Holistic thinking has been increasingly popular in the modern workplace, helping professionals rethink everything from hiring to project management to office design, although you might consider it a bit of a buzzword at this point.
Really, holistic office design hinges on incorporating all aspects of an ecosystem, often focusing on sustainability, aesthetics, flow and workplace wellness all at once. Here are some of the qualities, benefits and ideas that surround holistic design — which might just tell you why it’s here to stay.
1. Championing sustainability
Sustainability has become much more popular in recent years, especially as people have started to pay more attention to the world around them. Survey data from 2019 indicated that 70% of surveyed corporate employees would even accept lower pay if they could work for a company with a strong sense of environmental responsibility.
This preference is most strongly felt among younger workers, which isn’t a surprise when thinking about generational shifts in workplace preferences. This is where holistic office design can come into play. Business owners, facilities managers and construction and design professionals can ensure their office build-out and renovation goals are in line with the company’s agenda for sustainability.
Holistic office design sees environmental goals as critical for overall well-being. This perspective aims for sustainability to become a priority within shared spaces. Designers can achieve this by using recycled materials, mapping the sun’s movement to determine the cooling and heating required, as well as keeping waste to a minimum as much as possible.
2. Enabling connection
Connection is a hot topic in the pandemic-era workplace. Many companies are navigating hybrid teams and disconnected new employees for the first time as they learn how to manage and navigate flexibility. Even if your team is not fully remote, tooling the office environment for better connection and building the infrastructure for remote team members is essential.
One of the reasons why holistic design is bound to stick around, and why it can be so useful, is because it encourages fostering a sense of connection both within the space and to the world around you. This perspective is essential for creating a layout that helps everyone adjust to a new normal.
Connection-oriented holistic design approaches might focus on the importance of floor plan flexibility. This lets workers adjust their work setting depending on the priorities of the moment — private desks for deep work or more collaborative, open meeting spaces for communication. It also plans spaces with a flow between work and break time, letting people find space away from their work to refresh and connect with each other throughout the day.
3. Embracing nature
Modern workplaces also need to embrace natural elements, including plants and green space, natural lighting and healthy airflow. Designing for wellness and embracing natural environments go hand-in-hand, and many offices have found creative ways to incorporate more nature into their design in recent years.
Holistic design is essential here. This design approach can combine functionality with the need for wellness. For example, one of the primary components of holistic office design is the use of light within a space. Not only does the availability of natural light help to uplift plenty of spaces, but on average, Americans still spend about 90% of their time indoors.
This is why techniques like sun lamps and human-centric lighting can be so crucial to creating holistic spaces. When care and attention are taken in the design of office spaces, not only can you help to consistently uplift employees and their productivity, but you will also likely save money on electricity in the long run.
4. Creating a workplace culture
Creating a culture that blends well with holistic design is beneficial for the design itself and also for those who work within the spaces. Having a holistic culture within your workplace can be refreshing for workers, which can translate to employees sticking around for longer and being more satisfied with their jobs.
So what does this actually mean in practice? Embracing flexible scheduling and movement for team members, aligning goals with a company-wide mission and practicing good, people-first management are all ingredients of a strong workplace culture.
Holistic design can help the physical environment match up with your desired work culture. If you notice that the company culture becomes more uplifted with more holistic design techniques, this could be a sign that things are headed in the right direction.
Future-proof office design
The last few years have proven that trends can be unpredictable. Holistic design isn’t just about thinking about the best practices at present. This is why it isn’t a passing fad — it’s specifically designed to foster longevity.
Some of the ways in which this comes into play aren’t just the obvious sustainability angles for the planet, but also sustainability for those who work within the space. By creating a natural and holistic environment with a sense of composure and balance, those who exist in these spaces can continue to thrive.
When people find value in design techniques year after year, they cease to be fads and just become a part of life. And wellness, nature and connection will always be an essential part of life.
Holistic office design is here to stay
Although there are plenty of office design trends that come and go, holistic office design has proven itself time and time again to be more than just a passing fad.
From the company culture it helps to build within a space to the sustainability it can offer, there are so many reasons to get a little bit more holistic with the layout of a workplace. Do you find that holistic design helps you function better?