Amanda  Godwin-Jones

By Amanda Godwin-Jones
Design Team Leader |

Spring has finally sprung! After the arctic blasts last month, we’re now ready to put the beanies away, gloves in storage and reach for a lighter, probably newer (any excuse!) coat. Smart office design can help you avoid the winter blues and satisfy your yearning for the outdoors in summer - here’s how to adapt your office to work with the seasons.

Throwing off the winter blues

It’s now behind us, but have you ever wondered exactly why you feel that bit more sluggish during winter? Our body clocks aren't designed to start and leave work in the dark. Our circadian rhythm is disrupted during winter because we wake up well before the sun has hit the horizon, we feel sleepy, groggy and altogether a bit sluggish throughout the day. Smart office design and workplace initiatives can combat this and help keep your body clock in-check throughout the year.

Biophilia

What originally took off as a use of indoor plants, biophilia has exploded in recent years and now forms the basis for engaging office designs worldwide. 

A focus is placed on using natural finishes, such as timber and raw stone to provide a connection with the outside world. Also ambient lighting and clever colour use can impact how people feel in the space. 

We can’t escape the fact that humans feel connected with the nature, and while building exteriors are often made up of just glass and concrete - this doesn’t need to be the case on the inside.

​Let the outdoors in

Positioning your desks next to the window sounds common sense, but there are proven wellbeing advantages to getting the right amount of sunlight and vitamin D exposure everyday. This becomes a health issue in winter when many of us commute both to and from work in the darkness, so we need to get adequate exposure during the working day. 

While seeing the light is important in winter, making floor-to-ceiling windows a feature of your fit out can also help staff feel at ease and connected with the outdoors in the summer.

Having a connection with the outside is really important. We recently finished a project with Anomaly and their unrivalled view of Charterhouse Sq provided a dynamic and ever-changing backdrop that naturally changes with the seasons. The space was designed with people and light in mind, and uses singular booths looking out onto the Sq to create a tranquil escape for the staff.

Get outside!

Not every office has an outdoor terrace or balcony, but if you do - flaunt it! Staff love working from connected outdoor spaces in summer. 

It’s worth investing in your outdoor space so your staff can make the most of lovely summer afternoons; all while staying connected and productive. If you don’t have the physical outdoor space, then transform a part of your internal floorspace into an inside-out space. 

Just like Rackspace have at their Hayes campus, they have installed a number finishes and outdoor influences that are not usually associated with the indoors that can help your team feel a world away from the office.

Be flexible

Sometimes finishing that bit earlier and going home during daylight hours can make all the difference to your mood during winter. It'll make the nights feel shorter, and like you're not stuck in perpetual darkness. So, if possible - allow your staff to head off early to get home before sundown and work from home in the early evening. Not only does this combat seasonal adjustment disorder, but your teams will beat the evening rush hour. Win-win!

Technology is also driving the possibilities of this, with modern technology allowing you to work virtually from anywhere. This empowers people to make a decision on where they will be most comfortable, happy and therefore more productive! This really is a win-win for both wellbeing and productivity.