Maximising your workspace

Managing your staff

The average person will spend 90,000 hours at work during their lifetime. This presentation looks at how improving workspace design can improve employee happiness, engagement and productivity.

Key learning outcomes:

  • Understand the key benefits of positive workspace design
  • Identify areas to improve workspace design
  • Identify areas to improve workflow
  • Designing with the environment in mind
  • Key tips to transforming your workspace

Presentation: Maximising your workspace

Maximising your workspace

Hi, my name's Nicola from She Creates, which is an interior design studio based here in North Brisbane. And today I'm going to talk to you about the importance of workplace design and tell you some tips about how you can make the best of your workspace.

Why consider interior design in the workplace?

So why is interior design in the workplace so important? Well, first of all, you can't thrive in an environment that isn't thriving. The average person will spend over 90,000 hours of their life at work. We spend most of our lives either at home or in the workplace. So the environments in which we are spending this time is playing a crucial role in how every day runs and operates, and can overall make an impact on your life, which is why I'm super passionate about what I do. And I want to show you how you can optimize your environments to create a better life for yourself.

So did you know you spend over 60% of your waking hours in your workspace? So this means that most of our days are spent in these environments. And the way that these environments are, will play an impact on how our every day runs.

A beautifully designed workspace can

  • enhance your wellbeing and lifestyle;
  • increase your motivation every day;
  • make you feel happy and inspired;
  • increase workflow and productivity;
  • increase creativity;
  • inspire your customers to buy from you;
  • increase the quality impression of your products and your brand;
  • creates brand recognition;
  • markets your business for you;
  • and sets your business up for success every day

So a few alarming statistics are:

  • 25% off employees state about office design hinders their performance
  • 33% are ashamed to bring clients into their offices
  • 97% regard their workplace as a symbol of how they evaluate as an employee
  • 65% say they would consciously improve their performances if they're officers one more comfortable
  • 33% of workers say the office design affects the design decision to accept the job
  • 80% of offices are based in urban environments the competition is tough to appeal to potential employees
  • 24% of job satisfaction is down to the physical job satisfaction

Positive domino effect

There's a positive domino effect that happens when you create a beautiful environment. And it's not just about the way the environment looks. The internal positive domino effect that this can have on your business, goes a little, something like this.

First of all, when you have a beautiful environment to work in, it will make you feel valued, happy and will enhance your wellbeing. When we feel happy and healthy, we are more productive and creative. This creates a sense of motivation, a feeling of purpose and belonging in our role. When you feel valued and on purpose, you will feel more creative, empowered, and will be more motivated, which will make you perform better in your role. This then enhances the work culture and can double your productivity and job satisfaction, which in turn, can create a more successful and thriving business.

So not only is there internal positive effects of a beautifully designed to work space, there is also the external effects, which helps your business' success. So the external positive domino effect of a word design workspace goes a little something like this.

Your workspace design is a representation of your brand. It represents the value you place on your brand and its message. This sends a message to your audience about your brand, which then enhances the quality impression of your product or service.

This then markets your brand. This will attract people and make them trust your brand, which in turn can create a more successful and thriving business.

Interior design in the workspace has a great impact on employees and the business. The right space creates a community, influences motivation, performance, enhances the culture, and creates an important first impression of the business's brand and core values.

Reduce impact of noise on workflow

So I guess by now you can realize that interior design and workspace design is not just all about the looks. A new workspace can be the symbol for a culture and a company refresh.

There's lots of factors that affect the work flow. Noise is one of them. Did you know, moderate, ambient noise can help you think at a higher level and make you be more creative? But still loud speech intrusive, so plan for carpet, wall materials, etc, to absorb distracting chatter and noise pollution.

A fun tip is to either play music for your staff or hand out some headphones, because research shows that music fanatics of all stripes are more creative than other people and studies say music can even boost your work accuracy.

So some great ways when you're interior designing a space to stop noise pollution is to use window furnishings, soft furnishings in the space, lots of textiles and carpets and these helps to absolve the noise.

Increase natural light

Another factor is natural light. So according to a Future Workplaces survey, employees ranked access to natural light and views of the outdoors as their number one desire for a workplace environment. Natural light boosts Vitamin D, wards off seasonal depression, and improves sleep.

Now, I know some places you can't have access to natural lot, which is fine. There are ways to actually incorporate making a space feel lighter, and this can be through your paint colors, adding mirrors to reflect natural light. It can also be giving your staff an extra 15 minutes a day to make sure that they get outside because it's important. Sometimes you are starting work before sunrise. And sometimes you're not seeing much of your daylight and it is cruicl for our health to get that natural light as well.

Consider smells

So smell is also another factor that goes into a great office design.

So did you know, our senses of smell can even affect productivity and office environments? Specific smells have been found to increase alertness, which in turn results in higher productivity rates. One study found that when lemon oil was diffused throughout a Japanese office building, productivity among data entry operators increased by 54%.

Scents can also be used to ward off mid-afternoon brain fog, by reviving your concentration levels. Better aromas are found to make people set higher goals for themselves.

So a good tip to do when designing your workspace is to set out fresh flowers, bring in candles, aromas, essential oils, open up your windows to let fresh air in, and lots of plants which will help clear the air.

Consider temperature

Did you know, 21.6 degrees Celsius is the ideal working temperature? According to studies, you can expect performance to dip when temperatures rise or fall from that level.

So some tips that you can use within your workspace is to open your windows to let fresh air flow through. Provide fans for air movement, which is also great for white noise as well. And inducted air-con also allows you to set the exact temperature for your workspace.


Ergonomics. Did you know ergonomics in the workspace place boost productivity? Designing a workspace that promotes good posture, less repetitive motions, easier heights and reaches, and less exertion nurtures a more efficient work process. More efficiency equals more productivity.

So by having ergonomics in your work place, you are going to improve productivity, improve quality of your service, and improve employee engagement. So a well designed workplace can have a positive impact on the life of workers and the environment.

Design for the environment

So some ways you can design your workspace to help out with the environment. You can actually look to reduce your carbon footprint by these few tips.

So going solar. You could be completely self efficient with zero carbon foot print by generating your own electricity from your own roof. You could even get a recycling or waste management system in place, which will encourage recycling and waste management by providing organized systems around your workplace, such as the printing areas and the kitchen areas.

A bike station is also a great way to encourage you workers to ride to work, which will help lower the fossil fuels from petrol used, and also promote a healthier lifestyle. And providing your staff with reusable bottles is a great way to encourage them to drink more water and to save plastic waste within our environment. It's also an awesome way to make your workers feel valued and show your company culture.

Design your workspace for better health

You can also design your workspace for better health. So here's some ways you can give yourself and your staff a healthier lifestyle. Providing flexible standing desks and having a set hour throughout the day where your staff having a standing ally to encourage staff to stand more. You could have water stations situated throughout your office space to encourage workers to drink more. And, as mentioned earlier, the reusable drink bottles will also help with this.

Fresh produce, which would also help the local economy. You could get a local business to deliver fresh produce every week, which will also encourage your workers to eat more healthy.

Also, another fun idea is providing a group exercise for your business. So for your workers to participate weekly in some group exercise, and that will also in turn, help out a local business, which will help the local economy.

Designing for a better work culture

Now designing for a better work culture. There's some ways you can create a better work culture through your workspace design.

So open plan offices are a great way to encourage collaboration and connection among co-workers.

Providing collaboration and breakout areas. Design dedicated spaces where staff can get together and brainstorm. This gives more opportunity for team and relationship building amongst staff.

Having your mission statements and motivational quotes on your wall. Displaying a company values in your workspace can be inspired and a great daily reminder and motivator for your staff.

Good design equals valued coworkers. A well designed workspace and staff areas is a symbol of how you value, value your staff. Providing them with a beautiful workspace is a way of showing them that you value and respect their work, which in turn increases the company culture.

Top tips for transforming your workspace

So here's some tips on how you can transform your work space.

1. Find your unique business style and brand

So the first thing you need to do is find your unique business style and brand. With so much noise going on the design of your business pace is part of your branding. It is an impression of your brand, and to make you stand out from the rest and give a quality impression of your brand, you must be very clear on what the style of your business is and the branding colors. So you can carry these cohesively from your website into your space.

So a fun thing that you can do to get started is to start collecting materials, pictures, anything you can, and start creating a mood board to come up with how you want your space to look. This can be clippings from magazines, images from Pinterest, or random materials, and start getting together a mood board to nail the style of your space.

2. The colour palette

The color. So choosing a color palette for your space is crucial when it comes to designing a business. Color is the number one way you are going to translate your business branding into your space. So you must make sure that you are using your branding colors in the space - even if you have to do that on another tone-down level - but this really shows that this space is related to your business.

Colour is the number one way to communicate your branding throughout your space, by using your branding colors.

A tip is to follow the 60, 30, 10 rule and you can't go wrong. This means 60% main color. So this colour should be what represents your main surfaces, such as walls and benches. Most likely this is going to be a white or a neutral color.

30% is your secondary color. This is going to be the color of your flooring, feature walls, and larger furniture so try and keep the same turns of this color.

10% is your accent color. This is what really makes your space pop. It's the color, or colours, but sticking within the same tone and color palette within this. And this is how you can add a bit of wow factor through accessories and decorations. Think your rugs, your textiles, and your artwork.

3. Discover what you need to thrive

The next step is to discover what your business needs to thrive. Take some time to really dig deep into what the ultimate workspace would look like for you and what it would need to make your business thrive. Create a list of every single thing your workspace needs to operate, and the next level items that will make your business thrive.

By the time you're done with this task, you should have a good list of exactly what your workspace needs. And from there you can start getting some furniture pieces and accessories that will align with exactly what your workspace needs.

4. Marie Kondo your workspace

Marie Kondo your workspace. So we want to make sure that we are de-cluttering and cleaning, because 'clutter in the space is clutter in the mind'. And if you do anything today, this is free. I highly suggest you declutter and clean in your space. So get organised time - for a cleanse and a spring break, or an ISO break.

If you haven't read 'The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up' then I suggest you do. Nothing is more satisfying or therapeutic than a good old fashioned spring clean. If something in your workspace isn't serving your business, then it's time for it to go. To truly start transforming your space, you must clear away the clutter first.

5. Furniture and Layout

Okay. So now it's on to choosing your furniture selection and the layout of your space. The furniture you choose is one of the most crucial parts of a good interior design. It's one thing to have amazing furniture, but if you don't know how to lay it out properly, it can affect the entire flow function and feeling of this space.

When looking at the layout, consider the following:

  • The flow - ensure there is enough flow in your space, meaning space around your furniture to freely roam around the space.
  • Balance and Symmetry - create unity and balance within a space by using the rules of symmetry - if you were to cut a part of that room in half, a good rule of thumb is that it is quite harmonious and it would look similar to the other half.

Create a mood board of your furniture choices to ensure they all work well together. Take out the items on the floor before purchasing to ensure they fit well in the space.

6. Textiles

Textiles. So rugs, cushions, curtains, throws. When you want to create a welcoming, homely feeling in your workspace, this could be the most important tip of all. Textiles are essential to softening of space, assisting in noise pollution, and adding comfort.

  • Use feather-filled cushions to get the famous karate chop look
  • Add sheer curtains to windows, to soften the look of harsh windows, and also assist in the noise pollution
  • Add a throw and cushions to the sofas - this adds an extra layer, creating a homely feel and a pop of color, which is where you can bring in the 10%. Cushions are a great way to bring in accent colors as well to the room.

7. Window Furnishings

So as mentioned before window furnishings are super important. And these are often overlooked.

It's a quick and easy way to transform any room. Your window furnishings should generally match the color, or be a similar tone of your main walls. Unless you're wanting to use them as a bold feature. Refer back to your style and color palette as a guide for which college you should choose.

Tip: A great way to soften the look of harsh windows, and to alter the look of the height of your walls is by using curtains. Mount the curtains from the floor to the ceiling, and this will help extend the height of your walls, and add in a sense of softness and comfort.

8. Decorating

Decorating. So this is where your brand really starts to shine.

In your decorative pieces, you're adding a touch of your business's personality, a bit of soul and style. Some tips are to add plants and real greenery to help bring life into the space. Use baskets and pots that match your style.

Display books and magazines on coffee tables - they shouldn't be hidden away collecting dust.

Add artwork that matches the style and vibe of your brand. And show off your work. Have professional photos or displays of your work. Create a space to show all of these off.

Mirrors are also a great way to open a space and reflect light.

9. Ambience

Ambience. Now, this is my favorite part of design, because a truly beautiful space not only looks amazing, it feels amazing. So adding these finishing touches that cover all of your senses, which is your sight, your hearing, your smell, taste, touch, everything truly creates a beautiful experience.

So a few tips:

  • Make your workspace smell beautiful. Using incense, essential oils, you can use soaps in the bathrooms ,and fresh flowers
  • Using soft plush textiles, such as rugs, cushions, curtains, furnishings. These will all create a beautiful touch in your workspace.
  • Using fans, heating and cooling systems will also create a comfortable environment for yourself and your workers
  • Play music to add to the experience and the vibe of your space.

So, thank you so much for listening today. I hope this helps you, and if you do need any extra help, my name's Nicola from She Creates and I'm here to help. Just reach out to me if you have any questions.


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