Interior and work performance
How can a thoughtful office interior help reduce employee stress?
A number of studies have shown that excess stress at work reduces employees’ work ability and personal effectiveness. The environment we find ourselves in has a profound effect on our emotional and physical state. The tricky thing is that we usually don’t see this effect, we only notice changes in mood or physical condition.
That’s why it’s important to think about the workspace at the interior design stage so that it is as comfortable as possible for the people who work there. In this article, we will discuss the four most important factors that affect us: ergonomics, colours and shapes, potentially distracting elements, and factors that contribute to relaxation and rest.
Ergonomics is all about comfort when working in the office and the associated feeling of security. In practice, this means enough space for each employee, a personal space marked in some way, comfortable tables and chairs, plenty of light and fresh air, and a layout of employees based on their daily communication needs. Work chairs are best placed with a wall or partition behind the worker. The fewer people one has in view, the easier it is to concentrate. Daylight in the office should be used as much as possible.
Colours and shapes
Rich colours and a variety of elements have an energetic and motivating effect on the nervous system and should therefore be used sparingly in the work environment. The same effect has a large number of right and sharp angles, zigzag lines, diamonds and complex forms. Round and oval forms, on the other hand, relax. Optimal preformance is achieved by the correct combination of rounded and straight forms or by organising a rest area in which rounded forms dominate.
Potentially annoying elements
There are a number of factors that can irritate people and lead to their temporary fatigue. These include ambient noise and acoustics, overly bright or uneven light, uncomfortable air temperature, and strong odors. These factors continuously send signals to the nervous system that lead to exhaustion, reduced concentration and work capacity. Many people prefer to listen to music while performing intellectual tasks. Research has shown that this behaviour reduces work productivity, except when music from headphones prevents extraneous noise from penetrating and distracts even more.
Regular rest is essential for good work performance. The interior of the office must contain elements that allow for both short breaks and those that last longer. Short pauses are a chance to look away from the screen, calm down and focus. A view from the window, a painting or photograph of nature, an aquarium or live plants will help you relax right at your desk. For a more effective rest, the best solution will be to allocate a separate room where dimmed light, soft materials and shapes will be used. In this room, it is desirable to avoid saturated colors and visual contrasts. If there is a lack of space, the rest area can be located in the kitchen, in the corridor or in the stairwell, but in any case there should be a place for employees that allows them to change the environment for a few minutes.
Designing the interior of an office in such a way that it has a good effect on employees and possibly also on visitors to the company, increases the motivation of employees and contributes to their satisfaction is one of the most important tasks that a designer solves when designing commercial spaces.