Top 10 ways to inspire employees with office design Office working still necessary for productivity, study finds


Mayborn “Tea House” meeting room

Unilever Aladdin choice of working areas

We know from numerous recent studies that our environment and surroundings play a large part in shaping our thinking and even our personality.

And post-Covid a recent study has concluded that working in an office with others at least 3 days per week is highly relevant to productivity.

So it stands to reason that as we spend so much of our lives in a workplace or work environment, it is essential for companies and their managers to create an environment that empowers people with the right space to work, think and collaborate naturally.

There are many affordable ways in which even small and medium-sized companies on a tight budget can design their office space uniquely.

According to a quality workspace design leads to a less stressful and more productive atmosphere. So, it is essential that employers take the physical work environment of their employees into consideration. Employees need to feel comfortable and calm in their physical work settings to produce their best work.

So, in this item we are offering you 10 top tips for simple, design elements for your workplace. This will help you achieve the optimum working space to inspire your people, enhance their wellbeing, boost their productivity and encourage the most talented people to join you!

1 Colour

Use office colours strategically because people react differently to certain shades. For example, red can get employees excited about where they work, while blue and green can communicate feelings of relaxation, hopefulness and calm. See our work for SharkNinja in Leeds where the breakout areas are in calming shades of soft blues, turquoises and pale greens while the working areas are in more vibrant colours.

White is too bland to be the wall colour of an innovatively designed modern office space. Using an array of colours and modern graphic designs in your office is an inexpensive way to go creative. Make your workspace visually appealing by including artwork, brand messages or theme-based motifs. You can also include models representing your key projects so that your clients and staff can connect better to your business.


Our use of colour and brand messages in the SharkNinja European HQ in Leeds

2 Go non-uniform

Often companies select office furniture components that completely match each other. Uniformity in design is the easiest way to smother individuality. Consider using contrasting yet complementary furnishings, or even different themes for separate rooms or departments. See examples from our own designs below.


An eclectic mix of office furniture we installed for Communicator Corp, Newcastle and Search in Manchester

3 Champion home working

Encourage part time home-working if possible and consider your workplace as a vital space for collaboration. This will result in the perception of your “office” as a vibrant place where employees choose to base themselves and enjoy positive teamwork and feedback, rather than a negative space where they are imprisoned 9 -5. Make sure your collaborative and meeting areas are comfortable.

4 Introduce designated breakout spaces and lounges

Relaxing areas with comfortable seating and lower lighting give your people space to relax and socialise. Even better if they are set up like a coffee shop or café, they allow the body and mind to rest, which improves productivity and focus at work. See below some breakout areas we have designed and fitted in workplaces which have been enthusiastically received by staff.


Mayborn offices, Newcastle upon Tyne

Designated breakout areas we designed and fitted for Mayborn Group and for Turnitin

5 Adaptable furniture

Look for well-designed furniture that is comfortable, can be moved easily and has multiple uses. We supply amazing ranges of sturdy but light, modern, workplace desks and chairs, stools, storage units, sit-stand desks, mobile meeting booths, stand-alone screens, partitions and mobile private phone boxes. We always encourage our clients to use good quality, “agile” and adaptable products for their offices to allow for organisations’ ever-changing needs, as well as staff comfort and perception of their worth. This type of furniture enables focus without sacrificing collaboration and worker wellbeing.

6 Private areas for concentrated work

People often find it disruptive and frustrating trying to do highly concentrated work or make private calls in a noisy open-plan office – especially if they have loud voiced colleagues! It is essential to provide
additional areas for focused working, sensitive phone calls and private impromptu meetings. Acoustic sound-proofed rooms and acoustic pods are often the answer and can be a fit-out (fixed) or furniture solution (mobile).

Acoustic pods are separate, designated working areas of various styles and sizes placed within an open plan office. They can be a high-backed seating area with table for several people; a screen with a desk inside, a fully enclosed and sound-proofed zone for focused work or confidential phone calls, or an informal seating area surrounded by sound absorbing materials or baffles for meetings. In short – they give your people a greater choice of working zones, whilst keeping noise disruption, both for them and others – to a minimum. See some private areas and acoustic pods we have fitted for clients below.


Private areas for concentrated work and acoustic pods which we have designed and fitted for Unilever and Equifax

7 Good IT!

Accommodating several generations in one office has left employers with a difficult challenge to ensure each worker’s requirements are met, and that everyone has a way to keep learning and working effectively.

According to recent research, poor or slow technology was cited as the most frustrating factor for nearly a third of Generation Z workers reflecting just how important it is to embrace innovation in the workplace in order to maintain a diverse company culture and attract and retain talent.
With the rapid advancement of technology over the past decade, businesses must ensure they are taking advantage of new technology to upskill and better equip a multi-aged workforce which will consequently be more efficient and more productive.

Encouraging the usage of online instant communication tools, or webinar and screen-sharing tech can help ensure that an increasingly flexible workforce is always able to communicate and feel connected to colleagues, clients and managers.

Online learning platforms mean that employees of all ages can quickly and easily access knowledge they need and are able to share this knowledge digitally with others.

To boost productivity and encourage people to feel motivated and valued, businesses must offer their staff ongoing access to the latest IT equipment and training and provide the optimum atmosphere in the workplace to deliver it.

8 Natural light

Lighting can be overlooked when considering office design, but it can have a significant impact on the health of your staff and your company image.

Natural daylight is one of the best assets in office design. Ideally, natural light should take the lead, with artificial lighting increasing the light to sufficient levels. The aim should be to make people feel connected to the outside world whilst being able to work comfortably. If you’re choosing a new workplace, this is such an important factor to take into consideration.

According to research carried out by Cohere for the Green Building Council, daylight is the number one most wanted natural element in workplace design – and workplaces with good natural light had a 3% – 40% gain in productivity and sales over those without.

Exposure to light is responsible for sleeping and feeling well and affects our productivity. Today, most people work indoors and when there is a lack of natural light people can feel tired and listless. Good lighting at work is much more than simple illumination, it can inspire and establish mood at work and is therefore a must for productivity – as well as aesthetics.


Glass partitions and lots of natural light in these workplaces we designed and fitted in Leeds

9 Bringing the outside inside

Scientists and researchers have recorded benefits in buildings that connect people with nature, such as hospitals where patients have healed faster; schools where children’s test scores have risen, and offices where employees are more productive, as well as communities where neighbours and families are doing better.

The Human Spaces website has released a report saying that introducing the natural world into the work space (technical term = biophilic design) has been a crucial determinant of both and employee’s success and happiness in his or her role in the workplace

According to this report, office workers who had access to natural elements such as greenery and sunlight reported a 13% higher level of wellbeing and an 8% productivity rate than colleagues without.

As specialists in 21st century workplace design, where possible Ben Johnson Interiors always encourage clients to introduce biophilic elements into their workplaces.

See examples of these in the workplaces we have designed and fitted below:


“Living” wall at LCF Law in Leeds and “The Park” meeting area at Mayborn Group in Newcastle

10 Inspiring extras

Finally – there are many more extras which can be incorporated into your workplace which will inspire and enthuse your people.

  • Writable walls and dry-erase markers are an excellent way for your employees to brainstorm, take notes or just squiggle.
  • Introduce some health-focused furniture, such as standing desks and stability ball chairs and a treadmill and exercise bike
  • Personal desk lights for staff can save on electricity, while providing individual control to employees. Also, fluorescent lights must be avoided, while opting for pendant or track lightings.
  • Motivational quotes and branding statements on walls are a great way of inspiring and uniting people.
  • Games can be included in social areas to promote bonding. While pool tables and table tennis are now commonplace, more savvy companies are already opting for PlayStations and similar.


We supplied exercise balls at Circus Marketing and adjustable furniture with integrated power points at SharkNinja

The Benefits

The advantages of such distinct office design as described above are several, including:

  • Makes work enjoyable for employees, in contrast to the drudgery of a lacklustre workplace.
  • Attracts creative people to join your company.
  • Cultivates the spirit of innovation among employees.
  • Assures the staff that you value their presence and contribution to your business.
  • Boosts employee job satisfaction indices.
  • Curbs staff attrition rate.