Why Your Office Needs a "Third Plac...

Why Your Office Needs a “Third Place”

One particular philosophy in the creation of community-space planning to emerge in the late 20th Century is the idea of the “Third Place.” Where the “first place” is a dedicated home and the “second place” is the workplace, the third place — as defined by sociologist Ray Oldenburg — is a gathering space where social environments encourage community, relaxation, entertainment, edification, and other activities meant to bolster civic interest and contact with broader societal elements. In simpler terms, it’s a place where the concerns and obligations of both work and home are free to be ignored.

With our current mobile and remote-working emphasis on being constantly on-call, the idea of the “Third Place” has become somewhat tenuous, intruded upon by facets of daily life that used to be far easier to cordon off to 9-to-5 hours. But as office planners have discovered in recent years, that upending of place can happen in the workplace as well. Office designs are increasingly incorporating built-in “Third Places” that encourage employee relaxation, community, and healthier work-life balance in a way that can accommodate worker needs and improve both morale and productivity. Here are five reasons office designers should consider incorporating a “Third Place” into the workspace.

Increased productivity: When a worker’s pacing themselves and taking intermittent breaks to relax and recuperate, it’s a net gain to productivity; a burned-out worker is an inefficient worker, often prone to distraction. In offices where breakrooms are spartan and uninviting, employees often stay at their desks to have lunch or take some downtime, which further blurs the work/relaxation balance and can make burnout set in more easily. Having a dedicated space (or several!) with appealing, comfortable accommodations can encourage workers to take time away from their desks, leaving them more refreshed and without the rut of being in the same spot most of the workday.

Less stress: Though this goes hand-in-hand with the benefits of increased productivity, Third Places also offer more holistically inviting and comforting spaces where workers can take a retreat from the frustrations of the workday. In that sense, a spot that seems less like a traditional extension of the workplace and more like a small-scale retreat can work wonders by temporarily separating stressed-out workers from the source of their anxiety.

More spontaneous creativity: One of the most common ways of describing an effort to break out of a rut is calling it a “change of scenery” — so why not offer that option in its most literal sense? Aside from staving off burnout, offering a dedicated Third Place where the pressure of work is pushed to the background can let flashes of inspiration arrive unexpectedly, or give the creative mind some much-needed downtime to recharge. A different environment — in sound, light, decor, furnishings, and overall mood — can be a catalyst for entirely new perspectives.

Collaborative sociability: Spaces like breakrooms have traditionally provided opportunities to socialize, while meeting rooms are more cordoned-off spaces dedicated to presentations and collaborative work. A “Third Place” space can split the difference between the two: a relaxed environment where workers can socialize while also providing the potential — but not necessarily the pressure — to exchange ideas and brainstorm.

A home away from home: It’s no coincidence that many people who work remotely often choose cafes and coffee shops to do so: these places are designed to offer customers an environment that they’ll want to stay in and return to, as well as providing a public space that feels like a place where work can be done. Providing a space in your workplace that fills a similar role — a place where the option is there to work, relax, read, study, or meditate — creates a feeling of independence and freedom that can feel more like working from home or a neighbourhood cafe than a traditional workplace can allow.

Aura is proud to provide as much inspiration as your office needs require. Feel free to contact us for more info.

5 Law Office Design Strategies To Maximize Millennial Employee Retention



  • Thoughtful space reduction can increase collaboration and socialization
  • Third Spaces facilitate casual interaction, collaborative meetings, and relationship building
  • Increase natural light and air quality improve workplace wellbeing and productivity
  • Designing your office to have a low environmental impact to align with employee expectations
  • Use colour psychology to strategically enhance employee positivity
  • Consider biophilic office designs that incorporate more greenery into the office

Continue reading “5 Law Office Design Strategies To Maximize Millennial Employee Retention”

Amp Up Your Summer Wellness Program

Summer has long been a key time of year to catch up on your wellness, whether you want to look your best on the beach or you just want to have the energy and stamina to have fun in the great outdoors. But for workers who spend dozens of hours a week doing relatively sedentary desk jobs, that well-being might be trickier than usual to maintain. Fortunately, it’s not difficult to instill a sense of wellness and health in employees during the summer — here are just a few simple, effective ideas that will break them out of the indoor rut and get them energized and productive.


Healthy Food Offerings

A big box of donuts is the old standby, but there are far better options if you want to help employees stay fit and avoid late-afternoon sugar-crash slumps. Seasonal fruits and vegetables are always good snack options (and inexpensive from the right sources, like farmers’ markets), and encouraging group activities like healthy-choice potlucks can add some social fun to the equation.


Heading Outdoors

Sometimes a lunch break is excuse enough to get some fresh air, but even people brown-bagging from home deserve a chance to get some Vitamin D. Not everything needs to happen inside at a desk, and the right work environments can factor in outdoor space as another place to get things done. Holding meetings outdoors, setting up patio-style outdoor workstations, or having staff conversations during walking excursions can help keep both health and energy levels up during the workday. And special events like company picnics and field trips can instill a sense of casual camaraderie that deepens connections between employees.


Getting Active

Organizing physical team activities is nothing new — the company softball team has been a workplace fixture for decades — but promoting exercise and teamwork at the same time has been a popular pastime for good reason. Getting employees moving, collaborating, thinking fast, and feeling energized can benefit the workplace atmosphere and productivity the same way it does employee health. And it’s not hard to create a something-for-everyone appeal, with more options than ever to put a variety of pursuits in play. Whether it’s friendly competitions over health-promoting goals like most mileage bicycling or outdoor walking, or traditional team sports like kickball and flag football, giving employees challenges to meet will offer healthy outlets for working out stress and feeling invigorated.


At Aura, we can help you create, maintain, and update your work environment to give your company’s culture a hand in supporting positive, healthy, and wellness-promoting activities for your employees. Get in touch, we would love to speak with you.

Adapting Your Office For Improved Workplace Wellness

Forward-thinking companies understand that their main goal is to create a phenomenal workplace for their people. The heart of every office is its people; they are the wheels that keep the company in motion. For this reason, it’s important to nurture a workplace culture and office environment that is conducive to their success. By keeping employee’s wellness, performance and personal goals, companies will be able to cultivate a positive workplace that gives its employees a sense of purpose and facilitates their success. 

However, as the office has historically been a place associated with stress, it can be difficult to imagine an office environment that actually does the opposite. So, how does one begin to create an office environment that promotes deep thinking, innovation, creativity and collaboration? Thankfully, organizational psychologists have created a better way to understand human performance by blending opportunity, motivation, and ability.


Performance: Three Major Factors

When it comes to performance, there are three major factors at play including opportunity, motivation, and ability. Opportunity is about how accessible a person is to amenities or resources. Motivation is the measure in which a person wants to perform a task. Ability pertains to whether or not the person can perform the task at hand. With this in mind, the question becomes: how do workplaces provide opportunities and keep employees motivated while also catering to their abilities, all in the confinements of an office space?

According to organizational psychology, there are ten key design elements that not only support performance factors but also positively impact the atmosphere of any given workplace environments. These design elements include:

  • Sensory Variability and Change
  • Noise Control
  • Thermal Temperature and Comfort
  • Colour
  • Access to Daylight, Views, and Nature
  • Indoor Air Quality
  • Crowding
  • Employee Engagement
  • Ergonomics and Human Factors
  • Choice

In the next section, each of these key elements will be elaborated upon to show what they mean for the workplace. 


Sensory Variability & Change

Employees prefer sensory variability and change. If an employee is faced with a lack of visual stimulation, such circumstances can affect their ability to stay alert and dull their senses. In addition to this, human productivity can be hindered by workstations that are all the same height and remain neutral-coloured. To avoid productivity loss, try to have moderate levels of visual complexity, spatial variability, materials that offer a sensory experience for the mind, windows that offer views to the outdoors, and access to daylight.


Noise Control

Believe it or not, noise can be a major issue in the workplace environment. In many instances, noise in a workplace can even enable or disable productivity in the workplace depending on the work being performed. To eliminate this loss in productivity, allow employees access to a space with acoustical separation and a door when needed.


Temperature & Thermal Comfort

Thermal comfort requires the right amount of humidity, airflow, and temperature. To provide physical comfort in the workplace, you’ll need to be operating on all of these cylinders. If you happen to hear about temperature issues in the workplace, it’s likely that humidity and airflow are the culprits. The ideal temperature in the office is 70 degrees, as this temperature is associated with reduced sick leaves and a higher accuracy on tasks. If an employee has control over conditions in their workstation, it increases their productivity.



How certain colours are perceived depends on life and culture experiences. Brighter colours tend to be associated with task accuracy and higher focus. Blue is meant to cool and calm. Pink is intended to lessen burden, discouragement, loneliness, and aggression. Red is commonly associated with ambition and vitality. Orange eases emotions. Yellow helps people feel alert and clear-headed. Having your workplace a certain colour can significantly affect how your employees approach their work.


Access to Daylight, Views, and Nature

People tend to enjoy being surrounded by the great outdoors, which can offer an endless amount of sensory change and variation. Biophilia, the bond between other living systems and humans, is important to offer when people are indoors. It can also be beneficial for workers to spend time outdoors (even if it’s brief) during a workday.


Indoor Air Quality

Since most Americans spend at least 90 percent of their time indoors, it’s important to make sure the air quality is healthy. The health of a company’s workforce can affect productivity, sick days, and health insurance costs. Going beyond simple ergonomics and human factors, the workplace should make good health a priority.



Whenever an employee feels crowded, they often feel stressed. Sadly, this feeling can impact how they feel in the workplace. Although the idea of space varies depending on gender, individual preferences, and cultural background, any level of discomfort can cause a significant amount of stress on an individual and impact their work output.


Employee Engagement

When it comes to worker satisfaction and employee engagement, there’s a direct correlation. In short,  ensuring your employees are engaged and motivated will facilitate innovation and productivity. 


Ergonomics and Human Factors

Workplaces should aim to be designed around and for individuals who are looking to be flexible, comfortable, and support long term productivity. Why? Well, workplaces should consider the limitations and needs of the individuals who will be occupying them. “Human factors” is a term utilized in workplace psychology that touches on topics that include human-computer interaction, human capability, product design, the reduction of human error, workplace safety, and ergonomics. So when it comes to “ergonomics” and “human factors”, the terms are utilized synonymously.



The workplaces of today require high levels of collaboration, concentration, and everything in between. A well-designed workplace must provide opportunities for choice to be made by employees and customers alike. From here, both parties will have an easier time determining how (and when) they shall utilize your workplace for the benefit of your company.


Considering the information above, there’s plenty of ways companies can adapt their offices for improved workplace wellness. If you haven’t adapted your workplace place yet, these tips are an excellent way to get started. For more tips on how to promote wellness and wellbeing in your workplace, get in touch! We would be happy to provide you with a complimentary design consultation

The Landscape of Office Design is Changing: Are You Ready?

When it comes to the design and architecture of the future, change is vital. Occupants require change and designers must redesign environments to meet those expectations. Our workplaces have transitioned from windowless rooms filled with cubicles to inviting workspaces that rejuvenate and inspire. Before we look forward to the future of office environments, let’s look at where we started.


Open Offices of the Past

If there was one style that was utilized tirelessly throughout the decades, it was the advent of the open office. This idea was created roughly in the mid to early 20th century as a way to develop spacious workstations. The open office removed borders and other walls to improve interactions between coworkers and improve company morale. Although this setup sounds ideal, it did have quite a few challenges. When this design became popular during the mid-1900s, the setup had more resemblance to a factory with long rows of desks that were packed with workers. Although the open office wasn’t necessarily a failure, it did set the groundwork for what was to come.


The Cubicle

Many individuals think cubicles should belong in a museum. However, the cubicle was designed with one goal: empowering employees. It was a rebuttal to the open office layout and it was an answer to many of its problems. For starters, the cubicle allowed workers some privacy in their workspace. Instead of employees being stuffed into tight spaces with one another, employees could have their own dedicated space. In addition to this, the cubicle allowed personalization to one’s workspace. It optimized productivity and had a promising future that was envisioned by Robert Propst (the cubicle inventor) who viewed cubicles as “Action Offices.”

Sadly, the cubicle became cheaper and smaller with many workforces expecting the massive growth of new workers. “Cubicle farms” became the new normal in the workplace. Pop culture offers a dismal characterization of the modern office as a windowless area that’s stuffed with cubicles. Worse yet, early cubicles were actually made with VOCs (volatile organic compounds) that tended to make workers sick. It was clear something had to change with workspace design–with that change being right around the corner.


Biophilic Offices

In recent years, the occupant’s health in their work environment has been a major concern for designers and architects. Since the average American spends at least 90,000 hours working throughout their life, it’s important for designers to create buildings that promote wellness and health.

As mentioned earlier, the offices of the past have been notorious for not meeting the standards of the human health code. Cubicles weren’t the only part of the office that was making employees sick, though. In some instances, employees would also get sick from the building itself (appropriately called “Sick Building Syndrome”).

Thankfully, biophilic office design made the workplace a much healthier environment. Its philosophy is rooted in keeping nature as the center of a building’s design and has received fantastic reviews for its numerous health benefits, including lowered blood pressure and reduced stress. For commercial environments, the biophilic office designs are quickly becoming the industry standard. It should also be mentioned that material selection is another major factor in biophilic office design. Illnesses such as SBS occurred due to the fact that toxic materials were utilized for interiors. Today, architects have intentionally selected new materials that contain no to little VOC properties. One of the materials most commonly utilized for biophilic office designs is reclaimed wood. Reclaimed wood brings vivid textures and a rich appearance that allows employees to connect with nature in ways that most materials cannot. In addition to this, reclaimed wood enhances employee wellness, encourages interaction, and relieves stress. Since reclaimed wood utilizes little to no VOC products for its finish, it won’t make anyone sick.

Biophilic office designs are perfect for promoting flexibility in the workspace. A far departure from the “cubicle farm” or open office designs, flexible workspaces are created to remain modular. This means that employees are capable of modifying their surroundings so that their space can be utilized for a number of purposes–from private meetings to solo work session or formal presentation. Perks such as multi-furnishings, adjustable surroundings, and mobile furniture allow employees to get the most out of their workspace.


Looking into the future, there’s a lot in store for the future generations of employees. Between managing the growth of your organization and automation becoming the method in which many jobs will be performed, the future of office occupancy is looking bright.

In consideration of the information above, there are plenty of ways companies can adapt their office environments for the betterment of their workforce. If you haven’t adapted your workspace yet, we hope this will give you an idea of where the future of office design is headed. For advice on how your company can achieve maximum effort from your office space, contact Aura Office Environments and learn how we can help.

Attracting & Retaining Millennial Employees With Your Office

It is always important to cater to your workforce with a quality office design. When folks wake up for work daily, you want a sense of excitement on where they head. Dreading walking into a boring office with out of date technology and designs will lead to lost employees. Attracting and retaining millennials is more important than ever. The work done towards retaining millennial employees has a lot to do with office design, as much as it has to do with whether they get a promotion.


The Millennial Numbers to Back-Up the Push

There exists a lot of numbers to support the effort to cater to the millennial generation. A millennial is someone born between the year 1981 and 1996. Over 70 million millennials exist in the world, and they are all the age where they are in the workforce. They make up the largest generation of working individuals today, so making sure the office design suits them is crucial. These are young minds, tremendous visionaries, and tapping their knowledge occurs by placing them in a setting sparking creativity.


Losing Employees is Costly

It is very costly to lose employees. Millennials have no concerns with switching companies, jobs. The days of individuals staying at one company for several decades is a thing of the past. It still happens, but far less than with prior generations. Millennials seek engagement and where they find it, they prosper and prove to be productive contributors to an organization.

The cost of losing an employee, all that knowledge, multiplies when you factor the spend on recruiting, hiring, and onboarding new talent. The time and effort to get the new employee at a foundational level is always a struggle.


Retaining Millennial Employees With an Office Design

You can do a lot with your office design to work towards attracting and retaining millennial employees. Millennials are unique. They want a different office, catering to their asks, which usually conflict with the make-up of older organizations.

Retaining Millennial Employees With Technology – You can do a lot with technology to work toward attracting and retaining millennial employees. Millennials want a connection to the Internet at all times, with the constant ability to communicate with employees. Remote millennial employees need the ability to video chat, to use tools like Slack, Skype, Teams, and others to collaborate. By giving millennials technology, always-on Internet, and the ability to connect and work from anywhere, you increase engagement and retention.

Design With Culture in Mind – You want an office design that takes company culture in mind. Millennials seek out the open, college style design. These employees do not want to be stuck in a cubicle. Instead, open space and wall removal are key. It drives company culture as well, showcasing commitment to collaboration and innovation. You want to engage millennials. Give them a reason to show up and commit their whole self to your company, each day. You know what culture you want to showcase, now match it with an office design that exceeds expectations to keep millennial talent.

Work with the Remote Crowd – A remote employee can provide a lot of value to the organization. Millennials want the ability to work from anywhere. If they are away from the office, why do they have to be completely unavailable? Make remote employee arrangements possible and show your company culture of flexibility and commitment to working from anywhere, at any time. Over 4.3 million employees work from home at least 50% of the time. With many of these millennials, making this an option helps keep talent.


Create an Office Space Strategy

You need a strategy to tackle your office space. The plan should incorporate short and long-term goals. What millennials want today may not be what they want a decade from now. When you go through your office design process, think ahead. Be sure you end up with an office space strategy that can evolve over time. Millennials are the young generation now, but that will change. The focus for millennials is on their career more than ever. Giving them office space and planning a strategy that drives forward engagement will allow for better retention.


Remember to Craft a Culture

Employee seeks out a company culture more than they do the appearance of office space. Let your culture and space speak for itself and attract millennials, retain them. Think about the best campus locations in the world. Google and Apple are top-tier. Employees long to work in settings they create. The campus environment, the feeling that everyone works and functions as one cohesive unit, is a key driver to engagement and retention.

The discovery-centric office design strategy Aura delivers helps you craft the culture. You want your office space to scream what your company is all about, in a positive light. From the interior design to the open spaces, to even beverage stations and technology offerings, you want it all to tie together. Create your office space in such a way where it is a destination for millennials, where they’ll feel like they miss out on growth opportunities by leaving. Put millennials in a place of constant engagement and they will stick around, thrive.

What you do as an organization to design an office space towards attracting and retaining millennials starts at the discovery stage. Think about your workforce and where the company stands today, as well as where you want it five years from now. Craft an office space strategy with a focus on your core millennials. By catering, you will not only retain the best talent, but you will attract it as well. Be a destination employer and watch the very best seek out your office as space where their creative juices can be on display.

The Millennial Workplace Blueprint

Office design is crucial to the success of every business. You want a workplace that matches with your employee base. If you have a millennial workplace, which most companies do today, you need to adapt. What is the blueprint for the millennial workplace? How can you be sure you meet their needs? You need to connect with each employee, figure out what they value, and it begins with knowing the make-up of your workforce.

Continue reading “The Millennial Workplace Blueprint”

5 Breakthroughs In Commercial Interior Design Technologies

The very first iterations of a so-called modern office were rolled out to the masses in the early 1900’s. Most of them featured an open concept layout to support collaboration and communication – but they also contributed to massive levels of noise and distraction. Cue the 1950’s cubicle revolution, which went a little too far in the other direction and inspired unintentional isolation and a drop of office worker morale.

The most up-to-date commercial interior design mantra does something in the middle, option to include aspects of both to accommodate the individual working styles of different employees who need different environments to accomplish different tasks – but the biggest breakthrough of 2018 has proven to be the inclusion of more and more advanced commercial interior design technologies.

Here are our top 5 breakthroughs in commercial interior design technologies.


Virtual Reality Communications

Remember the hologram meetings the Empire or Rebel Alliance would host in Star Wars, with the fuzzy life-size visual of Darth? While virtual reality conferencing may not quite be on that level just yet, virtual reality communications are soon to be the mainstream choice of tech-savvy firms the world over.

With current teleconferencing, individuals can carry on with their everyday tasks, or ignoring the meeting altogether because they’re not visible to the other attendees; alternatively, video conferencing has similar issues with participant engagement – a meeting attendee can still do their own thing on-screen in privacy, rendering the meeting ineffective. Virtual reality conferencing allows users in different locations to literally meet in a room together to present CAD 3D models of new products, or share plans.

Skype and Zoom are proving to hold onto their relevancy, as these technologies have become a staple of modern office experiences, and help take meetings to new levels with reliable and high-quality face-to-face video conferencing.


Visual & Collaborative Brainstorming

Video conferencing and screen sharing are nothing new – but more and more offices are embracing these tech advances as the primary go-to technology for boosting efficiency in the office and communicating creative ideas in real time.

Screen sharing technologies give meeting attendees a front row view of the presenters screen from anywhere in the world, helping them gain unprecedented access to Powerpoint presentations, product designs, or brainstorming ideas for discussion.

Think back to an old school in-office presentation. Much like an elementary classroom, the presenter would use a black/whiteboard to illustrate and take notes of the topic at hand – but in 2018, these visual supports have received a much-needed makeover.

Google recently introduced a revolutionary G-Suite tool called Jamboard, a virtual whiteboard conferencing app, enabling individual employees from multiple different departments or offices to collaborate and view a singular screen for multiple meeting attendees to draw on and contribute to during brainstorming sessions.


Video Communication

Inbound giant, Hubspot, tells us that over 50% of marketers agree video is still the king of creative content, and it provides the best ROI for organizations, prompting some tech groups to embrace video as a means of email communication as well.

Similar to rapport building video conferencing technologies of 2018, video communications are also changing the ways people interact and exchange ideas and correspondence when they’re not live or in a meeting. Programs like Vidyard allow office employees to record and create simple, short video messages as emails, eliminating text, and adding a personal touch that text messages and voice messages can’t come close to.

Videos also help to better communicate context, voice, and tone, helping to more authentically engage workplace communication needs and eliminate any unwanted misinterpretation.


Gamification Culture

Gamification is a growing and expansive methodology used predominantly in education and training circles, but more and more commercial office environments are using games as a way to build company culture. Hosting a trivia, or video joke session via Slack, for example, which can be used to boost company morale as a way of introducing and familiarizing staff with each other.

From a team building perspective, gamification is easy to accommodate, fun, and a great way to connect individuals who may not get the chance to interact at work otherwise.

Advancing the fun-having identity of gamification and connective apps like Slack, Google Drive, and Google Hangouts, organizations are voluntarily employing the concept of “remote week” wherein they encourage employees to work from their favourite location — a coffee shop, the cottage, home, etc — as a way to encourage them to better understand these fun and engaging modes of communication and collaboration, but also as a way to introduce and familiarize themselves with telecommuting and the many benefits of a liberated and mobile workforce.


Voice Recognition & Activation

Studies show nearly half of all American routinely use digital voice assistants like Apple’s infamous Siri, Amazon Echo, and Google Home – so it’s no surprise that more and more office employees and organizations are using these computing voice assistants to accelerate tasks and minimize the impact of small tasks.

Voice assistants are excellent for scheduling meetings, sending messages, setting timeline-based goals and reminders, and typing notes; so they’re literally like an extra set of hands, and a quick and painless way to make staying on top of your day-to-day office life a breeze.


Easy accessibility, remote capabilities, advanced communication tools, and the rapid rise of the telecommuter demographic have prompted technology to make rapid changes to keep up with the ever-evolving office. Similarly, offices are also using consumer technologies in more professional capacities to bridge the gap between work and personal life – and that to us means people are happier; using commercial interior design office tech is making office life easier and enjoyable.

Top 5 Functional Office Ideas That Will Increase Productivity

The design of your office reflects your company’s values. Well-designed workspaces create an environment that can have an enormously positive impact on your employees’ overall productivity and morale.

Function within design elements are of utmost importance – whether you commute to the office, or you work from your home. If you’re the owner of a company, you should be encouraging and supporting all of your remote employees to carefully design their offices at home, by offering tips and ideas on how to better enjoy their tenure as a remote contributor to your company culture. As far as the onsite offices, it’s left in your hands to have them designed in a manner that enhances productivity.

A good office design will support a variety of work modes. You need spaces that support collaboration as well as individual workspaces where employees can focus and be free from distractions.

When considering office design, companies need to ask questions and listen to their employees. Leaders should consider who their employees are, as well as, who they may be in the next five years. Given the countless ways to design and plan an employee’s workspace, leaders should take a strategic approach when re-designing an office.

Studies on workplace and productivity have shown the most important element in determining an employee’s ability to focus is the physical environment in which they work. Employees must be able to filter out distractions in order to focus on the task at hand. Preferred physical characteristics of an employees’ environment will vary from one employee to the next. The individual preference is typically dependent on the task being tackled and the individual employee.

Let’s take a look at five popular office designs that are meant to increase efficiency and productivity.

Multipurpose Workspaces

Utilizing a single space for everything from multimedia presentations to casual breakout areas is a growing trend. Employers are seeking to provide employees with a more comfortable and enjoyable work environment to encourage collaboration.

Many offices are mandating dedicated lounge areas as employees now look for more interaction with coworkers. Cubicles are disappearing and being replaced by “the bench.” Many organizations are moving towards a non-assigned seating mindset and are integrating oval-shaped office desks, providing space for 4-6 people to meet.

Ergonomic Workstations

In order to stimulate thinking, creativity, and concentration, employers are incorporating ergonomic workstations in their offices. And to mitigate the effects of sitting at a desk for long periods of time, modern office workplaces are integrating ergonomic chairs. The chairs provide lumbar support and feature adjustable height and armrest settings. It’s not uncommon to find height-adjustable desks being used by people who like to alternate between sitting and standing while working.

Exercise ball chairs are being incorporated for employees who want to exercise while they work. While exercise balls may not be preferred by all employees, it’s commonly agreed that adjustable desks and ergonomic chairs are well received by everyone in the workplace.

Color Philosophy

As offices migrate toward a more open and collaborative workspace, there is also a focus on colors and the impact they have on an employee’s productivity. Color has long been proven to affect productivity, thus being a reason more offices are integrating pops of color in multiple ways, such as paint, accessories, and furniture.

Today’s companies strive to create workplaces that reflect both their brand and values. This is achieved by doing much more than simply placing logos here and there. Employers are considering the impact color plays in the workplace environment and they are choosing colors that emit a positive emotional response from both a customer and employee standpoint.

Worth noting is that people react differently to various colors, so employers will often look to hues and shades that are generally believed to promote energy, creativity, calmness, and happiness. Due to a large number of variables, employers will often hire office design professionals when choosing workspace colors. These professionals recognize the relationship between important elements, like furniture, lighting, color, and texture, and how they reflect a company’s culture.

Adding color to the workplace is about much more than painting the walls; color can be injected throughout the office through art, graphics, and more.


Reconnecting people with nature is one of the most powerful trends in workplaces across America. It’s believed when employees connect with nature, it provides better concentration, creativity, and performance. Employers are bringing sunlight into the workspace through large glass windows, glass walls, glass doors, and glass ceilings. Although not popular in smaller offices, the use of fountains, streams, and mini waterfalls are commonly being seen in building lobbies, common areas, and large offices.

We are also seeing a huge surge in the popularity of plants being integrated into the work environment. Plants purify the air of toxic compounds, and they also transform carbon dioxide into oxygen, which helps employees concentrate better and it improves their health. Employers are placing plants, trees, and rocks throughout the office environment to promote a natural environment. According to a research team in the UK, having plants in the workplace can boost employee productivity by as much as 15%

Glass Doors and Walls

One of the most popular materials being integrated into workplace design is interior glass. Aside from the advantages of glass allowing natural light to flow throughout the work environment, companies are using glass doors and walls to promote more transparency in the workplace. To reduce a feeling of being isolated, glass walls and doors allow employees to view what coworkers are doing, which encourages team collaboration. Glass doors and walls are soundproof when used in this capacity. Making use of glass throughout office design tends to encourage and promote honesty and integrity throughout an organization.

With advancements in glass systems, interior glass has become the material of choice. Many offices have glass areas where information can be written or projected onto them; this enhances functionality and augments workplace connectivity. Glass walls give the appearance of openness and are easier and cheaper to install than regular walls.


Company leaders have an opportunity to improve their employees’ productivity, satisfaction, and engagement by improving their workspace design. Sources claim productivity can increase by approximately 20 percent when providing a well-designed office for employees.

Not only will a carefully curated office design improve employee performance, but it will put employers in a position to compete with other organizations by helping them attract top-talented employees. Today’s workforce demands creative stimulation, collaboration, and flexibility, and a well-planned office design can facilitate all three of these valuable elements.

Why Co-working Spaces Don’t Work For Everyone

Co-working spaces are the proverbial feather in the cap of modern office spaces for the simple reason they support and encourage both chance encounters between colleagues, and collaboration, inspiring increased productivity via an open, creative space. C’est la vie… Well, not always.

In this post, we’re diving into the discussion and sharing our perspectives on why co-working spaces don’t always work for everyone, while examining ways to bridge the gap to provide working environments that cater to all.


We’re All Different

There are many social archetypes rolled up into an office environment. You’ve got the social butterfly who always seems to have time to chat. You’ve got the ‘sorry, I’m too swamped to chat’ person who is rarely around to collaborate with; and of course, the people who sit wearing headphones from 9-5 and rarely have the time to collaborate or make themselves available for anything.

It’s estimated that by the end of 2018, over 1.7 million people will be working in some 19,000 co-working spaces globally, and the expansion of co-working ideals are still on the upswing. But people are weary. While 29% of all co-working spaces have opened in 2018, the number of people signing up hasn’t grown as quickly as initially expected.

To each, their own – it doesn’t take a psychoanalyst to tell you that people all need different things. Understanding that open, noisy, collaborative spaces isn’t the perfect elixir for 100% of the working world shouldn’t be alarming – it’s how we all strive to deal with the advance and popularity of the co-working space that should be the focal point of this conversation.


Distractions are Everywhere

Digital distraction is real. Remote employees and freelancers abound can attest to the ease of getting lost in a downward spiral of related content, amplified research, social time with your fellow workspace colleagues, and yes – even Instagram. It’s tough for people to disconnect when the vast majority of their professional responsibilities are online.

Co-working spaces are meant to be places of respite and refuge from the scourge of distraction, and are meant to give remote digital employees a space where they can plug in and work at the same time. When those two counter-intuitive values don’t jive well, it can feel like its impossible to meet the expectations of growing workloads and expanding responsibilities.


Privacy is Tough to Find

Having a place to literally go to work is important to many remote employees – the simple sensation of leaving the house or apartment every morning is enough of a routine that it helps adjust to the co-working sphere – but there’s an innate lack of privacy in shared co-working spaces. Without privacy, some people can easily become overwhelmed, anxious, and can experience real lulls in their productivity.

Growing attention is being paid to purposeful and curated interior design within co-working spaces. The inclusion of more and more dedicated focus spaces is geared at providing remote co-working employees the opportunity to retreat from the open corral of the shared real estate, so they may concentrate in semi-private zones – like conference rooms, and even phone booths.

This is often completed by co-working space owners implementing modular, mobile furniture that can adapt and provide people with ever-changing environments that complement their style of working, or a specific project.


Co-working Spaces are Their Own Businesses

Consider this: a lot of the time, startups and fledgling businesses opt to begin out of a co-working space to house their employees as a way to bridge a real estate gap while they find their own space. This is a good thing — the success of popular co-working startups like Convene and WeWork provide corporate real estate for employees – but they do so on their own terms.

These spaces lack the potential for companies to grow in terms of their own identity. This makes it difficult for new companies and employees to unite under a collective umbrella without the identity of a business structure that’s bred to please everyone.

In the short-term, co-working spaces are fantastic collaborative spaces to foster creativity, bursts of productivity, and to bridge the real estate gap. Over the long-term, co-working is a business, and is no true substitute for a strong office identity of your own that will ultimately inspire a much more meaningful company culture.

Physical spaces help to amplify and unify a brand’s voice and mission — working in a space that’s not your own takes away from that necessary building block.



Co-working spaces are fantastic ways to help remote workers enjoy some office culture routine, but their physical structure isn’t the perfect solution for everyone, and certainly is no substitute for long-term business success.

Co-working space, by their very nature, can’t work for everybody – because everybody is a unique individual, with unique traits, unique working preferences, all while working on unique projects that require unique thinking; how on earth can one style of space accommodate the complexities of the human condition and individualized critical thought? Simply put, it can’t – and that’s OK.