Your office is more than just the place you work, but a home away from home for your employees. It’s important to remember who your office needs to be designed for. After all, people are your company’s biggest asset, therefore it’s important to choose a design that supports them in every way possible.

Designing your office according to psychology

First thing's first, you should consider the diverse needs of your team.

Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs serves as a psychological hierarchy for personal development and fulfilment. In simpler terms, it’s a model for understanding the reasons for why people do what they do. If we apply it to the workplace, many high performing organisations focus on the top sections of the pyramid, concentrating on success and the office culture. Whilst these are important, we shouldn’t forget about our base needs: psychological, physiological and technological. These include basic elements like shelter and safety, which must be fulfilled for us to achieve our goals.

We can adapt this theory, applying it to the modern-day workforce, with what we call ‘The Hierarchy of Office Needs’. This can be split into three key areas: technological, physiological and psychological, that when met, allow us to perform at our best.

Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs

Technological needs

Technology underpins everything and is vital to productive working and collaboration. Without it we’d be a little lost and that’s why we’ve put it at the bottom as essential for your office. Regardless of what tech you go for, it should be reliable and accessible for the whole team.

Physiological needs

The next tier up is our physiological needs which relates to the physical office space. This is where the value of your fit out can really make a difference in providing a space that enhances your team and the success of your company.

Wellbeing and biophilia

Employee wellbeing has been a major focus in recent years, which is why the best workplaces ensure their employees feel supported and safe when working. Providing employees with everything they could need throughout the day will improve your team's performance as it allows them to focus on higher tiers on Maslow’s pyramid: self-actualisation- the need to achieve success.

Biophilia has become a major design consideration. Incorporating the natural environment into your fit out helps improve wellbeing, especially by increasing exposure to natural light to boost Vitamin D and serotonin levels.

Take a look at our recent fit out with GPE's Elm Yard building. We took advantage of areas with more sun exposure by turning them into breakout spaces for the team to relax and recharge. But biophilia isn’t the only element that brightens up the space. Office furniture plays a huge role in creating a human-focussed workplace and shouldn’t be underestimated.

Furniture encourages interactions. GPE’s comfortable seating is a perfect example of soft furnishings that are great for a coffee and catch up, highlighting how furniture must be ergonomic to support different working situations.

Lounge style seating at GPE Elm Yard

From standing desks that promote movement throughout the day, to solo pods for individual working, furniture is vital to help meet our physiological needs.

We worked with the team at Three to provide a variety of workspaces that supported the needs of all staff. With 1,800 employees, it was crucial that this fit out catered to everyone's needs, from large collaboration spaces, to cosy corners providing a peaceful haven away from an open plan environment.

Quiet work booth
Office with wooden detailing and high bench seating

Creating a sense of belonging

Humans are social creatures by nature, therefore creating an office with ample space for collaboration and social interactions is a great way to increase productivity and encourage deeper connections within the team.

Top of the pyramid

Self-actualisation is only achieved when our base needs are met. From an organisation’s perspective, this means an increase in employee engagement, a decrease in employee turnover and a boost in social capital. Your team will collaborate seamlessly and push boundaries, all because your office fit out provides a space that caters for their base needs as humans.