Where office workers would really like to work? Outdoors.

office workers outdoorsLast year, we shared research from Overbury which suggested that what most people really wanted from their offices was for them to be a lot more like Starbucks. Now new research from Steelcase Solutions claims that what people would really like is to be working in bucolic splendour, or at least an indoor approximation of it. The survey of around 800 UK based office workers carried out by IPSOS claims that people would feel more optimistic about their work if natural light, more control of temperatures and informal, dynamic spaces were core elements of their working environments, which coincidentally are also important factors in fostering wellness and productivity. In addition, the authors of the report  claim that more offices in future will apply biophilic design principles to offer staff a daily glimpse (or illusion) of the great outdoors. The survey claims that the three things which workers feel would make a difference to their working life are:

  • More natural light
  • Better temperature control
  • More informal areas and better use of their office space

Jacqui Withnell, Business Development Director of Steelcase Solutions said: “Employees’ sense of wellbeing is of paramount importance to them today – and the businesses they work for. Working in a fast, complex, technology-dominated world has meant that the environment people work in has become so much more important to them.” Research carried out for Clerkenwell Design Week by Steelcase, the parent company of Steelcase Solutions, has found that there are six dimensions to consider when planning for wellbeing within the workplace:

  • Optimism (allowing choice, personalization and control)
  • Mindfulness (offering calming places that encourage interaction)
  • Authenticity (creating informal, non-restrictive environments)
  • Belonging (welcoming and well-equipped spaces)
  • Meaning (aligning workers with a vision through space)
  • Vitality (supporting active, healthy lifestyles with movement and visibility)

The report goes on to suggest that “one element which is conducive to wellbeing in the working environment is the beneficial effects of contact with nature. In modern office design, Biophilia, the human desire to connect with nature is also one of the trends identified by consumer and design trends analysts Scarlet Opus for future workspaces.  Rather than take the workers to green spaces, green spaces will be incorporated into the offices of the future.  Buildings such as the ‘Plantascraper’ in Sweden, ‘Bosco Verticale’ in Milan and ‘ParkRoyal’ in Singapore are examples of this growing trend in architecture.“