Winston Churchill was right when more than seventy years ago he observed how buildings shape us as much as we shape them. Neuroscientists and psychologists have now found evidence to prove that user-friendly buildings can have a positive impact on our cognitive abilities. Modern architecture doesn’t confine its scope to designing; it is now a multi-faceted process that draws influence from psychology, sociology, economics, and even politics. Nowhere is the impact more profound than in-office interior architecture and design. Here are a few ways we think office design influences work culture:
Office designs are no longer viewed as a cost; rather they are considered as effective drivers of work culture. Businesses are now using architecture, interior design and even furnishings to improve productivity and increase efficiency. It is also being used to define a company’s work culture. For example, companies that need their staff to be creative have to focus on creating a very flexible environment with a lot of informal group spaces but retain a little-closed space. Case in point: Google. Similarly, companies, where staff have to focus on technical problems need more formal and structured spaces and a less-flexible environment.
Companies that ignore their most important assets are doing so at their peril. You can spend gazillion dollars on product or service innovation, but these advantages are going to be short-lived. Product or service innovation can be copied, but culture cannot be duplicated. Whether consciously or subconsciously, work culture motivates employees to perform and hence evokes strong emotions. Rather than picking functional considerations and one-size-fits-all workstations, it helps when companies understand the image they’d like to project to their staff and prospective clients.
Police forces across the world are discovering the power of pink to calm inmates and curb tempers. For example, Switzerland has initiated the Cool Down Pink project in several Swiss jails. Police forces in the US and Britain are also experimenting with this idea. Pink has the power to subdue aggression in just 15 minutes. And in Phoenix, Arizona, the same color has been used to humiliate inmates when they were forced to wear pink underwear – challenging their masculinity.
Similarly, science has proved that rooms with high ceilings can improve your ability to think spatially and conceptually. But rooms with low ceilings help improve cognitive abilities related to mathematics. For more than 99% of our time on this planet, we’ve lived outside with nature. Scientists have now found that people who can see a tree (or something related to nature) within a 100 feet of their work desk are likely to experience fewer stress levels and improved cognitive abilities. This term is called biophilia and was implemented by architects at the Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston for their brain surgery recovery suite where patients recovered quickly and effectively. At HTS Interiors, we understand that people respond to space and hence help create office spaces that help them work efficiently and productively.
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