A place to escape

Variety of space has been proven to be conducive to improved productivity and plays a key part in the provision of an all-around better office experience for all employees.

In fact, having space to relax has been cited as a desirable feature in an array of questionnaires and studies related to the work environment. Such places to escape are different from quiet zones – where people can go to work when they need an element of privacy or to concentrate – but equally essential.

Room to relax

Stress is notorious for having a negative impact on both physical and mental health and the elixir is anything that can combat it.

It’s important to be able to break from, and walk away from, mentally exhausting activity, whether it’s work that has required a more intense focus or it’s simply just a case of too much screen time. Either way, there needs to be an alternative, more relaxing space, with a different energy to retreat to.

Many offices plump for breakout areas with casual sitting space to enable workers to move into another area – even if it’s just a few feet away with a different floor covering and seating style. Other businesses have had the scope to allow for dedicated well-being areas in their floor plans, illustrating a more employee-focused style of design that is driven by the team’s best interests.

Intelligent and nurturing design

Big slouchy sofas, areas filled with plants, living walls and water features; all of this makes for a relaxing environment that is gentle on the senses and advocates calm.

Colours, décor and wall art can boost and complement a tranquil setting placing a strong boundary, along with a clear message of what this space is intended to be.

Although relaxing doesn’t have to be just about tranquility. It can be about providing fun and alternative activities as well. The much maligned ping pong table has a place in some environments and there is always call for refreshment stations and communal eating places.

Providing a home from home

There has been a definite move to embrace the style of the boutique hotel and the cutting edge bar or coffee shop when it comes to office design – particularly in the more creative and techy sectors (were the majority of office trends inevitably are hatched).

An artfully created, homely place works well in some environments – again, the slouchy couches, cushions, low table, book shelves and plants; all of these additions can help set the scene and create a warm ambiance that gives a sense of ease.

Space to just be…

And then there are rooms dedicated to napping, meditating and prayer. Also known as recharge zones, they are spaces that recognize that people have different needs.

These electronic-free spaces are quiet and thoughtful environments that are perfect for any sort of mindful activity.

Note that employers are obliged to provide facilities for people of faith to carry out their own specific religious practices. Feet washing facilities, for example, are now often including in the office fit out for corporates and bigger SMEs.

Ultimately, it’s about inclusivity; bringing everyone in so that the general space is one that everyone is comfortable to occupy and belong to.