In today’s day in age, your office environment is literally a home away from home. I think it’s safe to say that today’s modern-day professional spends more of their time in their workspace than in their home. Especially considering a third of your day is spent sleeping! Considering our culture, the design of a workspace has the ability to truly affect the lives of those who work within it.
“NO ONE CARES HOW MUCH YOU KNOW UNTIL THEY KNOW HOW MUCH YOU CARE.”
– THEODORE ROOSEVELT
According to Craig Huston of Huston Consulting Group, CARE is one of the nine critical attributes that every effective leader must possess. It is my philosophy that every team member has value to add to a company, in both their ideas and in affecting the company’s bottom line. If you believe yourself to be a caring leader, wouldn’t it make sense to consider the space where your employees work of utmost importance? So, what are the critical items, you might ask? While there is an expansive list of elements that can affect a space, there are four key elements to consider when designing your
workspace: messaging, space planning, lighting, and ergonomic furniture.
Whether you want to admit or not, you are saying something to people who enter your workspace. When we designed our office space we knew we wanted a light, bright, and welcoming atmosphere. A space can reinforce that you know what you are doing by the experience of those who encounter it. To get even more literal, you can message your core values or any pillars of your brand right out in the open. Why not announce brand messages on the wall?!
Creating a space that is conducive to the desires of a multi-generational workforce is easier than you might think. If specific consideration is not going to be given to each individual than its important to provide multiple options for the space in which to actually work. The best way to start a project is with a program. A program lists the hierarchy of needs and outlines the individual characteristics necessary for each room and sometimes even for each employee! We always ask our clients, “What’s working and what’s not working in your current space?” There’s gold in this feedback!
Providing a variety of light levels within a workspace offers people an enjoyable setting to work within. General lighting provides illumination for circulating through the office and direct lighting provides
employees with the ability for focused attention on a subject. The ability to dim lighting allows valuable light to filter a space when appropriate add lights to be kicked on when it’s overcast outside.
The ability to view the outdoors paired with the natural light that filters through windows, adds quality to a workspace for employees.
Ergonomics is the study of how furniture and the built environment affect the human body. A licensed interior designer understands the necessity of ergonomics from both a comfort and an R.O.I. perspective. For instance, a casual food restaurant may want dining chairs that provide comfort for less than three hours while often task chairs within a corporate interior must provide comfort for a minimum of eight hours. Sit/stand desks offer the ability to reduce the strain on your spinal cord that happens when you sit for long periods of time. They allow you to stand and work after lunch which eases digestion. We have also found these desks to be more conducive to collaboration because you can meet and discuss projects shoulder to shoulder instead of looking down on a person’s desk or screen.