Does the design of your office affect the mood of your employees? The Wall Street Journal and NPR recently reported on research studies conducted by a variety of institutions that support an answer of "yes" to architecture and design not only influencing our mood, but also our thoughts and our health.
I've been an interior designer for more than 25 years, and I live for this type of information. Our job as designers is to translate this research evidence into the design solutions we develop for our clients each day - creating a smarter office space that helps them to achieve their unique goals. The news coverage got me thinking of examples of how our team has utilized research evidence in recent office designs.
The Impact of Color
Research: Red environments have proven effective for employees that require a high level of accuracy and attention to detail while blue environments show stronger results for supporting creativity. (Source: University of British Columbia)
GS&P recently used this research evidence when developing a design solution for CSX. The company was relocating more than 800 of their Technology and Intermodal employees (leaders when it comes to safe operations) to a newly leased office space in downtown Jacksonville. Understanding the influence of color, our team designed the space using a lively rich and warm color palette infused with red - a color supportive of the attention-heavy job requirements. Complementing colors to red are used to reinforce one of CSX's primary corporate colors, rich yellow (used as the "CSX" on engines and box cars). This color palette allows for the integration of images from their internal photo gallery to be used throughout the office space to further reinforce CSX's core values to the workforce on a daily basis.
Open vs. Closed Environments
Research: Open-plan offices have been found to have positive effects including increased employee communication, interaction and flexibility. (Source: Knoll)
With our own firm's focus on employee creativity and collaboration, recent design improvements for our office space in Jacksonville include the absence of walls between the workstations which fosters collaboration and enhances the design experience. Designers can communicate spontaneously, resolving problems quickly and examining issues from unexpected points of view. This exciting exchange of ideas creates a buzz of activity during all stages of the design process. And, by locating the private offices on the center core of the building with studio spaces along the windows, 95% of employees have access to daylight.
Is the design of your office space having a positive effect on your employees? How are you using research evidence to support your design decisions?