The benefits of a multi-sensory workplacePublished 25.05.18
The term ‘multi-sensory’ invokes thoughts of what we see, hear, smell, taste and touch. Effectively incorporating these senses into a workplace can stimulate an employee’s motivation, which in turn can increase productivity and performance.
But workplaces where employees are deprived of these senses can have a detrimental effect on their health and wellbeing, which can result in apathy or illnesses such as anxiety and depression.
So, the importance of a functional multi-sensory environment can’t be overlooked when designing an office. In fact, it’s only when all of our senses are satisfied, that we feel completely satisfied and comfortable – which is an environment every business should strive towards creating.
Below, we’ve listed how multi-sensory designs engage and inspire all five senses to promote mental wellbeing in the workplace:
Visual stimulation is an integral part of designing an office that is aesthetically pleasing. Colours have a psychological impact on us, so bright, bold and vibrant designs will enhance the office environment, thus boosting employee satisfaction.
Lighting is also critical and has a significant impact on workforce productivity. As well as affecting what and how well we are able to see, lighting indirectly affects our mood and behaviour.
So, it’s no surprise natural lighting renovations such as large windows with open views or glass roofs, will invoke positive feelings and result in happier workers, less absenteeism, fewer illnesses and ultimately, increased productivity.
Sound can have an adverse effect on our concentration, especially in the workplace. If a company’s offices are in the middle of a busy city centre, chances are that loud outside noises such as traffic are going to be a distraction to employees.
Drowning out such noises can be achieved through installing soundproofing materials, creating ‘quiet’ rooms or even by playing music, but a multi-sensory office can embrace sound to soothe and calm the mind.
By taking the biophilic approach and incorporating water features, businesses can promote mental wellbeing. The soft sounds of trickling water can alleviate stress and significantly improve concentration.
As well as bringing depth and comfort to an office, varying textures and materials can also heighten the sensory elements and create a nostalgic homely atmosphere.
Large comfy furniture with faux fur throws, acoustic fabric wall panels, woven rugs and bright, bold colours, as associated with the ‘Resimercial’ office style, can help to stimulate focus, inspire collaboration and establish an interactive and inclusive company culture.
Comfortable ergonomic seating can also improve physical and cognitive wellbeing, by stimulating a greater focus in perception, memory, reasoning and motor response.
Again, this sense can tie in with the Resimercial design, as pleasant aromas can go a long way in transforming the office into a warm and inviting environment.
Fresh flowers and plants create a natural aroma and invoke positive feelings, while also improving overall health with their air-purifying qualities.
Plants also create a ‘green’ and eco-friendly environment and can even make your brand stand out for its sustainability in the minds of consumers and investors.
Although it’s not the most critical workplace sense, most of us spend the best part of our day in an office, so taste should not be ignored when designing a space that encourages wellbeing and a healthy workplace culture.
Shared spaces or ‘breakout’ zones offer an area within the office where staff can take some time away from the screen to reenergise themselves with food and drink, to boost energy levels and fuel creativity.
Having an area where employees can share lunch will also promote team bonding, inspire collaboration and strengthen a positive workplace culture.
Overall, if a company creates a multi-sensory environment that strikes the perfect balance between each sense, employees will be motivated, healthy and happy, thus improving productivity.