Claire Gold

By Claire Gold
Designer |

We’ve heard experts talk about humanising the workplace through sensory experience, but what does that actually mean in practice? Sight, smell, touch, hearing and taste all contribute to how we feel within our workplace. In this series, we look at how your environment impacts your mood, and how to use it to boost productivity.

Let’s look at breakout spaces

Breakout areas and informal spaces are perhaps the most important part of an office. If designed with the senses in mind they can be created to encourage impromptu meetings, spur inspiration, reinforce corporate values and reduce stress. Now, that’s ticking a lot of boxes!

It might often seem that you have your best ideas in the shower, or when you’re out walking your dog! This isn’t necessarily because your office is an uninspiring space, but because you’re relaxed and the pressure is off. If the design and fit out of your informal areas creates a sensory experience that’s relaxing, chances are you’ll support your employees’ cognitive abilities.

Natural living at Motonovo

Ambient lighting not only reduces eye strain, it can create a calmer environment that’s more conducive to recovery or relaxation.

Here at MotoNovo, our designers maximised natural light flowing into the breakout space and finished the area with a mix of slate tiles and wood to help staff relax in their downtime. Colour splashes were used throughout to reflect the brand, and add a bright touch to the natural materials.

Cafe at Colart

Colour and artwork selection can also subtly reinforce corporate values, be a source of inspiration and have a calming effect when people are at their most unguarded.

Artwork has even been linked to increased productivity over time! This art wall in Colart’s office recreates the snug atmosphere of a local cafe in an otherwise open space.

The library at Nuffield Health

Going for a more domestic look and feel in your informal areas is a good way to create a relaxing environment where staff can unwind and feel like they’re back at home.

At Nuffield Health, they wanted a breakout space that was homely, yet sophisticated, so we created the library room - complete with book-end wallpaper to create that cosy study feel.