BERMANFALK Hospitality Group Reception Area

Case Study: BERMANFALK Hospitality ...


Case Study: BERMANFALK Hospitality Group

Vancouver-based BERMANFALK has been providing furnishings to the hospitality industry throughout the world since 2007. In that span of time — relatively short in memory, but a long stretch for a growing business — BERMANFALK grew rapidly, with their design-first approach earning their seating and casegoods products a strong reputation and a growing footprint in the hotelier and interior design worlds. While their committment to a Canadian sense of quality products and efficient service was well-maintained, the rate of their growth led to an inevitability: how do they redesign their office and make it more efficiently attuned to the needs of an expanding business?

The Problem

For BERMANFALK, their needs were clear: their workforce was growing, and that meant a need for more coordinated teamwork in a larger operation. Due to the collaborative nature of the workplace, the idea was to gravitate towards an open space, one that encouraged and inspired a free exchange of ideas. But there was still a need to allow individual employees their own spaces, autonomy, and privacy, which open-plan offices aren’t always designed to accommodate.

The Solution

Partnering with Aura gave BERMANFALK many options to choose from in expanding and redefining their space. For their new office, located in a former industrial space, the openness of the space was emphasized with soft white walls and ceiling, letting the contrasting abstract/organic patterning of the carpeting reflect the shadows and light given off by the structure of the ceiling’s bare ductwork and girders. This lent the open space of the floorplan a bright uniformity, while other more delineated spaces — including individual cubicles, cabinetry, and window frames of conference rooms — were highlighted with darker slate tones. And in keeping with BERMANFALK’s reputation for design, furnishings were given a timeless modernity, mid-Century designs standing out distinctly while still maintaining a comfortable minimalism.

The Outcome

With Aura’s open space plan, BERMANFALK’s managers were able to get a clear, easy overview of operations as the size of their business expanded. Meanwhile, the visual impact of their space was directly in keeping with their stylistic philosophy, post-industrial chic highlighting a simple but versatile approach to creating a harmonic interior space. In short, Aura served as the interior designer that interior design experts trusted.

Learn what else Aura can do for you and your office space! Contact us, and see what other spaces we’ve brought to life.

Aura Office Environments Hosts Successful Tenant Talks Lunch & Learn Event

Tenant Talks is a complimentary event series featuring expert insights driving Vancouver’s modern workplace.

VANCOUVER, BRITISH COLUMBIA – October 15, 2019 – Aura Office Environments (“Aura”) proudly hosted its first-ever Tenant Talks Lunch & Learn at Spaces in Gastown on Wednesday, October 9th.  Themed around Remote Work and the Modern Office, the event featured a panel of top-tier industry experts, including NoW of Work Founder Rocky Ozaki, Visier Senior HR Business Partner Angie Ng, Quietly Head of People & Places Kraig Doherty and Aura Operational Development Manager Kristina Kovacevic. Together, they spurred a multitude of ideas and brought forth their vision for how remote work will affect office planning and employee dynamics in the long-term. 

 

Here are some of the event’s key takeaways:

  • Remote working is here to stay. Studies have shown that the benefits of remote work apply to employees and businesses alike. Given the opportunity to work remotely, an astounding 77% of workers stated they were more productive working remotely, with 30% of remote workers stated they accomplished more work in less time than working in the office. Normalizing remote work is increasingly beneficial, and the key to this is putting trust in your staff.

  • Office design, tech, and remote work are all integral to each other. Video teleconferencing is an accessible technology that can be accommodated by dedicated design plans, such as “zoom rooms” that feature large-screen displays for long-distance “face to face” interactions. Smaller meeting spaces and private spaces for smartphone usage — an update of the traditional “phone booth” — are also helpful, as are dedicated hotel desk and “hotdesk” setups for workers on the go.

  • Adopting remote work policies is easy and beneficial. Test the waters by giving workers the option of working remotely once a week. Budget for activities that will help remote staff build interpersonal work relationships, such as flying them to in-person events and having stipends to help cover their coworking expenses. Create working-hour expectations where people are expected to be “on-call” during particular times to set some needed parameters for self-directed workers. And, focus primarily on how people work rather than where.

  • Reward flexibility with benefits. One of the primary challenges of remote work is instilling a sense of community and social contact among workers who might otherwise feel detached from the organization. In-person social events and fun online group chats and Slack channels are two solutions businesses can offer.

 

Aura plans to host Tenant Talks on a quarterly basis at varying venues throughout Vancouver. Sign up to the mailing list to stay in the loop!

 

About Tenant Talks

Tenant Talks is a complimentary Lunch & Learn Speaker Series featuring industry experts and community leaders sharing their expertise, knowledge and valuable tips on workplace trends impacting Vancouver companies. Gain key insights over a catered lunch into office design and workplace culture best practices.

 

About Aura Office Environments

Tenant Talks is brought to you by Aura Office Environments, an innovative design-build company focused on creating experiential office environments that celebrate and enhance your distinct company culture. Founded in 1976 by the Boram family, Aura has evolved into a complete turnkey solution provider, offering a wide range of services including workspace planning, location selection, interior office design and construction management.

 

Contact Information:

Craig Boram  

Marketing Director

Phone: +1 (604) 510-7101

Email: craigb@auraoffice.ca

Case Study: Ram Consulting

Vancouver-based design and construction management consulting firm RAM is a highlight of Aura’s portfolio. Their space is a product of client-ready knowledge and creative problem-solving that helped give one of Western Canada’s most important infrastructure-managing firms room to meet its quickly-growing demand. And to get to that point, Aura would need to assist them in solving problems common to businesses undergoing rapid expansion. Here’s how it all happened.

 

The Problem

In taking on increasing amounts of large-scale work, including project and construction management for major Vancouver-area transportation arteries like the South Fraser Perimeter Road, George Massey Tunnel, and Canada Line Metro, RAM found their old office space insufficiently prepared for expansion. And any renovation would need to keep their workers foremost on their list of priorities: RAM’s core values didn’t just include ethical concerns like safety and integrity, they also held to standards of innovative, forward-thinking solutions, environmental sustainability, and a sense of workplace camaraderie and fun that established their business as a beneficial place for its employees. That combination of expanding business and appealing work environment meant they would need to prepare for a new space that comfortably accommodates a workforce that had the potential to grow by double if not more.

 

The Solution

Aura’s team collaborated with RAM to address their specific needs in ways that handled both concerns — rapid expansion and worker-friendly environment — in overlapping ways. Dedicated lounge areas not only added to the office’s footprint but were situated and arranged in ways that would enable easy communication and socialization between members of the staff. The line between traditional meeting rooms and social spaces was erased thanks to the unobtrusive but accessible placement of furnishings like couches and foosball tables. And the wide variety of seating, desks, and tables gave off an uncluttered, versatile sense that work could be done just about anywhere in the office.

 

The Outcome

Aura’s ability to create a bespoke space that paid attention to both form and function benefitted RAM in the long run. With their myriad teams consolidated into the same space, the company’s ability to facilitate freer and wider communication between different groups has bolstered their workplace’s focus on collaborative empowerment. And the lively, attractive decor underscores RAM’s commitment to giving employees a welcoming place to work.

You can see more in Aura’s online portfolio, and contact us to see how we can help your business, too!

Aura Office Environments Announces Tenant Talks Lunch & Learn Speaker Series

Tenant Talks is a complimentary event series featuring expert insights on office design and workplace culture best practices for companies located in Vancouver.

VANCOUVER, BRITISH COLUMBIA – September 4, 2019 — Aura Office Environments (“Aura”) is pleased to announce the launch of its very first Tenant Talks Lunch & Learn at Spaces in Gastown on Wednesday, October 9th at 12:00 pm. The theme will be centred on Remote Work, a trend that is becoming increasingly widespread throughout various industries as more people enjoy the flexibility it offers. Industry experts and community leaders from leading companies like Quietly, Visier, and the NoW of Work Inc. will share insights on the current and future trends of remote work and consider how the modern workplace can embrace it.

Designing an office should account for more than just budget, practicality, and aesthetics: there’s also a psychological angle to take into account, too,” explained Dan Boram, president and CEO of Aura. “Businesses both small and large have grown to understand that an environmental effect on employees’ psyches — from basic day-to-day moods to socialization patterns and engagement with company goals — can be affected and directed by the way an office space is built, arranged, and decorated. It’s an idea that’s already been put into use for more specialized environments like hospitals and schools, but the workplace — the most common home-away-from-home most people will ever know — has its own needs when it comes to influencing moods and instilling a sense of humanity.

If you’re interested to learn from industry thought leaders, connect with like-minded professionals, and experience innovative VR technology, Aura invites you to *RSVP your attendance. In addition, join the conversation online to ask questions, mingle with other attendees, and stay updated on future Tenant Talks.

*must RSVP to be admitted to the event

About The Speakers

Rocky Ozaki, Founder, NoW of Work – Moderator

Rocky is one of Canada’s most passionate evangelists on the Future of Work who believes that technology, a sharing economy and the connected generation have dramatically changed the way companies attract, engage and retain their people. Companies that fail to embrace this reality will find themselves disrupted or made redundant by an increasingly innovative and agile economy. Rocky couples 10-years of executive HR and operations leadership in large enterprise organizations, with 5-years of startup tech experience. He held the role of Vice-President and Head of Corporate Innovation for the BC Tech Association before co-founding the NoW of Work Inc. – a firm that helps organizations future-proof their business through culture transformation and innovative mindsets, and the NoW-Academy – a bootcamp that inspires and empowers people to leverage modern Operational and People practices. 

 

 

 

Angie Ng, Senior HR Business Partner, Visier – Panelist

Angie is the Senior HR Business Partner at Visier. Currently in her role, she partners with senior leaders and executives across Canada, U.S. and EMEA with remote employees across all three regions. Angie’s HR and talent acquisition  experience spans across multiple industries with companies including O2E Brands and Best Buy.

 

 

 

 

Kraig Doherty, Head of People & Places, Quietly – Panelist

Kraig brings 20-years experience growing and scaling tech & creative companies such as Electronic Arts, Activision Blizzard, Indochino, Invoke and Eventbase. He is the Head of People & Places at Quietly, a full-service content marketing agency in Gastown that works with the likes of MEC, Slack, Herschel and Goldman Sachs on content strategy and execution. Over the course of his career, he has had the opportunity to recruit and hire over 1000 professionals from around the world. His experience spans human resources, culture building, recruiting and talent acquisition, employment branding, office design and construction and community building.

About Tenant Talks

Tenant Talks is a complimentary Lunch & Learn Speaker Series featuring industry experts and community leaders sharing their expertise, knowledge and valuable tips on workplace trends impacting Vancouver companies. Gain key insights over a catered lunch into office design and workplace culture best practices.

About Aura Office Environments

Tenant Talks is presented by Aura Office Environments, an innovative design-build company focused on creating experiential office environments that celebrate and enhance your distinct company culture. Founded in 1976 by the Boram family, Aura has evolved into a complete turnkey solution provider, offering a wide range of services including workspace planning, location selection, interior office design and construction management.

Contact Information:

Craig Boram      

Marketing Director

Phone: +1 (604) 510-7101

Email: craigb@auraoffice.ca

Register Now:

Data-Driven Office Design: Insights That Create Effective Workspaces

While designing an office space requires a lot of creativity, data and analysis come into play as well. You may not think data is pivotal in designing office space, but it is. Going beyond headcount, it’s important to consider everything from typical occupancy numbers, forecasts for hiring, company goals, industry trends, and more. When done properly, data can be used to create an office environment that not only meets the needs of your business but also enhances and celebrates your unique company culture.

Let us dig a bit deeper into how data elements factor into office design.

 

Occupancy Numbers

Where do you stand in terms of occupancy numbers? You may think that occupancy is simply the basis of your headcount, but it goes beyond that. Do all your employees come into the office every day? For those that intend to come in daily, what is their vacation and sick time allotment on an annual basis? All of this data will factor into occupancy.

If your office allows for flexibility in terms of how people work, you may also see the numbers of people physically in the office drive downward. Is working from home an option for many employees? If so, what is the average number of days people come into the office each week?

The goal here is to figure out the average occupancy within the office at any given time. You may end up with a design where everyone has a cubicle or office space. You could also end up with more of a flex space, where people work in a variety of locations daily depending on who is in the office or not. Why set up and design an office space for 100 people when, on average, you only have 60 in the office? Make use of every inch of your existing square footage with an experiential office design!

 

Forecasts for Hiring

Do you have plans to either expand or shrink the size of your employee base over the next few years? If you plan to double the number of employees you have over the next five years, go with an office design that meets the needs of that bigger employee base now. If you do not have dedicated space for them today, now is the time to invest in a scalable office design. 

It is important to think about forecasts for hiring as it will help you avoid having to do multiple redesigns over a short period of time. Say you have 50 employees today, but in a few years, you expect to have another 50 join the team. If you design a space for 50 now, but it is not something you can scale, or you lack the square footage to even do so, you’ll need to make big changes when the future new employees join . the team. The major expense of doing a whole new office move and redesign makes what you are doing now wasteful. Plan for today, but also plan for the coming years by considering your intentions for hiring.

 

Company Goals

What are some of the goals of your company? Who are you trying to attract when it comes to employees? All these factors are important to consider for your office design. If you want to attract and keep the best Millennial talent, for example, you’ll want more open concept spaces. Millennials enjoy having areas to collaborate with one another and so building open spaces where they can come together to share ideas, work through engagement is important. If Millennials are not your target, you may want to go with the different office design.

Your company goals will shape largely where you end up with office design. Technology companies may want a space that showcases their vision. More traditional companies may seek designs that keep them ground to their roots. Ultimately, you’re more likely to design an office environment that aligns with your bigger, overarching company goals by keeping them top of mind throughout the entire process.  

 

Industry Trends

Are there trends in the industry that will impact your office design in the short and long-term? Likely one of the most common trends that companies must learn to navigate now is work from home. More employees than ever seek this option, so plan for it when it comes to office design. It’s also important to consider other industry trends, such as having dedicated office spaces, cafeterias, common areas, relaxation rooms, and more. Staying up with the latest trends in the industry will ensure your new office environment meets the needs of your employees and help you acquire new talent. 

 

In the end, data can influence the entire direction of your office design. At the core of our company lies the Aura Integrated Experience, our unique approach to delivering a seamless execution of your design-build project. Taking all the data elements discussed above into consideration, we work closely with you to build an understanding of your needs and expectations; your space and location requirements; and the type of office environment that would best fit your company culture. In doing so, we create experiential office environments that will meet your needs in the short and long-term.

Reach out to us for a complimentary design consultation and get started today!

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.

 

Colour

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.

 

Crowding

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.

 

Choice

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

What is Biophilic Design?

Designing a workspace in a way that connects to the natural environment is known as biophilic design. The concept of biophilic design includes the use of indirect and direct nature as well as place and space conditions.

The name biophilic is relatively new. However, the idea of connecting buildings to their surrounding environments in a natural way has been noted in architecture dating back as far as the building of the Hanging Gardens of Babylon. Today, biophilic design is used at the scale of buildings and entire cities in many different types of environments.

The idea of biophilic design continues to proliferate in architecture circles because of its proven benefits to the health, economy and environment of its users.

 

The Beginning of the Biophilic Idea

Modern biophilic design can be said to have its roots in the biophilia hypothesis. This is an idea that is defined by seminal theoretical biologist Edward O. Wilson as the human instinct to focus on life and processes that imitate life. The hypothesis is based on the idea that humans focus on life and its ancillary doppelgangers as a technique of survival. In higher forms of thinking, human beings also focus on these processes as a means of personal fulfillment. For instance, enjoying oneself in a nature preserve is a form of the biophilic hypothesis at work. Owning a pet or buying a house that stands close to a waterfront are also forms of this hypothesis.

 

The Kellert Principles

Stephen Kellert is known as a father of biophilic design because of his widely accepted principles and framework around the idea. Below is a short summary of his biophilic framework.

The Direct Experience of Nature

The direct experience of nature designs that have quantifiable contact with common features of nature such as light, air, water, plants, animals and natural landscapes. Contact with these features usually corresponds with a heightened sense of space and connectivity within the environment.

The Indirect Experience of Nature

The indirect experience of nature speaks of a design coming into contact with representations and images of nature. These may include pure images such as photographs or professional paintings; natural materials or colors placed within the building design; natural air and light simulations; simulations of natural shapes within the design of a building; “information richness”; biomimicry; natural geometries; invoking natural changes within the Patina of Time and otherwise evoking nature in a project’s structural design.

The Experience of Space and Place

Biophilic design can also enhance well being through the spatial relationships between a design and its surrounding environment. The concepts that are used to flesh out this idea include Cultural and Ecological Attachment to Place; Mobility; Transitional Spaces, Integration of PArts, Organized Complexity and Prospect and Refuge. It is the job of the building architect to understand which of these concepts is the best fit for a project or landscape because each of them is usually meant to be experienced and considered individually.

 

Bringing Biophilic Design to a Municipal Scale

Timothy Beatley, an internationally recognized municipal planner and green urbanism author, is an important voice in scaling the idea of biophilic design from buildings to entire cities. Beatley believes that the primary objective of biophilic municipalities is to cater to the residents of the location so that they choose to actively participate in maintaining the biophilic nature of the landscape.

In keeping with this idea, Beatley designed a framework of ideas to help architects build cities around the biophilic notion. The dimensions forming his framework include Biophilic Institutions and Governance; Biophilic Attitudes and Knowledge; Biophilic Activities and Biophilic Conditions and Infrastructure.

 

The Benefits of Biophilic Design

On all scales, biophilic design has been shown to have certain benefits for environments as well as building occupants. Below are just a few of the benefits that are considered most relevant.

  • Health benefits – Medical professionals have found that biophilic elements in an environment may speed up recovery in mental health cases and in cases of physiological stress. For instance, a study conducted by Catherine Ryan, et al. found that aromatherapy use on post-surgical patients reduced the need for morphine and other painkillers by 45% and 56%, respectively. Other studies have found that simply having plants indoors increases pain tolerance and improves stress resistance in patients. It has been found that the presence of water also helps in restoring mental health. Simply putting patients in outdoor facilities helped them increase physical activity, reduce depression, build social capital and even avoid conditions like asthma and infant mortality rates.
  • Environmental benefits – It can be argued that building up the environment with biophilic principles allows for better management of potentially destructive environmental elements such as stormwater runoff. Biophilic designs can even turn these elements around to be helpful to the environment, as in the case that excess greywater is utilized to water greenery. Building vegetative walls also help to reduce the instance of polluted water in an environment; plants are natural biofilters. Building these “walls” with enough durability can even reduce carbon emissions and the temperature of an environment.
  • Economic benefits – Although the initial implementation of biophilic elements has an upfront cost, these costs are more than negated through the environmental and health benefits mentioned above. There are also direct benefits. Experts predict that New York City could save up to $470 million by implementing biophilic designs. Surprisingly, incorporating biophilic design could also reduce the expense of crime in the city by a whopping $1.7 billion.
  • Municipal resilience and sustainability – Beatley has stated that biophilic design helps cities better withstand municipal stressors, especially climate changes. His ideas are beginning to be used in building designs and recognized by watchdog organizations such as the Living Building Challenge and the WELL Building Standard.

 

Biophilia vs Biophobia

Just as biophilia exists, so too does the idea of biophobia. The suffix -phobia refers to a fear of something, so biophobia generally means a human’s fear of animals and nature, especially a fear that is inherited in some way.

Contact Aura Office Environments and speak with our design specialists on bringing a little more nature to the scene for your next office redesign!

Employee Fulfillment & Overhauling Your Space Design

As we move towards the future, individuals want to know that they’re more important than machines and are searching for work that taps into the human experience. So when an employee is searching for such an experience and leaning towards meaningful work, much of what they’re looking for is a space that will not only keep them motivated but make them feel like an individual with a meaningful job that won’t be easily replaced. Thankfully, employee perspectives, scientific support, and bright spots in the space design industry have been studied to improve the employee experience as a whole.

 

Work Evolution & Employee Value

We’re on the brink of a new era in which we are looking for a higher sense of purpose and meaning in our work. With both of these circumstances being a core narrative of our workplace, office space design has tapped into neuroscience and psychology to advance a positive change in the space planning of the future. Automation and artificial intelligence are looking to accelerate the new world of workplaces, so office space design is focused on making employees have a sense of meaning and purpose in their engagement practices.

 

Space Design & Employee Experience

To feel fulfilled at work, one must be in an environment in which our sense of purpose and our intrinsic motivations are being tapped. This feeling can be generated by two main neurochemicals, dopamine, and oxytocin, in which the brain will release to reward behaviours to be valued for our own survival. A brain is a powerful tool and extensive research has proven that brain chemistry will motivate us in several positive ways. When certain chemicals are released throughout the workday, workers will feel more satisfied with what they’re doing. Employees who feel fulfilled are more likely to spend 3+ years with a company than those who don’t feel fulfilled. 

 

Growth, Impact, & Relationships

The three major factors that contribute to a fulfilling work life are:

  • Growth – A challenge in which we overcome.
  • Impact – The act in which a goal is getting results.
  • Relationships – A connection to others and a sense of importance.

With employees having their work-life boundaries increasingly blurred together, employees want to search for opportunities that allow them to pursue and explore what gives them purpose. They want to have meaning in their work, so having an office space design that encourages them to do so is incredibly fulfilling. If an employee can’t feel fulfilled or find purpose in their line of work, it’s likely that they’ll be looking elsewhere. That’s right, some employees would not only look elsewhere for a fulfilling job, but they’d be willing to take less pay for it.

 

Providing Some Structure

Although personalization is difficult to scale and the search for meaning can be a highly personal endeavour, a bit of structure in the office space design and space planning can assist employees on their journey to more fulfilling work life. Having a setup that offers reverse mentorship planning, stretch assignments, innovation labs, rotational opportunities, or rewards for milestone experiences, it helps employees have a meaningful and deeper relationship with their job. By offering space that allows employees to understand the impact they make on the company, they’ll be more excited to help the business grow–and coworkers who experience other’s success will also be more inclined to work hard for the benefit of the company. By building an office environment that lets employees know they’re part of a team, they’ll be more than willing to assist a company in its growth.

 

Space Planning: Don’t Forget Culture!

Culture plays a bigger part in the workspace planning process than one would realize. Between a company’s purpose, strategy, and overall employee experience, evolving the workspace design is important. What’s usually defined as “how things operate at this establishment”, workplace culture can support and reinforcement for employees who are searching for a greater meaning in the work they perform. Although culture is more of a matter of doing (as opposed to saying), businesses looking to evolve their culture must focus on issues such as:

  • Paying attention to behaviour that touches on growth, impact, and relationships.
  • Highlighting leaders to signal and model behaviours to other employees.
  • Tapping into the influencers who energize the surrounding individuals to create a purpose-driven culture.

Businesses that successfully tap into employee sentiment nurture employees that believe fulfillment is possible at their jobs. However, much of what happens after receiving such information relies on you and how you improve on such data with your office space design. By understanding that much of this information is rooted in employees developing/growing, making progress, and having a sense of belonging, businesses can foster that information into their workspace planning.

 

Leaders & Followers

When it comes to modeling and signaling behaviours for a fulfilling experience at work, leaders are incredibly important. They can be powerful allies in the influence of what fulfillment looks like. Pairing a great leader with precision workspace planning, a business can be unstoppable and employees will feel fulfilled at the end of the workday.

In consideration of the information above, there are plenty of ways your company can tap into employee sentiment to overhaul your office space design. If you don’t have such programs put into place yet, these tips are an excellent way to start. For more tips on how your company can achieve maximum effort from your staff, contact Aura Office Environments for more information on how we can help you.

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.

The Benefits of Leasehold Improvements For Growing Business

In the business world, change can come at you pretty quick. When rapid growth happens at the ground level, sometimes productivity and employee efficiency aren’t the first thing your office will need to worry about. Sometimes, the first priority is your office space itself. When an office environment becomes too small, or inefficiently houses your staff and limits the achievability of your company culture and goals, there are a few options.

Continue reading “The Benefits of Leasehold Improvements For Growing Business”