The 5 Wellbeing Pillars behind the Science of Design
Critical to the success of your workplace design is the ICON INTERIORS Five Wellbeing Principles© of the science behind office design. These critical processes & theories need to be applied to your project. They are not nice to haves; they are must haves. Without these, your project could be a total fail.
Acoustic mitigation strategies must be applied as an overlay to your project – and must be in mind when the space planning is being conducted. There are several things to consider. Unwanted sound is a distraction, and it can also be a trauma. In order to reduce the pressure in the normal workplace environment, we use specific space planning techniques & select materials which facilitate dampening of sound. With a small amount of clever acoustic control, we can create greater outcomes which ensure a space which is sustainable for you and your team to work in. Selection of materials, positioning & space planning (Sound is a pressure, as well as a frequency) work together to reduce hotspots of sound pressure. Principles need to be applied to workstation areas, to meeting rooms, to confidential areas, to quiet spaces and other areas in the workplace. Selection of materials & positioning are key parts of ensuring a well thought out acoustic mitigation strategy and a successful workplace.
Biophilia is crucial in the workplace. Biophilia includes aspects such as the shape of things (for example non-linear/ organic shapes) fresh airflow and how it interacts with surroundings (for example a vent blowing on a plant emulates wind outdoors), selection of materials that are natural, or appear natural, like plants (biophilia is often associated just with plants, but it is a lot more than this. See article Biophilia- The Architecture of Life for more information), greenery, products like timbers (real or artificial – your body responds to the fact you can see naturally occurring textures) & stone. These materials trigger physiological responses within us which make us more productive, happier & enable us to produce at a greater level. An interesting study done on the impact of biophilia on the human body & brain (mentioned in the article in greater detail) was in a hospital, where they had one patient room that looked out on a brick wall, and another one identical which looked out on a little scrubby garden. Time after time, the patient that was in the room that had the greenery to see, not an amazing garden but a few scrubby bushes, recovered faster, had less nurse calls & required less pain killers consistently when compared with a patient with a similar illness in the other room. This demonstrates how simple tweaks within a great design can have a powerful impact on our physiological responses, and therefore our output, which is critical to a successful workplace.
Spatial engagement is critical for a present, performing workforce. It involves various factors, such as how the space is laid out, access & pivot points, congregation areas, quiet spaces, where deep thought work can happen and where can collaborative work happen. It also includes design features which may be thought of as just ‘nice to haves’ like murals, feature walls, and colour. Personalised features like these enable people to bond with a space, giving them an identity and a stronger connection & loyalty to the company. Factoring in spatial engagement to your space is the difference between an awesome office and one that leaves you feeling drained and uninspired to work. How a space is perceived when you first enter them, and then their actual physical function.
Ergonomics are often underrated in importance by typical fitout companies. There shouldn’t be a shortfall in ergonomics, as you as an employer, or you as a work leader need to provide for your staff to ensure their wellbeing. People are able to be more productive when they can have their workspace set up, so they don’t get back pain or other issues, and their physical health is being taken care of. It is imperative not to follow the pursuit of aesthetics, resulting in a reduction of ergonomic capacity. You really need to have that embedded into the design at all points. It is critical for staff well being and the overall success of your workplace.
Lighting is key for making the space feel welcoming to work in. There are multiple studies that have been done on different lighting types & temperatures, including Circadian lighting which mimics the sun and how our bodies react to it moving across the sky. These things impact our physiological responses and to the space, and also either makes or breaks the practical usability of the rooms. Getting the lighting right is a crucial aspect of your workplace being a success!