People crave authenticity and comfort, and increasingly, they’re expecting the workplace to match the warm vibe they experience at home. Fortunately, there are easy ways to achieve this — and more importantly, solid reasons why it matters.
The Steelcase Global Report: Engagement and the Global Workplace found the most engaged employees worldwide are also the most satisfied with their work environment. So while some view the workplace as strictly utilitarian, or worse, an afterthought, there are compelling reasons to sit up and pay attention to space. Happy, engaged workers are glad to be in the office because they like their environment.
Here’s how you can design your office for authenticity and comfort:
- Find a balance: We’re seeing the workplace trend toward residential elements in commercial settings. This looks terrific and certainly dials up the authenticity element, but don’t forget about durability in your quest to create pretty spaces. Lots of traffic, constant daily use and the need for boundaries between spaces are all things to consider. And while that catalog sofa might be gorgeous, remember your people will still need access to power and adequate work surfaces to remain productive.
- Lighting: Don’t underestimate the importance of great lighting to create a warm, inviting atmosphere. Add task lighting at desks for focus, general overhead lighting, and ambient lighting for residential spaces. Turnstone’s Big Lamp defines spaces while adding a soft glow and bringing down ceiling heights.
- Window treatments: Good window treatments provide functionality and enhance the look of your space. Aside from reducing glare on computer screens, semi-opaque shades soften the hard lines of windows.
- Texture: Bring in coziness with nubby textures on sofas, soft fabrics on chairs and throws, and natural wood grain on surfaces. Accessories like wood sticks, hammered metal, clear glass and seeded glass also bring in a variety of rich, textural elements.
- Color: Painting walls (even a focus wall), or incorporating color in furniture, accessories, artwork, pillows and branding make spaces pop and add personality. Ask yourself how you want the office to feel, and recognize the connection between color and emotion. Bright colors are vibrant and stimulating, whereas earthtones are calmer. Love primaries? Be strategic with them so as to not look like a children’s classroom. When dealing with primary colors, it’s incredibly important to bring in a neutral base and slowly build the bold colors.
- Accessories: Accessories are the jewelry for your space. Books with pretty covers, vases, plants and other elements can be layered and displayed in various heights to achieve balance. Group items in odd numbers or group even numbers symmetrically, mixing textures for a polished look.
- Plants and greenery: Bring the outdoors in! Plants are calming and bring life into the workplace. Consider natural images on wall treatments, strategically-placed wood accent walls and living walls as statement pieces.