Sustainable and smart office designs

Back to the office: How sustainable and smart office designs foster a healthy and collaborative working environment

August 4th, 2022

For many, Covid-19 is a thing of the past, but the ramifications of its outbreak are here to stay. According to the Office for National Statistics, 38% of working adults reported having worked from home at some point over the past seven days in the Spring of 2022. The genie is out of the bottle with working from home – hybrid working is now normal. But what is it about the office that makes many employees balk?

Bland decor; lifeless, impersonal cubicles and garish industrial lighting – all stereotypes of the traditional office that are true for far too many businesses and their team members. All factors that contribute to demotivation, and a lack of tolerance for the busy daily commute.

There is hope, however.

One study from Harvard found that ‘the key to working better, sleeping better and feeling better could be rooted in the design, maintenance and operation of the buildings where we spend the majority of our time’.

This is still for most of us, despite the increase in hybrid working, the office.

By moving beyond the old ‘cubicle culture’ and adopting sustainable and smart office designs rooted in wellbeing science, you could radically and rapidly improve your working environment – making office blues a thing of the past.

Here are some ideas to take into consideration.


Green spaces are good for business

There are a lot of studies to suggest that our grey, urban sprawls – while economically efficient – are not particularly good for our wellbeing.

Multinational companies such as Amazon, Google and Facebook are aware of this and have begun to bring natural, green spaces into their campuses and offices with green workspace design.

What are the benefits of doing such a thing?

Research has shown that being surrounded by nature has been proven to improve concentration, lessen attention fatigue and drive productivity by 20%.

Green spaces also encourage interaction between colleagues and can work as an energy-saving solution – something that is more and more important as the cost of living crisis affects us all.

This is all well and good for companies like Facebook and Amazon, you might be saying, but what about our startup or SME?

The great thing about incorporating green spaces is that they don’t have to break the bank and can be achieved for less initial investment than you think.

For more information on the best green spaces for your workplace, check out our blog on green office ideas.



Natural light makes your office more attractive to colleagues and clients – and makes them happier too

It’s no secret in interior design circles that an abundance of natural light can make a property feel more open and inviting, thereby raising its value. While you won’t be looking to sell your office, it’s still important to understand how it’s perceived by potential clients and your team.

By prioritising access to natural light, you can boost the chances that the first impression a prospective client or a new team member receives when they walk into your office will be positive. Our reaction to natural light is primal and instinctive – visitors and employees should simply feel that it is a great office, a great place to work, and that yours is a great business to partner with, without consciously knowing why.

Natural light is also exceptionally influential on employee health and productivity, with its many benefits including reducing eye strain, fewer headaches, better moods, less fatigue and less work mistakes. Learn more about its benefits in our article The importance of natural light in your office.

PS – do you want some tips on how to increase natural light in your office quickly?
Get in touch with our design team for advice.


Carefully considered office spaces can boost connection and collaboration

While many employees enjoy working from home, some find they simply work better within an office environment. However, the design of the office itself is likely to play a key role in whether or not workers can do their best work while they’re on site. It’s unlikely that any employee will be keen to rush back to a small cubicle space where they are cut off from their colleagues.

Hybrid working employees now tend to use their days in the office to interact with their coworkers and carry out jobs that are easier to do in-person or with the superior technology available to them in person. So it’s vital to consider whether the physical layout of your office is optimised to enable your teams to use it in the way that they want to.

This doesn’t mean you need to completely refit your space. Simply providing more breakout spaces will enable your team members to come together more easily, or bring in clients for face-to-face meetings rather than Zoom calls. You should also ensure that any tech your staff need to do their jobs is readily accessible and available for everyone to use when they come into the office.

Creating casual seating areas or break rooms can also give your employees the space to relax and reconnect with coworkers, which is vital for those who may feel isolated working from home. It could also increase the opportunities for the type of spontaneous, creative brainstorming sessions that have lead to some of the world’s most innovative products and services.

Wondering where to get started when it comes to setting up breakout areas that encourage collaboration and creativity? Check out our blog on design-led office furniture.



Create an office your teams look forward to visiting

Despite all of our technological marvels it appears that our baseline happiness and productivity is still tied to the natural world – and we still crave natural connections with our coworkers.

By bringing nature in the form of light and green spaces into your office, and ensuring it’s designed to encourage employees to connect, you can improve your employee experience immensely. You’ll also make the office a more attractive place to be, which can help foster creativity, collaboration and team culture.

Want to learn more about achieving this for your new office? Get in touch for an initial chat.



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