A Publication of WTVP

When you are at work, do you ever catch yourself daydreaming about being somewhere else? How about the contrary—do you ever catch yourself daydreaming about being at work? People usually daydream about places they enjoy, and shouldn’t your work environment be that enjoyable? As employees and employers become more aware of office wellness and realize the advantages of sustainable construction and the impact interior work environments have on employee productivity, the demand for quality environments will certainly grow.

There are several factors that promote a quality indoor environment. While this article only discusses a few, it is important to consider all factors when designing the space where employees will spend a majority of their time.

Office Layout
Office space planning should promote interaction and team building. Cubical walls are being lowered in height, while glass panels and walls are used to promote employee interaction. Informal conference areas are being incorporated throughout spaces to promote group interaction. Hard wall offices are moving from the perimeter to the center of spaces to maximize window use for all occupants. Modular walls are being used more frequently because they are easily reconfigured and don’t impact interior construction. Another interior element gaining popularity is a recovery room, where those not feeling well can rest for awhile rather than going home for the entire day. In addition, exercise rooms with showers and locker rooms are being included, promoting exercise without travel and, in turn, reducing pollution.

Daylight & Exterior Views
Doesn’t everyone want a window seat? In sustainable construction, windows are not just for upper management. With a new office layout, all employees can enjoy the benefit of exterior views. Windows allow natural daylight and help employees relate to the time of day and the activities of the exterior environment.

Personal Control of Environments
We’ve all heard of workplace thermostat wars. People are comfortable at different temperatures. Wouldn’t it be nice to control the temperature of our own cubicle or office like we do in our home? Raised access flooring is a great solution to provide that flexibility. With a raised access floor, personal diffusers can be placed in multiple positions allowing temperatures to be controlled in individual spaces. This same concept can also be implemented in lighting. Task lighting at each station can give each person control of the light level in his or her own area. Indirect lighting is also a great alternative to standard ceiling fixtures.

As sustainable design becomes more popular, open plenum ceilings offer a desired look and use fewer materials. However, without acoustical ceiling tile, other means are necessary to help absorb and avoid creating sound. Some options for absorbing office sounds include using carpet in open office areas and fabric on cubical panels and lounge furniture.

Color Schemes
Color schemes can directly affect how people feel within a space. Everyone has differing opinions when it comes to color, making it important to select a color scheme that best fits the character of the business and employees. It is also good to use the surrounding environment to determine colors, as it is critical that the interior space fits with its setting. Using a variety of colors throughout the space will create dimension and character. Paint is a refreshing option to easily incorporate color, excitement and change in a space.

Because the majority of office workers spend 80 percent of their day indoors, they are directly impacted by their work environment. Creating a quality interior environment is an invaluable aid to increase employee productivity and satisfaction. IBI