In Gensler’s 2020 Work From Home Survey, they found 74% of people want to return to the office because they miss being with other people. Besides maintaining workplace friendships, this Boston Globe article suggests having a hybrid workplace may not last because of it can inhibit productivity and team belonging. The workplace is meant to be a uniquely intentional space for both productivity and personal connection.
The full ramifications of a global pandemic on our work and community spaces will not be completely understood for some time. As of now, we do know that our priority needs to focus on the health of those in our community. It is vital re-entry into the workplace needs to address wellness holistically.
In order to create the best solution that incorporates healthy and helpful concepts, the Facilitec team led by Lashan Binion, WELL AP provides insight into designing an environment that inspires through experience with the 5 senses: sight, touch, taste, smell and sound. Here’s how you can add elements of each.
With minor adjustments to the floor plan, you can enhance outdoor views and access to daylight. Adding natural materials, textures, plants, etc. can create an inviting and relaxing aesthetic.
In addition to incorporating nature inspired textures, touch can also relate to creating connection. Develop a layout with a more organic orientation and grouped in neighborhoods. We recommend zero touch technology for high use handles, knobs, and pulls for overall safety and health.
Throughout your space, you should have moments of pause and connection. These areas can hold healthy individually wrapped snacks and beverages to promote health. This is also an opportunity to provide access to touch free clean water dispensers.
Beverages like coffee provide the sense of taste and smell. Your same snack areas can incorporate coffee stations that create a stimulating olfactory experience. Adding plants throughout the space can also contribute to the sense of smell. These not only help to naturally cleanse the air, but also generate increased oxygen and create lightly diverse scents.
Decreasing sound disruption is vitally important for mental health and productivity. Spacing out the workstations, creating quiet/solitude spaces, and incorporating more sound absorption dividers are strategies to creating a comfortable auditory environment. To promote a positive auditory experience we propose calming sounds in rest areas, sound masking, and a water feature.
As you see, incorporating the five senses addresses wellness holistically, while also providing an environment people feel safe coming back to after working from home.
Are you interested in seeing different applications of these senses in a real work environment? Download our case study that about how one existing space can be transformed with updated trends and research to create a healthy, engaging and inviting environment for the return of your onsite staff.
About the Contributor:
Information and content provided by Lashan Binion, WELL AP, Facilitec Workplace Design Strategist.