Companies often look for ways in which they can assist employees do their jobs better to increase productivity and therefore the bottom line. However, one area which isn’t explored enough by businesses is the space in which the work is carried out – the architecture, furniture and interior design of an office can have a profound effect on the people working within it.
One such example is the offices of Interpolis, a large insurance company, in Tilburg, Holland. By redesigning the 7000 square metre space, productivity increased by 20 per cent and sick leave was reduced from nine per cent to just two and a half.
Although the cost of employing an interior design company is not as great as many may think, it is beyond some companies’ reach, especially to completely redesign such a large space like Interpolis’ offices. Therefore, a leading European design house has here detailed two specific areas to consider when redecorating or remodelling your company’s work space.
Consider the activities that are undertaken – by primarily focusing on the jobs that the work force do you may find that it’s not necessary for an employee to sit at the same desk all day, every day. Offering an environment that is the most suitable for specific tasks helps to make the worker be more comfortable and will often enable them to do that job quicker and to a high standard. For example, sometimes colleagues work together on tasks, so is a set desk layout conducive to this type of collaborative work? Brainstorming sessions or meetings could be carried out in a space that is more relaxed, resulting in higher creativity levels, whilst for activities that require a lot of concentration could be better undertaken in an explicitly quiet zone.
Consider the psychology of colour – because colour travels in waves from the sun and the energy from light is absorbed through the eyes it stimulates certain glands, which in turn control some of the body’s systems. Therefore, the colour of an environment can affect mood and impact on the ability to undertake a task. Bright oranges, reds and pinks are stimulating colours that can increase ones heart rate so these would not be good colours to use if the task in hand requires calmness. Whilst yellow is a warm colour, it is strenuous to the eye due the light it reflects and can create frustration; it may not be the right colour for a collaborative space or one that employees would use for prolonged periods. Blue is often used in offices because it is serene and research has shown that people are more productive in rooms decorated in blue. Pink is calming for during initial exposure and greens can be stress relieving.