Studies analysing the impact of office design on productivity have shown that good workplace design can play a huge role in increasing the job satisfaction and performance of employees.
This information has had a significant impact on office design. More and more designers are abandoning the rigid, impersonal designs of the past in favour of comfortable and creatively stimulating workspaces.
Current office design trends
Taking inspiration from nature
Nature is all the rage in office design this year, with reclaimed wood panels, living plant walls and floral fabrics featuring prominently. Research shows that the inclusion of natural elements in a workspace improves employees’ overall contentment and job satisfaction.
Standard office design has undergone a major transformation over the past two decades to include multi-purpose workspaces, as well as areas that allow for easy collaboration between employees. Expect to see more more adjustable work surfaces and large tables replacing individual desks in the future.
Pleasing break areas
The inclusion of comfortable break areas is a prominent office design trend. The purpose of creating comfortable, aesthetically pleasing and relaxed break areas isn’t only to allow employees to recharge more efficiently, but also to encourage collaboration between staff.
Using colour to organise workspaces is another popular trend in office design this year. It’s thought that colour can increase happiness and boost both creativity and productivity. Colour-coding different areas of an office can also add to a sense of organisation, which in turn makes for a more pleasing environment.
An emphasis on pattern and texture
Pattern and texture are making their way into office spaces in a big way. It’s thought that the inclusion of different patterns and textures can inspire creativity and, by providing a more varied and personalised work environment, boost job satisfaction.
Increasingly, permanent layouts are being replaced with open floor plans and modular furniture. Expect to see movable partitions, privacy pods and multi-purpose furniture, designed to create more dynamic and collaborative workplaces.
Does office design really affect productivity and job satisfaction?
According to an independent study conducted by the American Society of Interior Designers in 1999, the physical design of the workplace is one of the top factors that affects job performance and satisfaction.
Another study conducted in 2006 on the relationship between workplace design, job satisfaction and productivity in the workplace had similar findings. 90 percent of the 2013 participants stated that their attitude toward work is strongly affected by their workplace environment, and 89 percent blamed their job dissatisfaction on their working environment.
Sufficient lighting is essential
According to a study on workplace environment and productivity carried out by COMSATS Institute of Information Technology in Pakistan, the prime factor that affects the productivity of employees is lighting.
The study found that both sufficient natural and artificial lighting is essential for employees to perform everyday office work, and without this employees suffer eye strain, headaches and increased irritability.
How a workspace is occupied is nearly as vital as lighting in directly affecting mood and enhancing a welcome sense of energy. According to the same COMSATS study, spatial arrangement is a very important factor to consider, followed by noise levels, furniture and then temperature.