Why is Office Architecture Important?
Offices are traditionally thought to be any empty space that can contain desks and chairs with little thought going into their design. In modern times, people now realise that a carefully designed office space has huge benefits for employers and employees alike. The old saying of a happy worker is a hard worker is true and the environment in which they work is an important factor in determining their happiness. A well designed office space can boost motivation while poorly designed spaces can inspire loss of drive and can make tasks seem more difficult.
Workspace design clearly affects human behaviour so creating the best environment for workers and for the work they do, is imperative.
As offices are typically places where people spend a majority of the workday, designs that make a space feel more open and natural help people feel more comfortable to remain in a location day after day. Moving away from the old designs of dull small cubicles and artificial lighting. Reducing background noise and adding natural light helps reduce negative psychological effects such as stress while improving motivation and enjoyment. Large open spaces with plenty of natural lighting are a common part of modern office architectural design. Natural light can be extended into the interior of a building with glass partitions, skylights and even the planned locations of reflective surfaces.
There are many factors which influence office design such as the function of the office. For example, does the office have visiting clients, patients, business partners/investors etc. If so, there may be a need for guest waiting areas, meeting rooms, public washrooms, security features, floorplans with simple navigation and possibly a large hosted reception area.
Other factors to consider are noise transfer and infrastructure. If clients visit the office space to discuss sensitive topics or if the employees are on phones, open concept spaces may not be as suitable as noise between spaces is not restricted.
For employees, making a separate break area is important so that they can get away from their workspace. If the option exists, an outdoor space with seating and tables help employees unwind and take a break in a different environment without needing to go far from the office.
Offices requiring heavy use of computer equipment may need to incorporate server rooms with specialised communication, power and ventilation design considerations.
Interior Office Design
The interior design and decoration of the office is as important as the spatial design. Light penetrating deep into the interior of an office space will illuminate the area amplifying various colours/materials on walls, floors, art and plants. In spaces where natural daylight cannot reach, artificial daylight coloured diffused upward lighting helps give a feeling of natural light by illuminating the ceiling. As an added benefit, this prevents the reflection of ceiling lights off computer screens.
Acoustics are affected by surrounding materials where soft materials tend to absorb sound where solid flat surfaces tend to reflect it. In an office where employees use phones frequently, acoustics could become a problem if the space is not designed to deal with it. Populating the area with soft furniture, floor mats, wall art and wood finishings can help reduce ambient noise and prevent acoustic interference for employees using phones. Another thing to consider with acoustics is to ensure privacy is maintained when using transparent partitions or any other material.
Benefits of Architectural Office Design
Although incorporating as many of the general design characteristics to an office will make the space a great place to work, it is always best to talk to the employees and find out how office design impacts them and what they do. In doing so, an architect can build in design features to make the office workspace as efficient as possible. Making an employee's job as easy as possible improves productivity, eases stress and improves the working environment for all.
Office Architecture by Ian Moxon Architect Inc.
Ian Moxon Architect Inc. provide office architecture services across Canada. With decades of experience and an expert team, we can design the perfect office space for you and your business.