Flooding workplaces with natural light has two primary benefits:
1. Power costs savings: Tremendous savings in the monthly power bill is seen, especially in regions and during seasons which sees a lot of sunlight.
2. Staff feels better: This is not often spoken about, but scientifically it has been shown that the body and mind works better if it is in sync with the time of the day.
Different strategies can be adopted to get natural light inside the workplace, a few popular ones being:
a) Large windows with retractable blinds/curtains: Blinds and curtains should be adjustable to allow the right amount of light in.
b) Light reflectors: Reflectors in sequence, often placed near the ceiling, can help get natural light in to zones far from the building perimeter.
c) Lighter colours: Using lighter colours inside the workplace, allows light to bounce off easily and spread across a larger area.
We have seen boardrooms of all sizes, shapes, colours and design. Some are traditional with heavy woodwork and some are contemporary with light furniture, and many in-between. The boardroom reflects the essence of the organisation and thus designs vary from organisation to organisation. However, when it comes to finishes, a few basic pointers can be helpful.
1. Go soft: Boardrooms play host to both confidential as well as heated professional arguments. Sound-proofing a boardroom is a must-do; the use of sound absorbing, soft materials is a good idea. For example, one can use fabric panelling on the walls, and carpeting on the floor. An excess of glossy surfaces may play havoc with the acoustics.
2. Black out blinds: Presentations over an audio visual system are common in boardrooms. It is a good idea to have blinds or curtains which have th
e ability to block out the light for the sake of good quality visuals.
3. Comfortable chairs: This is where the board will meet; so invest in some good chairs. Whilst the colour and finish need to be in sync with the rest of the finishes, soft chairs are recommended to bring in comfort in an otherwise serious atmosphere.
In a world where we are connected to people across the globe through social networks, people often end up checking their smartphones for status updates during dates and in office meetings. While the verdict is not yet out on where this is leading the human race socially, it has become increasingly important to provide spaces in our workplaces to connect the ‘unplugged way’.
Social areas in our workplaces are zones where staff engages in casual interactions, and some even ‘not so casual’ ones. In the conventional workplace design, such interactions usual happen in the cafeteria or near the water cooler. Today, organisations and designers are increasingly looking at creating new zones where robotic staff can feel human.
Break out zones, lounges, library, meditation room, gym, transition zones are a few examples of where staff gets a chance to meet each other and exchange casual conversation. A few advantages of such spaces are:
1. Team building: Staff not only gets to meet other staff from the same team, but also staff from other teams. This contributes towards building a more cohesive organisation.
2. Motivation: Providing more than work desks itself can be a motivator. Providing lively spaces to interact with fellow human beings, each of who has ideas to share, is a great motivator. It often helps in bringing in pride of ownership amongst staff.
3. Breeds creativity: Doing routine stuff often blocks the mind. Social spaces allow staff to even work differently, with some organisations even allowing laptops in such zones. Even otherwise, taking one’s eyes off the computer screen and spending a few minutes in an interesting surrounding is said to breed creativity, thus making staff more creative.