The Impact of Office Interior Design on Employees Performance

“For something so desirable, comfort can unfortunately be a unclear concept.”

The room that makes one person put on a sweater can make another wish they were in shorts, and some people focus better in contemplative silence while others need ear-splitting music simply to get motivated.

In these differences, however, is the seed to understanding the nature of comfort in office interior design: that it is phenomenological. Our interface to the world is through our senses: touch, sight, hearing, smell, and taste. Each one of these senses can lead to a greater or lesser degree of comfort and they can act independently or in their performance. For instance, our sensation of cold can be so overwhelming that we literally shut down our bodily functions, yet at other times we will tolerate discomfort for a pleasurable experience, such as standing in the rain and mud for a concert. Indeed we are more likely to be in agreement on the absence of comfort.

The purpose of this office interior design blog is to serve as an outline to organizations’ interest in the impact of the physical workplace environment on key performance drivers and their insights.

Office Interior Design for Employee Performance

To this end, I will consider:

• Key themes concerning the impact of place on the performance of people

• Work space design approaches

• Work space bench marking approaches

• Technology-driven advances People, place and performance

In a similar way to employees’ capability or their workplace equipment, the physical workplace environment contributes to the organization and quality of work. In this sense, it is a work ‘tool’, but it is also connected to employee motivation, performance, satisfaction and engagement. To segregate the consequences of the workplace environment alone on its users and therefore on the performance of the organization, is difficult. However, our sense of ‘space’, or ‘office interior design’ is connected to our sense of ‘self’ – the way we feel, behave, perform, react, respond and interact – and so by extension to the progress of individuals in the workplace and the performance of their organization.

By way of example, consider how a reduction in the surface area of desk space available to an individual may diminish their flexibility at work. The individual may perceive this desk space reduction as a worsening of their conditions, an indication of a diminution in the value attached to them by the organization. It may result in reduced satisfaction at work, lower motivation and individual performance. While the direct impact of such a change in the physical environment on the performance of the organization may be difficult to measure, its impact at least on employee satisfaction is within easier grasp.

The example above focuses on just one specific aspect of the physical workplace environment among others that feature significantly, for example: the degree to which one is able to personalize the workplace environment or control aspects such as lighting and temperature, see outside, see nature or receive natural light.

A complex and direct factor of employee satisfaction with indirect impacts on individual progress and collective performance, the physical workplace environment is much more than a cost. It is part of the organizational value creation model and should be considered as a resource or an asset whose value can be maintained or grown. With this in mind, I will consider the importance attached to different features of the workplace physical environment by design approaches.

A complex and direct factor of employee satisfaction with indirect impacts on individual progress and collective performance, the physical workplace environment is much more than a cost. It is part of the organizational value creation model and should be considered as a resource or an asset whose value can be maintained or grown. With this in mind, I will consider the importance attached to different features of the workplace physical environment by design approaches.

Work-space design approaches:

Much of the thinking and literature on the impact of the physical workplace environment is the product of organizations such as Ciao Green Pvt Ltd office interior design, architecture, engineering and planning as well as brand design, consulting, interior design and urban design, product design, endurance. Our different approaches provide insight into how we understand the physical workplace environment’s impact on key performance drivers.

A well-being approach:

We focuses on physical workplace design that promotes choice and control over how and where employees work. The aim of this approach is to make employees feel empowered, engaged, and to reduce stress. It comprises six ‘dimensions’ of ‘worker well being’ that are underpinned by physical workplace environment design considerations to support performance drivers:

The other end of the telescope:

We believes that a ‘thoughtful’ knowledge economy workplace can support employee performance based on three factors drawn from the field of organizational psychology:

  • ability – whether a person can do a task

  • motivation – a measure of whether a person wants to do it

  • opportunity – which is about accessibility to the right workplace conditions and environment

In this approach, health and wellbeing are ‘collateral’ benefits of ten fundamental workplace environment design elements to support work:

  • Thermal Comfort – the right combination of temperature, airflow and humidity

  • Access to nature, views and daylight – people generally prefer to be surrounded by nature, which provides endless sources of variation and sensory change. It is important to replicate the instinctive bond between humans and other living systems in interior environments.

  • Sensory change and variability – a lack of visual stimulation during the day can dull the senses and affect a worker’s ability to stay alert. Access to daylight, window views to the outdoors, materials selected with sensory experience in mind (touch, visual change, color, pleasant sounds and odors), spatial variability, change in lighting levels, use of highlights, and moderate levels of visual complexity can help to avoid this.

  • Color – perceptions of color vary according to culture and life experiences. However, there are some generalizations about how color is likely to be perceived, either overtly or subliminally, in the workplace. Choice of color can be used to support, accuracy, focus, energy levels, calm.

  • Noise control – noise can enable or disable productivity, depending on individual preferences and the type of work being done. The key is the ability to control exposure to noise.

  • Crowding – feelings of being crowded are often associated with stressed and affect workplace satisfaction. Perceptions of space and feelings of being crowded vary by cultural background, individual preferences and gender.

  • Human factors / ergonomics – this is an area of workplace psychology that focuses on a range of topics including workplace safety, the incidence of human error, product design, human capability and human-computer interaction.

  • Indoor air quality – a factor of good health which has a direct impact on key performance drivers.

  • Choice – the opportunity to use work-spaces suited to different modes of work such as focused concentration or collaboration

  • Employee engagement – there is a direct link with worker satisfaction and it affects innovation and productivity.

Looking to The Future:

Much of the activity that is carried out in the physical workplace environment is about communication – whether in person, by phone or online – and this communication is thought by many to be a key factor of progress for individuals and the performance of organizations. Modern technology is providing new data-based ways to monitor actual communication behavior without recourse to surveys and the subjective perceptions of respondents. For example, wearable electronic sensing devices are already capable of:

  • capturing face-to-face interactions

  • extracting social signals from speech and body movement

  • measuring proximity and location of users

When combined with network analytics and indicators of organizational performance, such technology is already helping organizations determined to understand in greater depth the keys to physical workplace environment design in terms of density, proximity of people and social nature.

Inference

The physical workplace environment is intimately linked to other dimensions of Quality of Life such as social interaction, the ease and efficiency with which people carry out work activities, and their health and well-being. The links are so numerous and varied that it is difficult to measure directly the physical workplace environment’s impact on performance, though worker satisfaction can give useful indications.

With this in mind, we use different approaches such as worker well-being, organizational psychology, and the essence of different workplace activities to shed light on the link between the environments they influence and the performance of organizations. A combination of health and well-being and performance drivers such as worker motivation, satisfaction and engagement are found in stand-alone benchmarks which include facilities services.

To some, the key to performance is found in communication or social interaction. Recourse to a combination of modern technology and big data is allowing organizations to focus their attention on actual rather than reported behavior in their bids to design spaces to produce specific performance outcomes.

Given the rich and diverse discourse evidenced by this blog here, there are good reasons to consider that far from being a mere ‘cost’, the physical workplace (An Office Interior Design) environment is a remarkable multi-lever driver of an individual, team and company performance.