We spend a lot of time at work – 75% of the week, for your typical office worker. It makes sense, then; to have an office environment that’s conducive to staff well-being, that they will engage with, and which suits the task at hand. Here are five handy tips for using furniture to create an engaging office environment.
Think about how the space will be used – and make sure the furniture fits the brief
There are few things more frustrating than the feeling that we don’t have the right resources to complete our work effectively. When looking at an office redesign, take some time to speak with staff and understand what they need from their environment.
For users who are permanently office-based, consider the amount of desktop space required – will they be using a single or a double computer screen? Do they work electronically, or do they also have a requirement for printed documents and archives, and therefore additional storage?
Taking the time over this first step will help to ensure you create the right environment for your staff, based on their individual roles.
A variety of spaces, for a variety of tasks
While it’s rare to find an office without at least some requirement for desking, it’s important to consider the other tasks that staff will undertake during a typical working day, and plan spaces around these too.
For example, cross functional teamwork necessitates a space where employees can get together, in varying group sizes, to pull together ideas and catch up on progress. These spaces need to be flexible – think easily configurable furniture like Zip, comfortable soft seating units like Solar, or semi-private booth seating.
Also remember that these spaces are likely to generate more noise, so plan their locations carefully!
At the opposite end of the scale, there are some functions which will require silent areas for focused work and concentration. Acoustic panels, high-sided booths and smaller meeting rooms are all great options to address this.
Blurring boundaries between work and home life
It’s a trend we’ve seen for a good while now, and it shows no sign of changing – the lines between home and work are breaking down.
As younger generations progress into work, they bring with them changing approaches to their working environment. Accustomed to being able to work wherever they are, they expect comfortable soft seating areas with accessible electric points. Choosing furniture which can be ordered with integrated electric points will create space where employees can work efficiently away from a desk.
Colour and texture create an added element of interest
Furniture can be a great way to introduce colour to a workplace. Fabrics can match a corporate colour scheme; or create a feature against a neutral backdrop with accent pieces. Mix and match complementary colours; or choose different shades of the same colour to add variety.
Texture on a fabric is a great contrast to the smooth, flat screens of our smartphones and tablets; and encourages use and interaction with a space. Heavy fabrics against a wooden frame will create a sense of comfort and homeliness; or introduce a point of contrast against a lighter texture.
Introduce some natural elements
Biophilia is described as our innate connection with the natural world. Studies have shown that interactions with nature within an office environment can directly influence performance and wellbeing. For example, a piece of CBRE research highlighted a 10% improvement in performance, and 76% increase in staff energy, in response to the introduction of plants to the workspace.
Indirect contact with natural elements can have a similar effect. Opting for wooden frames over metal for tables and chairs introduces a softer, more natural feel to furniture. This can be paired with green tone fabrics to further imitate the natural world.
Find out more on YPO’s framework
for complete office solutions, which includes a wide range of desks, storage, tables and upholstered seating, including breakout and meeting furniture suitable for use in any office environment.