Office design is an important factor in how well people work. Everything from the lighting to the furniture can make or break our motivation, creativity and overall productivity. Thanks to a few scientific revelations, we have a better idea of how the human brain reacts to different aspects of office design. Scott Wyatt, a managing partner at global architectural firm NBBJ (which is responsible for designing the headquarters of Amazon, Google and Samsung), has pointed out a few of the most important aspects of office design.
Ceiling Height: Wyatt notes that research has shown that higher ceiling heights have a better effect on conceptual thinking. Meanwhile, lower ceiling heights are known to be better for mathematical thinking. He says he's seen this first hand -- while walking through the office of a software company, he noticed that the programers had built tents above their desks to create the effect of a lower ceiling height.
Distance: The folks over at NBBJ have been studying the relationship between distance and interaction. They found that the more a person has to walk to someone else's desk, the less likely they are to interact with that person. “There are specific thresholds; if you sit more than an 80-foot walk away from someone, you are much less likely to talk to them on a daily basis than if you sit closer,” said Andrew Heumann, a designer at NBBJ. He notes that not only are they less likely to interact socially, but they are also less likely to collaborate on projects.
Visibility: Whether or not you can see a person from your own workspace has a correlation with how much you interact with then. Heumann says being able to glance at another person can serve as a simple reminder that you need to contact them later on. He suggests offices place 'circulation networks' in the middle of the building, such as staircases and corridors.