Employers are increasingly realising that it is important to provide as many home comforts in the office as possible, as little touches can help boost staff morale and productivity.
Thames Contracts carries out office refit projects in London, St Albans, Watford, Potters Bar and other places around the capital. Whether you are moving into new premises or refurbishing your existing ones, we are highly experienced in helping create a workspace which will benefit you and your staff. Here are our top tips for making your office feel more like home.
Employers are increasingly realising that the best way to keep staff happy is to create a comfortable atmosphere. One of the biggest recent trends in home interior design is ‘hygge’, a Danish word which roughly translates as ‘cosiness’. Popular features include are the use of candles and scents to create a welcoming atmosphere, and rugs and throws add to the level of comfort.
The trend has proved so popular some elements of it have been used in office refurbishments. Installing lighting with dimmer switches can help create a more mellow mood and reduce the strain on the eyes. Using warm or bright colours in the décor can also help, while furniture can also be made more welcoming, possibly with the use of fabrics.
Furniture design also plays an important role in ensuring staff are comfortable. With hot-desking now an integral feature of the modern workplace, chairs, for example, should be fully adjustable so staff can sit in comfort at any workstation, and desk design is also important.
Add in Breakout Areas
Health and safety law says staff should always take regular breaks when they are using computer screens, and it makes the workplace more welcoming if there is somewhere they can go to relax. As well as making workstations more comfortable, you may also want to build in breakout areas, where staff can relax, eat their lunch, or just have a chat. Including charging stations for mobile devices in these areas is increasingly popular.
A few companies, such as American large high-tech multinationals, have gone so far as to include playrooms with pool and table tennis tables, and ball pools, into their office design. Few companies may want to go to these lengths, but smaller-scale initiatives can also be very effective. Brightly-coloured soft furnishings such as tub chairs and sofas help staff to relax, and a central round table will encourage employee interaction.
Another recent trend has been the creation of themed breakout areas, with some resembling picnic sites to help workers relax and have fun. Others have been made from recycled materials to underline the company’s green credentials. Some have whiteboards where staff can leave messages and jot down ideas. In many offices, a breakout area may often also be used as an informal meeting room.
Breakout areas can be created quite easily within existing offices by using partitions. Thames Contracts specialise in installing glass partitioning in offices in and around London. This is particularly useful if space is at a premium as it enables space to have more than one function. Glass partitions also make maximum use of existing natural light, which has been proved to have beneficial effects on staff health.
Include Plenty of Plants and Greenery
Another feature of hygge is the use of greenery. Studies have suggested that having plants in the office makes them feel more welcoming. There are scientific reasons for this; they reduce the levels of CO2 and dust, making the air in the office much cleaner and healthier to breathe. Research has also found that they reduce levels of stress and anxiety amongst staff, and cut levels of sickness and absence. The colour green in itself also has restful qualities and can be included in your décor.
In some offices, can be encouraged to have small potted plants on their desk, while larger plants, particularly in the reception area, can make the whole office feel more welcoming to visitors as well as employees. A current trend is for companies to build a ‘living wall’ or vertical garden into their premises, and you can discuss with us including these at the design stage.
The Personal Touch
Careful placement of furniture and artwork can stimulate a positive environment, particularly if staff have a say in what goes where. It may be a good idea if staff are allowed to put personal effects and pictures of loved ones on their desks, as this can improve morale, and they could also have input on aspects such as colour schemes, furnishings and fittings.
Discussing the office design with staff will make them feel they have a stake in it and they can often also suggest touches which will help to make them feel comfortable at work, raising productivity. For instance, some staff members may prefer to use a particular style of desk or chair, or they may feel happier if seated close to a window or at a distance from breakout areas, particularly if they are carrying out work which requires quiet to concentrate.
A Thames Contracts office refit will integrate features at the design stage which will make your premises more comfortable. We have worked on many office refurbishment projects in London, Hitchin, Barnet, St Albans, Watford, Stevenage, and other districts around the capital.
We provide a single point of contact throughout the whole project, and will manage all aspects of it, including disposing of old fixtures and fittings. Follow the link above if you would like to know more about our office fitout services.