As we adjust to the new Covid era, modern offices have another very important role – tempting scared people to come back to work in them.
A recent survey by the business group London First found many companies say fewer than 20% of staff want to return now.
Set against that, lots of people are fed up with working at home. Bored by tiring Zoom calls, they want to meet with colleagues to share ideas. And they’d like to have a work-life divide again, rather than being ‘on’ all the time at home.
So what kind of spaces should we be designing as we all slowly return to the new normal?
One easy win is to have more plants around the place. Studies suggest employees are 15% more productive when workplaces are filled with plants. Place just one plant per square metre, and employee performance on memory retention and other basic tests improves substantially.
The findings are borne out by the International WELL Building Institute (IWBI), which says people who work in spaces with natural features report 15% higher levels of overall wellbeing, 6% more productivity and 15% more creativity. It recommends optimising employees' emotional health by creating collaborative spaces, areas to relax and de-stress, adding plants, living walls or flower gardens and rooftop patios or staff gardens
These views don’t surprise us. Here at Kinley, we’ve helped many clients design office spaces that bring out the best in the workforce so we know greenery and natural features such as light and air are features that work every time.
Take 8 Salisbury Square, a prestigious commercial property, providing 155,000 sq ft of private office space in central London. Set over 10 floors, there are six spectacular terraces with extensive views across the city.
The impressive outside areas were designed for team activity and downtime to support staff wellbeing, and required a high-quality floor covering.
We recommended a Versijack substructure, along with our ever-popular Raaft joist to easily fit Terrafina decking boards on top using the simple clip and clamp system. It works like a treat.
On another project, in nearby Chancery Lane, we helped install large terrace spaces, supplying non-slip, low maintenance decking boards, as well as 6mm thick planters and plants that were suitable for a high-rise area. The design also called for interesting ways to maximise seating space for staff, which resulted in cantilever benches fixed to planter walls in stylish, hardwearing iroko timber.
Kinley’s bespoke planters and cantilever benches fit together seamlessly, and our Terrafina composite decking system was easily installed using the pedestals and rails. With high-sided planters to mark out green planted areas with walkways, the overall result is a characterful meeting, eating, relaxation, creative and entertaining breakout space in the heart of London.
For many more ideas on how to create office spaces that bring out the best in people, do talk to our technical team at Kinley.
They’re every bit as knowledgeable and enthusiastic about landscaping and urban design as you are, and their experience and advice comes for free.
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