As humans, we all like to feel a connection with nature, even when we are at work. This tendency, also known as biophilia, has been a growing influence in office design in the 21st century. Bringing the outdoors indoors has been shown to help productivity, lessen staff sickness and stress, and generally make the workplace a more pleasant place to be.
Thames Contracts have been carrying out high-quality office fitout and refurbishment projects in north London and Hertfordshire for around 30 years. Here we look at five subtle ways to integrate an outdoor theme into your internal office space.Starting a New Project? Free Quotation
Using earthy, natural colours such as greens and browns on the office walls acts as a subtle reminder of the outside world. Blues and whites also work well, as they reflect the sky, the sea and clouds. If you don’t fancy using these colours on the walls, then hanging landscape paintings will have a similarly positive effect on your staff’s mental wellbeing.
More vivid colours such as violet, fuchsia or amber are also appropriate, as these are all present in nature. However, it is advisable to use these in moderation as the vivid hues can sometimes distract workers from the core tasks.
It is essential to ensure there is plenty of natural light in your office, as this brings a number of health benefits. Put simply, it cheers people up, and helps them avoid seasonal affective disorder, a form of depression which typically occurs during the autumn and winter months.
Also, when exposed to sunlight, the body absorbs lots of Vitamin D through the skin, which helps to combat heart disease and various forms of cancer. So you should make sure that, wherever possible, desks are positioned close to windows. Remember that south-facing areas of your office will be exposed to the most sunlight during the working day.
Where you do need to use artificial light sources, it is advisable to take care that they are not too harsh, as this can lead to eye strain, headaches, and tiredness. It is worth investing in dimmer switches, so the levels of light can be adjusted throughout the day. Another alternative is dynamic lighting, which automatically mixes light from two different lamps so that it mimics the movement of the sun.
Green or living walls incorporate plants which help improve the air quality, making workers healthier and more productive. The greenery also absorbs some of the ambient noise which employees are typically exposed to, making it easier to concentrate. Good plants to include on a living wall include trailers like ivy, ferns and succulents, which don’t need a lot of watering.
If you don’t have enough space for a living wall, then greenery can be introduced on a smaller scale. You can either plant small trees and shrubs in communal areas or close to your staff’s office desks or workstations.
Through the Furniture
Plastic chairs are not a must – you could try green alternatives such as rattan, wicker and teak. Another item of furniture which is worth considering is an indoor fountain, as running water has a soothing effect on the human psyche.
Through Varying Your Space
Remember that no two spaces in nature are ever identical – and try to replicate this in your office design. Standardised workstations and desk sizes create a regimented feel, which won’t always encourage employees to be creative or productive.
One key way of varying your work floor space is through the clever use of glass office partitioning, which Thames Contracts have installed for businesses in and around London. This provides you with flexible office space, as you can quickly turn an interview room into a conference space or a breakout area.
Office Fitouts in North London from Thames Contracts
If you are considering a top-quality office fitout or refurbishment in north London or Hertfordshire – including Watford, Hitchin and Potters Bar – you can contact Thames Contracts by following the link.
We will give you a free, no-obligation quote as a starting-point. If you are interested, we can then provide a 3D computer-generated design so you have a clear idea of what your new workplace will look like, and agree a work schedule with our network of tried and trusted contractors to minimise the disruption to your business. We manage the whole project from start to finish, and pride ourselves on our ability to complete work on time and on budget.Starting a New Project? Free Quotation