Digital signage and video walls may give the impression of the office of the future. They’re great technologies, but there are many other office design trends to take note of. Some of the aspects below are components of ethonomics, or design concepts for the modern workplace that include technology, environment, planning and, not the least, food. After all, well-fed workers (with a healthy diet) are healthier, feel better, and are more productive.
In an intelligent office, one should consider:
- Lighting: Overlooking office lighting can have dire impacts. If your space is too dark or the lighting is poor, you could inadvertently contribute to employees’ depression. Bad lighting can cause eyestrain, fatigue, and increase irritability. When a company doesn’t address these, one can try installing natural light bulbs near their desk.
- Wiring: Many electronic devices are still wired. Even in a wireless world, laptops, computing equipment, printers, and other office equipment need to be linked to the grid. Work desks and conference tables with the means to conceal wires make a workplace look more organized. Reducing clutter can make a workplace more productive—or cleaner looking, at the very least.
- Nature: Reclaimed wood panels, plants, and floral fabrics and artwork are design trends worth noting. They can make any space cozier. In it’s simplest form, nature-inspired design can include screensavers with views of nature. Desk plants help, too, but don’t forget a brief walk outside during lunchtime to get fresh air.
According to Forbes, making offices greener can boost cognition, productivity, and decision making. Working from home gives you even more freedom. You can furnish your home office with live plants, let in fresh air, or take walks outside anytime.
- Multipurpose space: Office cubicles are going away as a design trend. Non-assigned seating and larger, oval-shaped desks are appearing in offices as a means for intelligent design. Overall, multipurpose areas are fulfilling the need for flexibility in creating room for multimedia presentations, casual break areas, and other key office elements.
- Lounges: Today’s technology allows for greater mobility, so many companies are choosing to do away with rigid workstations. Integrated lounge space into offices encourages collaboration, but in a more relaxed environment. It’s now more acceptable to let employees enjoy their time while being intellectually stimulated. Community tables are also becoming common in workplaces, where employees can interact, collaborate, and feel more connected.
Then again, you have the traditional key elements of successful design—color, lighting, and texture. These are just as pervasive in today’s intelligent offices. As companies become more conscious of improving employee productivity, creativity, and happiness, they’re finding ways to use color for shaping the mood of the office. Texture also helps designers personalize a work environment and make it more inspiring. The variability enables businesses to cater to employees’ needs and for companies to implement unique designs that don’t compromise sentiment or productivity.
- Flexibility in the office: Working in one space all the time is not a prime example of intelligent office design. Your company can offer different environments to work from, with the option to perform duties in a personal space, lobby, conference room, or breakout room. Adjusting your personal workspace at home, such as changing your seating location, moving pictures around, or working at a café, for example, is easier than in the office, but try talking to managers and supervisors about arrangements you feel might work better.
- The role of the senses: The intelligent office is one in which the comfort level of employees is maximized. In doing so, consider:
- Room temperature – A room temperature of about 65 to 68 degrees Fahrenheit is maintained by most offices, but a Cornell University study found that warmer temperatures increase productivity. In fact, it revealed typing output increased 150% and typing errors decreased 44% when office temperatures were set between 68 and 77 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Smell: Optimal scents may not be priorities in most workplaces, but can profoundly affect mood and mindset. The smell of pine can increase alertness, while cinnamon can improve focus, and peppermint elevates mood. With citrus, a person can feel more awake and positive.
- Noise: In an office, the noise level can vary greatly. Excess noise impacts one’s ability to do their work. The distractions reduce productivity and increase stress levels. There are various factors, from team size to company culture, but office design has a lot to do with acoustics.
- Air quality: If you can’t focus or think clearly, it is hard to work. Air quality in the office has a major impact on your cognitive ability and overall health. Air filters or even opening some windows can improve indoor air quality, but consider discussing HVAC maintenance and solutions with your team if something doesn’t seem right.