Office improvement ideas: 8 ways to refresh your workspace

Caitlin Goble, Project Designer Design, Wellbeing
Modern office break area with teal walls, wooden bookshelves, a cozy booth with a green couch and a wooden table, and stylish hanging light fixtures.

The environments we live and work in influence our feelings and actions during the day, and the workplace is no different. Whether working from home, from the office, or from a third space, our environment has the potential to bring out the best in us. We spend sizeable parts of our lifetimes at work, and creating workspaces that are conducive to wellbeing, creativity and mindset are key for businesses and their employees to thrive and grow.

But, it doesn’t always require a total redesign to create such a workspace. Small, quick changes can make instant improvements. Here are eight quick wins that you can implement right away to breathe new life into your work environment.

1. Let in natural light

Countless studies have found that natural light can help to prevent eye strain, headaches and migraines, seasonal affective disorder and more. Daylight also helps to boost creativity, energy levels and positivity. Prioritise desking at window points and move quiet areas and breakout spaces further inland. Here’s how we did it for ECI Partners and for TSP at 60 Ironmonger Row.

An office kitchen, complete with artwork, kitchen table and chairs, pendant lighting, and potted plants

2. Free the workplace from clutter

Clutter can be a distraction and can make it difficult to find the things you need. Clearing away the unnecessary items and objects within a space can encourage heightened focus. Try to create a balance between a visually engaging space and purposeful placemaking, and communicate this message across the business. Keep working areas clear and shelves and cupboards neat and tidy.

At Peldon Rose HQ, we implemented dynamic partition units that double as shelving and storage, and installed lockers for every employee to encourage them to support our ‘Clear Desk Policy’.

If you don’t already recycle, you can encourage this by clear labelling waste storage, helping people to become more aware of the materials they’re consuming. Try to print as little as possible and prioritise reusable materials.

3. Add a little colour

Colour stimulates different areas of the mind and can be used to great benefit throughout the workplace. For example, blue boosts problem-solving and focus, green elevates optimism and resilience and orange brings warmth and energy. Remember that colour also solidifies brand image within your workspace, so even adding subtle accents of just one or two colours of your brand palette could really make a difference. See how we created corners of delight and unlocked brand expression for XTX Markets and Vitality.

Stylish office interior design showcasing a blend of industrial elements and chic furnishings

4. Comfort is key

An exceptional design is nothing without exceptional functionality, and a comfortable workspace makes for one that is more inviting and memorable to employees and clients alike.

Take the time to show your people how to configure their workstations for optimal comfort. The ability to raise and lower chairs or desks, align computer screens and adjust brightness levels will help employees to avoid injury and stay happy all day.

Encourage people to take breaks, move their bodies and take time away from screens on occasion for their own wellbeing, too. Empower and educate your employees to work ergonomically. By communicating how to adapt workstations to achieve maximum comfort, you’re simultaneously helping them to work healthier and happier.

5. Perfect your room temperature

Studies suggest that finding the right office temperature can be a tricky task - some people prefer colder temperatures, while others like their workplace to be warmer. A 2015 study found that most office temperatures are set based on men’s metabolic rates - and women are often too cold in the workplace. To combat this, you can add thermostats to meeting and common areas, and find a temperature in focus areas that suits the line of best fit.

6. Experiment with scent

The Takasago Corporation in Japan conducted research that found that certain scents improve typing accuracy. 54% made fewer mistakes when they could smell lemon, 33% fewer with jasmine and 20% with lavender.

Subtle scents create a welcoming, soothing atmosphere that can delight employees and visitors, adding an extra layer of magnetism to the workplace, encouraging people to focus, rest, and connect more throughout the day. You may even want to try scent zoning various types of space throughout the office. Other smells can be overpowering and distracting; encourage eating away from work areas and keep food away from meeting rooms to avoid distraction and get people moving around the space.

7. Spruce up the workplace with biophilic design

Incorporating plants into the workplace can increase people’s attention span, reduce stress and improve productivity and mood. Some studies have even found that biophilic design reduces absence by up to 50%, and minor illnesses by as much as 33%.

Maintaining plants in the office is easier than you may think. Some require low effort to keep healthy, and thrive in an office environment, like the Snake plant and ZZ plant. At our office in leafy Wimbledon, we have many varieties of indoor plants sharing the space with us, cleaning the air and bringing the outside in. We always incorporate biophilia into our designs, like at Park Garage Group and Sopra Steria.

Large office reception area with pendant lighting and indoor planting
Office planting integrated into leather banquette seating
Office space with employees laughing at a stylish table and chairs, with lots of interior plants and exposed mechanical and electrical services

8. Introduce dynamic spaces

We now know that work is not a singular state for the modern employee. We have different types of work tasks, different personalities and work modes, as well as a variety of preferences and needs that, when abetted, enable us to be our best selves during the working day. The office can support this by flexing and adapting to each of our needs, depending on the purpose behind them.

A supportive, dynamic office space should have a variety of zones or areas, not specific to teams or meetings, but instead to purpose. Implementing dedicated areas for focus, collaboration, socialisation, learning and rest respectively empower teams to choose how and where they work, communicate more easily, and craft a workday that is truly exceptional.

Be sure to think about how to make these spaces inclusive for all and communicate how each space is intended to be used, so that everyone can enjoy them without a hitch. Here’s how we enhanced culture and collaboration for ECI Partners.

A brightly lit office reception area with a velvet yellow sofa, exposed ceiling services, and a marble reception desk

When a quick refresh is not enough

There is plenty that you can do to refresh your workplace and give it a new lease of life, but there will eventually come a time where this isn’t quite enough. Maybe you’ve outgrown your current space, or you are unable to reconfigure it for your workforce’s needs. Does the space no longer align with your brand and business ambition? Perhaps the furniture and technology are outdated and no longer comfortable, or no longer meets your needs.

This is where Peldon Rose comes in. Whether you’re relocating to a new home, refurbishing your existing space or are not yet sure what’s best for you, Peldon Rose combines a flair for capturing the hearts and mind of people with exceptional office interior design, guiding you through the process in its entirety. See more of our work below, or contact us to map out your journey to an exceptional workplace.

Detail shot of brown terazzo worktop with brown leather seating

Start your workplace transformation today.

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