Within our culture we have a tendency to prioritise sight over the other five senses - aesthetics is everything and we make an almost instantaneous judgement on people, and places, based upon looks. But to neglect the other four senses, those of hearing, taste, smell and touch, is to miss out on aspects of office design that could help your workers be more productive.
How do we include all of the senses, not only that of sight, when we are designing working environments?
Hearing: We have several dedicated blog posts discussing the affect that office noise can have upon your workforce, and it is a subject that needs addressing in any commercial environment. Too much noise can cause concentration to wane and stress levels to increase, so what and how much noise people hear at work has to be addressed as integral to a great office design.
Taste: Perhaps not immediately obvious as the sense that needs tackling within your commercial design, taste still has a role to play within the structure of your work place. Nutrition can play an integral role in achieving positive interactions between your employees. Having areas where your workforce can come together to eat and drink enables staff members who may not ordinarily mingle to mix and exchange ideas.
Smell: Implicitly linked with taste, smell also has a role to play. An office that smells of wonderful, home cooked food may get your workers coming together, but a work place that smells awful will put people off their work. Smells are subjective, what one person likes another will despise, so careful planning is required here. If your office is situated right next to a fast food chain or on a busy road you will need to think about ways of preventing the unwanted smells affecting your staff.
Touch: Getting your office furniture right involves the look, the function, and the feel. Have you ever come across a magnificent mahogany desk and just had to run your hand over the surface? Then there are those awful cheap office chairs that you either gut stuck to in hot weather or come away with bits of the seat attached to your clothing. Your workers may be sat down for the majority of their working day so make sure you give them chairs and desks that feel as good as they look.
Great design is never just about how something looks, and by thinking about the other four senses you will be well on your way to creating a commercial environment your employees will enjoy working in.