Given the amount of time spent in our offices, it makes sense to create spaces we truly enjoy being in. Since offices hold a large variety of items, selecting a style can help unify the space and reduce visual chaos. In this post we’ll consider furniture, soft furnishings and lighting.
Natural wood is an age-old favourite for office furniture. Available in a wide range of finishes, it adds warmth to any space from traditional to contemporary.
Most factory finished surfaces are durable and ready to stand up to daily use. Laminated surfaces are scratch resistant, easy to clean and come in a variety of colours.
Metal and glass combinations offer clean lines and provide a more industrial look. Carefully consider the placement of glass pieces as they reflect light which could be distracting. Glass is susceptible to showing finger prints and streaks which could be aggravating and it also offers no place for electrical cords to hide. Cordless computer peripherals and cable management systems will help avoid a cluttered desk area especially if you select a transparent top.
A hot trend right now is the combination of light coloured wood and metal shelving, tables and desks. When kitting out your office, try and purchase all the pieces you think you will need for the space at one time to avoid being disappointed later if items are discontinued or colours change.
In addition to making an office appearance more textured, comfortable, and inviting, soft furnishings such as carpet and draperies or blinds also dampen sound. In a noisy office environment this will help people avoid distractions and maintain focus on their work. Consider durable, easy-to-clean, natural fabrics.
If you will be rolling chairs or filing carts, keep carpet pile low so wheels roll freely. Make sure rug edges won’t get caught in the wheels.
In every office space, you will want to consider natural, ambient, and task lighting.
Fluorescent lights provide light with no shadows however they can cause fatigue because they don’t display the full spectrum provided by sunlight. Light from the full spectrum helps set our circadian rhythm. Without this, we can feel like we’ve spent the whole day in the dark. Change old bulbs as soon as they flicker to avoid additional fatigue.
Incandescent lamps or ceiling fixtures provide warmer ambient light and can be placed on dimmers for control. Halogen up-lights also do a good job. LED lights are becoming more powerful but so far have not been as strong as other lights.
For task lights, consider a full-spectrum light on an adjustable neck so you can focus it where you’re working. Place the lamp on the same side as your non-dominant hand to avoid casting shadows on your writing.
What makes your office comfortable and inspiring? Mine includes two bright orange bookcases and a circular rug in orange and fuchsia. Hmmm, wonder where I got that colour scheme…
PRODUCTIVITY TRUTH: Given the amount of time spent in our offices, create a space you truly enjoy being in.