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beyond aesthetics


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03 February 2020 Murray Hibbert

In future, office design will focus less on aesthetics and more on influencing employee performance, says Murray Hibbert.

In future, office design will focus less on aesthetics and more on influencing employee performance. Lighting, acoustics, and the psychological impact of colours and smells will be vital considerations. 

Technological advances have precipitated a huge shift in the way people work, ushering in a new era of connectivity and flexible working. Thus, designing space to accommodate different work styles is becoming the norm. A shift in attitude is taking place – the workspace will be designed to fit the worker.  

Employee requirements are set to play an even bigger role in influencing design decisions. We’re already seeing evidence of this as companies seek to understand how well their workspace accommodates the way employees work. 

Workplace layout will seek to enhance employee performance. The right lighting, for example, in terms of both illumination and colour temperature, has been shown to help combat fatigue and enhance wellbeing, so it will be prioritised. 

The right acoustics help people to concentrate and produce their best work. According to research, just 30 per cent of office occupants are currently happy with the noise levels at work, so it is clear there is scope for improvement.

The power of scent will also increasingly be harnessed to improve staff experience and stimulate particular behaviours. For example, citrus scents are known to stimulate creativity, whereas rosemary can be used to encourage mental clarity. 

We know from our customers that there is an appetite among forward-thinking companies to tackle office design holistically, putting thought into how every element can benefit employee performance. 

We can expect many more firms to look beyond aesthetics as they switch on the productivity benefits of employee-focused design.

Murray Hibbert is client relations director at Habit Action