distractions and background noise by creating designated areas that are quieter—whether by building separate rooms or by breaking up your open space with cubicles or partitions.
Another option is to install sound-absorbing (yet decorative) items like area rugs to further decrease noise. But even if you have no problems with constant office chatter, decorating with carpets and rugs is still a great idea as it can help make the space look finished and pulled together.
Office lighting is also key to employee performance. Obviously, your employees won’t be able to work properly if your office has dim lighting—they may even get headaches from those ugly fluorescent lights.
Create an optimum working environment by considering the lighting in your space. Having a good combination of natural lighting (lots of windows) and soft artificial lighting (that closely mimics natural light) in your workspace can do wonders for your workers’ mood and overall health, which in turn helps make them more productive.
Aside from providing better air quality (and increasing productivity), there are a few other benefits to placing plants in your office. Here’s a look at some of them:
In 2010, Australian researchers conducted a study on the effects of having plants in the workplace. The findings showed a decrease in workers’ overall stress levels—tension and anxiety dropped by 37 percent, while instances of depression decreased by 58 percent. Meanwhile, anger and fatigue levels fell to 44 and 38 percent, respectively.
Less sicknesses and absences.
The Agricultural University of Norway conducted a similar study in the 90s, and the researchers reported that symptoms of poor health, such as fatigue, dry skin, and nose and eye irritation, dropped 25 percent after the introduction of plants in an office space. There have been many more studies in recent years that corroborate this theory, and most have revealed that plants do help reduce sick days and improve employee health by eliminating bacteria and pathogens—which typically contribute to physical illnesses—in the air.
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With that in mind, you may want to consider having some plants in your office—particularly if your workers tend to call in sick more frequently than normal.
Higher creativity levels
Aside from paintings and pictures, plants can also help boost creativity levels in the workplace. A 2015 Human Spaces report on The Global Impact of Biophilic Design in the Workplace, which surveyed 7,600 workers from 16 countries, revealed that people who work in offices that feature plants and other natural elements are 15 percent more creative (and 6 percent more productive) than their counterparts in offices without any greenery. Also, looking at plants can help you relax and concentrate on your work.
Another essential element of office design, ergonomics is the process of thoughtfully designing and arranging a space and choosing office furniture, tools, and other systems that will help make the user more comfortable and efficient. Considering the fact that your employees have to spend several hours at the office each day, making them feel physically comfortable in their workspace is one of the most essential factors to unlocking their productivity. It can also help improve their health, as sitting in a stiff, uncomfortable chair for hours on end can definitely take its toll on the body.
It’s best to consider some of these factors when you’re planning your office design:
- Laptop or computer screens should be set in the correct position for an improved sitting posture.
- Footrests and palm rests help align the feet, arms, and hands (for computer use) in their proper positions.
- Adjusting the height of both chairs and tables is a good way to decrease back pain and leg fatigue.
- Leave some space between all of the furniture so that your space doesn’t feel cramped and cluttered.
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Office aesthetics aren’t just for decorative purposes or for making a space more attractive—it is also critical in helping your employees become more efficient and productive as they carry out their daily tasks.