If you work in an office, you will likely spend upwards of 80,000 hours of your life in that space. That’s a staggeringly high percentage of your life to be in one place! Considering such a large proportion of our time is spent working, it’s unusual that we don’t take more time to ponder over our working environment, particularly how the building we occupy affects us personally. Despite the time you’ve spent in your office, you’ve likely not consciously thought about the building you work in.
However, despite this consideration not being deliberate, we do subconsciously experience some level of impact from the buildings around us. To prove this, as a simple exercise, which adjectives come to mind when you think about your office cubicle? Perhaps you think of words like clutter, cramped or claustrophobic. Now think about your office building as a whole. Do you come up with words like creepy, dark, or imposing? Maybe you think of open, light, or modernistic? Whichever adjective came into your mind, it proves an important point: we are affected by the building we work in, by the style of our workplace. Shifting attitudes about work and working models have pushed many employees to rethink their buildings in order to prove they care about their employees. After years of forced working at home, many may feel reluctant to go back to the office but the encouragement to bring people back to one communal area can be enhanced with some improvements to the working environment.
Changing Culture Makes for Changing Architecture.
In the past, the working chain of command was evident in the structure of the building. Members within the managerial teams wanted to remain imposing and aloof, and as result chose to have secluded offices with physically elevated working spaces. Legal professionals in particular worked in lavish, luxurious private rooms in line with an age-old Dickensian look.
These days, employers want to break down barriers instead of erecting them. They endeavour to create working areas that encourage cooperation and imagination, with members of various working ranks feeling comfortable to work together. Legal professionals want to emit a feeling of transparency and honesty, with illuminated, open plan spaces creating a more relaxed and freer environment. Since the sense of sight is the most dominant sense, modern workplace designs are endeavouring to make the most of this by allowing employees to see each other through open offices.
Going Back to Nature
During the pandemic, as life slower down and the simple things grew in importance, many recognised the need to reconnect with nature. We innately want to be open spaces, amongst beautiful scenery, listening to the sound of trickling water under the dappled light of tree branches. Through all of history, our cultural, religious and social interactions have shown our inherent desire to connect with the natural world and this is being channelled into the modern office designs. Beautiful murals on the ceilings of ancient buildings, with the frescos of the Italian Renaissance are prevalent in architectural history, connecting the confinement of a building with the openness of the heavens above.
Balancing Beauty and Design
While the goal is to create beautiful buildings, these imaginative creations need to be backed by the engineering infrastructure to support them. Industry experts like Western Industrial specialise in helping businesses to bring their visions to life by giving them the tools they need to create ceilings of real character. Working buildings can be practical without being bland, they can be useful while also being aesthetically attractive. This thought is not all vanity, as it conveys a valuable message to employees and customers.