Office is your second home, and for some people it is a home away from home. Sometimes, we spend more time in our office than at home. It is more so if one considers the commuting time to and fro from office, especially in congested cities like Bengaluru and Mumbai.
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Design should not make offices floodlit caves but turn it into temple of creativity, ideas and performance. Exposure to natural daylight is always best and helps to get best out of employees. If natural light is not available, different light during different times of the day help to keep the employee performance better. It is found that bluish light in the morning, and warmer yellowish light in the afternoon can have almost the similar impact as the natural lights.
Just as natural light, fresh air is also important. An office without proper ventilation can turn employees sick and may lead to higher absenteeism. Studies have shown that people in properly ventilated buildings do twice as well on tests of cognitive performance and decision-making as those in poorly ventilated buildings.
The concept biophilic design is now-a-days becoming very popular in office design. The concept is based on the belief that human beings by nature love to be near to the nature and natural things. Proponents of biophilic design say that to be called green, a building needs to do more than just use energy efficiently and have a minimal carbon footprint. As most of the people spend at least one-third of their day in office, it should be designed in a health-promoting way. This can be achieved whether the office has cafeteria, gym, helath club, etc or not. Also remember that the best ideas come when we least expect it, and when we are relaxed.
Remember, most of the time you spend remaining indoors – whether at home or office. So, an office design should be ideally use principles of natural design to help bring the health benefits of the outdoors indoors. It doesn’t mean that office should be full of planted green walls and a wealth of natural materials. Utility of a matured and creative designer comes into play here.
Researches reveal that stress level of a person goes up when he spends most of his time in office cubicle which is artificially lit and is deprived of natural views. Poor ventilation, which is the case with most of the offices, raises the levels of carbon dioxide, and dampens the mood of the employee which will eventually impact his productivity.
Therefore, an ideal design should take into account natural requirements of the human body which can keep the employee motivated, lively and healthy too with no or less stress. It should help him to leave the office in the evening the same way he entered it in the morning (assuming that he enters the office with full of happiness). Day-lit offices with expansive views of the outdoors and enough greenery is an ideal place to work.
For plain eyes, such designs may appear expensive but they will go a long way to lower absenteeism, improve productivity and lift the morale of the workforce. Indirect benefits which may not be directly visible far outweigh the cost incurred in designing such offices. Lower attrition rate and higher ‘presenteeism’ will be direct benefits of well-designed offices.