4 Design Innovations to Improve Workplace Satisfaction

Below you will find a great article about how to design for today’s office environment.  S Interior Design is currently working on a project for a company who has obviously read the research.  We are opening the work space up while still providing some privacy, and have added a communal break room- kitchen.  Here is a sneak peak of the break room design in progress


4 Design Innovations to Improve Workplace Satisfaction

Henry Ford’s assembly line and Robert Propst’s cubicle were groundbreaking innovations aimed at increasing productivity in the workplace. While productivity is still one of the critical success factors in a work environment, many major companies have been shifting away from industrial designs towards the type of office that promotes employee satisfaction. The idea is simple: a happy workplace will attract top recruits, improve employee retention, and ultimately allow employers to build an efficient and cohesive workplace.
How does that work? Simply put, happy workers are more productive than their unhappy peers, and there’s now quantitative evidence to back up this claim. Economic researchers in the UK and Germany recently conducted a study revealing that happy people are 10-12% more productive than unhappy or emotionally neutral people.

The truth is, top companies recognized the importance of happy employees well before the results of this study came in. Many businesses have discovered that happy employees are more focused, get more work done, take fewer sick days, and stay at the company premises for longer. With that in mind, tech giants such as Google and entertainment leaders such as Pixar have introduced all kinds of in-office perks, including fitness centers, game rooms, and cafes with gourmet food.
Of course, you don’t have to allot an enormous budget for extravagant perks to boost employee happiness in the workplace. Here are 4 ideas to improve worker satisfaction and productivity through the layout of your office, with minimum investment.

Adjustable Workstations

In their 2013 Workplace Survey, Harvard Business Review found that workers whose employers gave them greater autonomy were more likely to be satisfied at work, perform better, and view their employers as more innovative than other industry competitors.
One easy way to give employees greater autonomy is to let them work from adjustable workstations. For example, Facebook lets employees at their headquarters adjust the height, layout, and configuration of their desks to create their optimal workspace. So it’s okay if you feel most productive and energetic working at a standing desk station all day, while your coworker does best with a seated corner desk – Facebook is happy to accommodate both of you.

Individual departments within Facebook are also able to rearrange their desks whenever they need to. If the marketing team needs to have a brainstorming session, they can easily circle their desks up in the center of the room, then move them back against the wall when they need to focus on individual projects. This freedom to create the ideal workspace improves employee happiness and productivity.

Rotating Seating Chart

In a medium or large office, it’s all too easy for employees to become isolated within their department or even their immediate seating area. Research has shown that a worker’s immediate neighbors account for 40-60% of their interactions throughout the day, meaning that there’s frequently a disconnect between employees who aren’t geographically close together.
To improve company culture and encourage greater connectivity, some companies, such as inbound marketing specialist HubSpot, have adopted a rotating seating chart every six to eight months. Shifting the seat locations around gives employees the opportunity to get to know more people and to collaborate with people outside of their department. It also gives employers a chance to rearrange employees with work style and personality in mind, so that there are no major office clashes.

A Central Atrium


The Pixar headquarters have a large, central atrium with bathrooms and a cafeteria set far apart from the work spaces. Their goal is to promote connections between workers in different departments and to encourage new ideas from casual conversations. While not every business has the building space to create this kind of grand atrium, smaller businesses can still set up a central space, such as a break room, for employees from across departments to meet in a relaxed environment.

Distraction-Free Workspaces

While the open-office layout has become the overwhelming trend in the US (70% of all offices in America now have an open-floor plan), some employees find this collaborative environment distracting and need privacy to be able to focus on their work tasks. Businesses that use an open-office layout can provide this by setting up areas that are blocked from the main floor. Even companies that don’t want to add walls can resort to couches, bookshelves, desks, and moveable walls to set up an area for employees who are happier and more productive when they’re not in a sea of people.
The key to designing any workspace is to take into account the individual preferences of employees. There can be many different work styles within a single workplace, and the more flexible companies are in catering to those different styles, the more productive and happy their employees will be.

About the Author
Lynne Lemieux, Founder and President of Alliance Interiors Inc., has devoted more than 20 years of experience developing and implementing growth opportunities for some of Canada’s leading office furniture dealers. Her ability to provide clients with inspiring and versatile interior solutions for both business and home office environments has garnered her title of Aboriginal Business Woman of the Year in the city of Toronto for 2012. In her spare time, Lynne takes an active interest in politics, public speaking, and philanthropy, but also enjoys gardening, interior decorating, cooking, yoga, and traveling.



5 Home Office-Small Office Design Ideas

More and more of us are spending time at WORK in our home offices (or away from home).  The lines are blurred between work and play and our office spaces need to support functionality AND comfort and even a bit of fun.  The guest post below highlights 5 uniquely designed office spaces.  One is sure to hit your personal ‘sweet spot’ of what you would want your office space to look and feel like.  Of particular interest to S Interior Design is The Pod, and the Rooftop Office.

Modern and Contemporary

Office Design

If you prefer the minimal look and would like a crisp white office with a difference then add a splash of green and enjoy the twist!

All draws come with reversible fronts in a choice of colours and effects including striking lime green and traditional beech. Plus you can design your cube bookcases using the same interchangeable door fronts.

View the full range of office furniture and accessories at Viking from £49.99.

Comfy Cozy

comfy office 2

If you like your home comforts and prefer to feel at home in your office then this traditional office décor may suit your style. Everything about this space says “comfort” from the dim lighting to quality wooden furniture.

The office looks busy yet homely and is perfect for those homeowners put-off by minimal and new-age designs. Avoid the clinical look and opt for a more cosy office look for the winter months.

Designed by Willman Interiors.

Warm and light

warm office 3

This room is bright, light and great for both desktop working and chilling in your break.

The plentiful storage space guarantees to keep your desk free from clutter and makes you want to work from home! Add quirky pieces and wall fixtures like inspiring pictures or quotes for encouragement too.

Keep bang on trend with designer pieces such as Verner Panton’s S Chair and add a touch of modern glamour to your warm interior design.

Designed by O’Hara Interiors.

The Pod

pod office 4

When your home is overcrowded with your partner, room-mates, kids and pets it’s sometimes nice to get away from it all to concentrate on work.

Thankfully, the Office Pod is here to help and advertises itself as a great way to “separate your office from the home; an easy to construct shelter that provides both style and functionality”. Although quite a tight fit, you will comfortably squeeze everything you need to work from home in one compact booth.

Read the full story.

Rooftop space

rooftop office 5

Although the English weather doesn’t usually permit it, the Royal Horticultural Society made a rooftop workplace perfect for the summer months.

Sponsored by RBS, the modern design from Patricia Fox was inspired by the abundance of underused roof space in London’s most popular business districts.

The ‘office garden’ has various sections depending on staff needs; hanging chairs for making calls and browsing the net, a “pick your own herbal tea bar” for thirsty office workers and a canopy complete with projection screen for conference calls and presentations.

Read more about Patricia’s designs here.

6 Eco-Friendly Options 4 The Office

I am pleased to share a wonderful blog post from a guest blogger Angela Taylor a blogger and aspiring designer.   While there is a lot of information focusing on green/eco-friendly options for the home, this is a wonderful focused look at what we can do specifically for our home or small office spaces in that regard.  Take a read and implement some of the great ideas!

Bamboo Dry Erase


6 Simple Eco-Friendly Elements for a Visually Striking Home Office

Green products for an environmentally-friendly work environment

The home office combines your professional and personal life—so it should, rightly so, be a reflection of you. Unfortunately, the home office is usually an after-thought and designated to a corner in your kitchen or living room. If you’re concerned about the environment, there are green products that you can incorporate into your home office to make it more environmentally friendly and more visually appealing as well. Considering this home office will be where you spend the majority of your day, it would make sense to make it as comfortable, functional and attractive as possible.

Here are our 6 simple Eco-friendly product recommendations for a visually pleasing home office that you can get inspired in:

1. Eco-friendly wall décor: Green wall décor is offered in various patterns and textures—plus it’s better for your health than conventional wallpapers that can contain chemicals. Look into attractive wall décor and coverings like:

  • Glass whiteboards—or glass dry erase boards provide a natural and safe surface for brainstorming
  • Eco-friendly wallpaper— made from natural renewable bamboo, rice paper, flax, cork, arrowroot and a mish-mash of recycled papers
  • Reed, cattail and paper weave murals—make beautiful wall décor with delicate dried leaves and natural grasses twisted together and making unique wall art
  • Ceramic and mica photo frames—are constructed from natural sands in the soil and formed into a beautiful variety of colors and sizes

2. Recycled office furniture: You can find some really great eclectic pieces of second hand office furniture at your local thrift shop or Salvation Army. A lot of large companies also throw out their office furniture rather than repairing it during an upgrade so you can salvage some top quality ergonomic office chairs and desks and save it being thrown into a landfill site.

3. Eco materials for your home office: You can find an abundant of environmentally-friendly and recycled materials for your home office, for instance:

  • Wheat board – for the walls (and it can double as a posting board) as well as floors
  • You can buy 4GB bamboo flash drives as opposed to the plastic variety
  • Moleskine notebooks (made of bamboo pulp) are waterproof with washable covers
  • Sustainable timber – for your desk and storage units
  • Recycled aluminum – again, for office desks, storage units and office chairs
  • Recycled glass – ideal for walls and attractive office desk tops
  • Recycled upholstery – great for throw pillows, stuffed bean bag chairs and desk chair coverings

4. Harness the power of sustainable energy: Look to natural resources with these really aesthetic pieces of office equipment:

5. Recycled or refurbished electronics: Akin to finding used office furniture from large corporations, you can often buy refurbished electronics for a fraction of the cost. Many large companies will host a used electronics sale when it is time to upgrade their computers, laptops, fax machines, photocopiers, printers and office telephones. You can feel good rescuing that refurbished laptop from a life in the scrap yard. Keep in mind that your home office electronics give off VOC emissions as well as other chemical vapors that pollute the air in your home. Try these additional energy-savings tips for a greener home office:

  • Use a laptop instead of a desktop computer—laptops use less energy
  • Unplug the printer, fax machine and computer when your day is over
  • Plug multiple electronics into one power bar so that you can turn them all off with one switch
  • Leave office equipment on timers so that everything automatically shuts down overnight
  • Minimize the number of office electronics you use by purchasing all in one photocopier/printer/scanner/ fax models
  • Use online fax and telephone
  • And when you are finished with your home office electronics, donate them to local schools, shelters or for reuse where needed

6. Refillable/reusable office supplies: When you look for office supplies—such as pens, pencils, files and ink cartridges for your printer—seek out refillable and reusable varieties. And also:

  • Look for recycled plastic products such as pens.
  • Buy pens and printer cartridges with non-toxic inks like vegetable- or soy-based ink
  • Buy multiple packs of pens, Post-it notes and staples to cut down your packaging waste
  • Reuse all of your elastic bands, thumb tacks and paper clips
  • Set up a recycling bin so you don’t throw used up items away