A lot of people can remember the days of grey offices, regimented table layouts and magnolia walls with maybe a pot plant to brighten up the office. In more recent years, workspaces have been linked to increased productivity but what is the psychology behind it all?
Over the years, offices have been traditionally designed with increased performance as a focus, more around the functionality aspects. Employers have been blinkered into what a workspace should be.
Evidence now shows that bigger salaries / bonuses are not always the sole motivator to happy employees, environment can also play a larger part than once thought. Yes, this seems a pretty common sensical point of view, but this has been missed for so many years. Business owners tend to think they need the big cash flow of the likes of Google to create a great space but this is not true.
Motivated staff working to their full potential is surely the ultimate for any employer. Over time employers have recognised the need for a more dynamic and creative work space for employees to feel at ease and motivated. Even the simplistic use of music is seen as a plus to raise moods.
Large and small businesses are recognising this, and the message appears to be getting through. Huge amounts of research has been conducted over the years investigating how space impacts on daily work productivity and motivational levels.
Statistics show that productivity increases by 15% when an employer promotes collaboration – this can be something as simple as a small workplace café space or break out area etc.
We all know of the iconic office spaces that have been showcased in the past (Google’s impressive workspace) but does having a slide really add to productivity? I suppose it all depends on the balance of staff and how they will react to these new ideas.
It’s really interesting to look at the psychology of space and desk orientation and what is the actual impact on staff productive levels.
Zonal recreation areas are often used to promote collaborative working and space for ideas to bounce and develop. However, could this trend of interaction in fact cause distraction and inhibit employee’s privacy?
Legibility of the space is important so there is a clear understanding of work and creative space, these lines could get blurred particularly with enthusiastic newbies excited to show off their table tennis skills on day one! This is the challenge of companies to ensure invisible lines are drawn so all are working towards to end goal.
One rule for effective office environments does not work for all employees, we are all different and have different tolerance levels.
An interesting consideration is that millennials blend their work and personal life. More often than not in the past we wanted to separate the two.
As suggested many businesses don’t have the capital like Google but there are some simple ways to manipulate the environment to hopefully spark creative. For example, colour and light can affect moods and work productivity. In recent studies the colour green came out as the number one choice as links directly to nature and feeling of freedom. Warm colours within the workplace cause stimulation. Be careful with red as even though it’s a bold colour, too much may over stimulate. When used as an accent colour, however, it will add energy and urgency.
Lighting is also important to get right. Too bright is over bearing and too low impacts energy levels.
More modern work spaces are now being designed with the employee in mind. Today’s offices are architecturally designed and orientated to maximise light; clever techniques using mirrors and reflective surfaces offer a more cost-effective way to increase light and brightness.
BK’s Creative Spaces
As an employer, Banana Kick believes in the delivery of creative space and are continually looking to enhance the office environment.
The Leeds office delivers a blend of work based zonal areas, combined with break out spaces that include a poker table, table tennis and relaxing sofa area. Plus, an ever changing cafe – refurbished for requirement (i.e Russian themed in celebration of the World Cup)!
Our three office spaces also sit within the converted Railway Roundhouse. Designed by Thomas Grainger and built in 1847 – it accommodated 20 locomotives for the Leeds and Thirsk Railway. This means high ceilings, wooden beams, exposed brickwork and large windows all within an open plan setting.
Overall, it’s not secret – we spend so much time at work it’s becoming more and more important to create a blend of inspiring work place environments that staff feel happy to spend time in. As a result of doing this, companies can expect increased productivity, positive mindset and improved wellbeing.
Written by our Senior Account Manager, Claire Greenall