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Finding the balance between aesthetics and functionality in office design

Posted by Trevor
April 19, 2014 in Features

If you want to maximise productivity in your office, then aesthetics is just as important as practicality as far as your employees are concerned.

Research suggests that ugly offices have a negative effect on workers, in the same way that uncomfortable work stations do. It is therefore important to set up your office to function as well as possible, both in terms of streamlining work flow and setting up workers properly at their stations. Inefficiency in an office leads to plunging productivity and poor ergonomic practices lead to workers having to take item off, due to health problems such as repetitive strain injury.

Design and lighting go together

The two important aspects of decor and lighting are intertwined. It is vital for workers to be able to see what they are doing, whether this involves increasing brightness levels to view text on paper, or reducing glare to read words on a screen.

Reflections and shadows can also be incredibly distracting. so, while you could have the trendiest of office interiors, if your decor is causing light to bounce around at the wrong angles, or cast huge shadows over work stations, you may have to have a rethink.

Natural light is free, works well and is thought to improve the mood and morale of workers, so make as much use as possible of available daylight. Choose paint and  office flooring  office flooring colours that will lighten and brighten your office space.

The joy of silence

Noise has a huge effect on the well-being of workers, as well as their ability to concentrate. A badly-designed work space could mean that someone trying to focus on quiet work is constantly distracted by a noisy meeting nearby. This can be solved by designating specific areas for quiet work and noisier collaboration, and making sure that sound does not carry between the two.

Recently, soundproofing has been incorporated into office partitions, panels and even furniture, with some chairs resembling soundproof booths. Many of these options can protect against unwanted noise, while also looking colourful, funky and modern.

Flooring also has a big effect on acoustics. For example, while it might look slick and modern, a hard, smooth surface can be echoey and loud when compared with softer materials, such as carpet. Therefore, different areas should have various office flooring, according to its use.

Comfort and style can be combined

It pays to invest in comfortable chairs and work stations to avoid strain and injuries. Furniture also needs to look appealing, as an unattractive work space may increase stress levels and reduce the ability to focus. Fortunately, a lot of the  office furniture  office furniture available today combines appealing looks with practical functionality.

It is better to design around people from the beginning rather than expecting them to fit into an existing scheme. Involve your staff in the design process so that they can choose colours and furniture that they prefer, as well as an overall layout that suits their needs. An open plan office, which is the latest trend, can do a great deal to encourage collaboration, as well as automatically appearing lighter and more spacious. However, make sure that your workers feel comfortable in their new environment.

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