Choosing a design scheme for your working space is a decision that holds consequences. You may not realise it but the colour and tone of your surroundings are instrumental in the way that you work and indeed the efficiency with which you work. Biophilia is the emotional affiliation of human beings to other living organisms: in a workplace context, it means incorporating elements of nature—such as potted plants and an abundance of natural light—into employees’ workstations and common areas.
Colours, like shapes and finishes, run in trends. Recent years have seen muted and natural tones soar in popularity. For 2017, the Pantone colour of the year is Greenery, “a fresh and zesty yellow-green shade… Illustrative of flourishing foliage and the lushness of the great outdoors, the fortifying attributes of Greenery signals consumers to take a deep breath, oxygenate and reinvigorate.” This is in keeping with the mood of the times, with nature and health weighing heavily on public consciousness.
Walls with Impact
The colour of internal walls is clearly a pivotal decision when it comes to configuring a workplace design scheme. Exposure to the colours blue and green has been shown to enhance both performance and the generation of ideas. These colours are two key tones of the natural world, and although it may be a bit garish to attempt to replicate a cloudless sky and a country meadow directly onto your office walls, it is beneficial to bring subtle tones of blue and green into your scheme using accent walls or smaller areas of colour.
Wide Open Space
No one works well in a dungeon (except for medieval gaolers but there’s little call for them these days). Ceiling height has been shown to affect working psychology: one study found that a higher ceiling was associated with feelings of freedom, and an ability to conceive ideas in a more abstract and conceptual way.
Lighting the Woodwork
Using wood flooring immediately gives a warm and natural feel to a working space. As a material, it is capable of both absorbing and reflecting light. You can then maximise natural light in the office by using an open plan layout. There is a strong correlation between exposure to natural light during office hours and quality of life and work, so aim to enable your design to make the most of these aspects.
Round and Round
It’s not just about materials and colour, though. By emulating the patterns, forms and textures of natural elements within an office design you can represent nature in the workplace. Furniture that is curved and rounded rather than sharp and straight is perceived as more attractive, natural and appealing. Sitting in circles provoke a collective mindset, whereas sitting in straight lines trigger feelings of individuality, so the more rounded influence that you can bring into a working space, the better.
Leaves of Green
Where studies have found that the presence of plant life can improve creativity, indoor plants are probably the easiest and cheapest, not to mention quickest, changes to a workplace that can offer benefits. It’s safest to look for plants that don’t require direct sunlight or frequent watering – if the cups rarely get washed up, there’s little hope for high maintenance plants! As a bonus, it has also been claimed that plants can reduce office pollution levels. So there’s little to lose!
Taking inspiration from the outdoors clearly hold many layers of benefit for a working space. Especially if your office or building is used regularly by customers or clients, consider aspects of natural design that can help to create an environment which encourages business building. Fresh colours and natural materials promote open mentality and collaboration, which is an ideal atmosphere for any business or sales environment.