Environmental psychology explores the psychological effects of the design of the space around you.
Whether you work within in a traditional office, a retail setting or an educational institute it’s a critical consideration if you want get the best out of your employees, as your workplace design contributes to everything from mood to long-term mental health conditions.
We all want a positive, productive and healthy workforce, so what should we consider when designing the workplace?
Brand Identity = Belonging
When people talk about some of the best or most memorable workplaces out there, tech giants like Google and Facebook are often mentioned. This isn’t simply because they’ve got millions to spend on creating “cool” workplaces – it’s because they’ve taken the time to create a space that reflects their culture and brand identity so their employees feel like they belong to something unique and individual.
If the workplace feels the same as the one from your last role, will you feel like you’ve moved forward in your career? Will you feel invigorated and excited to go into work every day? Research has shown that a need to belong, is a big motivator. Reflecting your brand identity, but more importantly your company values and culture, in your workspace helps your employees to feel motivated to show up and feel proud of their company.
Colours in the workplace
Colour psychology isn’t anything new. Many of us were taught about it in primary school art lessons – the basic principle is that different colours trigger different psychological reactions in people e.g. green has a calming effect while blue encourages logic and efficiency. Yet too often our workplaces have plain white walls, no textures or materiality, no colourful plants or furniture to brighten and lift the space.
The colours that you’ll want to use will vary depending on your business aims and common staff challenges – e.g. if you know that your employees tend to get stressed a lot, you may want to favour the colour green, even if your business requires efficiency.
The way you use colour throughout the different spaces in the workplace may also vary depending on how you want employees to feel at different time – e.g while the main desk area focuses on greens to reduce stress, the meeting spaces could use yellows to encourage creativity.
Interaction & isolation at work
As humans, we crave social interaction and connection with other people to relieve stress, improve motivation and contribute to that sense of belonging that we all want – especially post COVID-19. So it’s imperative that workplaces are designed in a way that allows these social interactions to happen – e.g. by having a shared lunch space or staff room where workers can interact away from their main workstation or by simply having workstations set up to allow employees to keep communicating with each other.
Without this ability to connect with others, employees can feel isolated leading to higher levels of stress and mental health conditions.
On the flip side, too much social interaction in the workplace can be overwhelming and stressful – especially for introverts and people who want to focus solely on the task at hand.
It’s important to find a balance whereby employees can easily interact with each other but are not forced to do so during the whole workday – e.g. make sure everyone has their own designated space in the workplace such as their own workstation or locker for personal belongings.
Biophilic workplace design
Biophilic design is the practice of incorporating natural elements into the design of a space. In the workplace, biophilic design has a number of psychological benefits, including:
- Reducing stress
- Improving mood
- Boosting creativity
Regardless of what your typical workplace setting is, you will always want to get the best out of your employees – so make sure you’ve got a workspace that helps you achieve this. Incorporating biophilic elements like natural light, plants and water features into your workplace can boost both the psychological and physiological wellbeing of your employees.
At Resolution Interiors, we’re experts at designing and implementing workspaces that work, we’ve been through the process many times, and more recently have been called upon by business wishing to explore what the post-CV19 era looks like and how they can effectively re-purpose their spaces for their new, blended workforces – for support with getting the best out of your workspace (and by extension, your employees) get in touch with our team.