How to create inspiring and healthy workspaces

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Accredited to
Janet Lowe, Head of Marketing UK & Ireland at Forbo Flooring Systems

In the office design sector designers are being challenged to create inspiring workplaces that will positively impact on staff productivity, health and wellbeing. In recent years research has clearly shown the benefits of offering employees a more comfortable and nurturing environment. But how can this be achieved?

We are seeing a more sophisticated trend emerging in workspace design. Office design schemes are morphing into leisure and hospitality inspired spaces, blurring the lines between work and life, and creating welcoming, open and fluid environments which are characterised by the use of visual interest, texture, shape and the careful use of colour.

Alongside this, biophilic design continues to grow as natural décor is making its way into modern offices. Bringing the outside-in through the incorporation of daylight, plants and a visible connection to nature can relieve stress and improve mental wellbeing, with nature said to have a naturally calming effect on humans.

While it is commonly dictated that we are drawn to natural textures like wood and stone, there is an increasing demand for more varied surface finishes within office design to create more interesting and stimulating environments. The look and feel of textured materials have the ability to add depth and dimension to a space, without being distracting in a professional setting.

Colourful, vibrant workplaces have also increasingly become the norm, as companies tune into the importance of colour and the impact that different colours can have. There is no doubt that colour plays a fundamental role in the way we perceive the world around us and the power of colour within the workplace has the potential to subconsciously affect the brain, impacting on employee productivity, as well as their general mood. Therefore, it is for this reason that Forbo’s latest Flotex floor covering focuses on colour.

Offering the warmth, comfort and acoustic properties of a textile floor covering, combined with practical and hygienic benefits of a resilient, Forbo’s Flotex Colour collection consists of subtle tones and pared back hues, inspired by the surfaces of urban builds and vibrant colour pops of city lights. Available in a spectrum of 96 shades and 5 unique designs to choose from: Metro, Penang, Calgary, Savannah and new to 2019, Canyon, the designs can create inspiring and stimulating workspaces. Flotex Colour is available in a plank, sheet and tile format to allow for further design freedom.

More thought is also going into how interior products affect employee wellbeing. While polluted air is rarely visible to the naked eye, air quality greatly influences the wellbeing and productivity of office staff. It is especially caused by poor ventilation and the evaporation of volatile organic compounds (VOC emissions) from building materials, furniture and floor coverings. And with 21 million adults in the UK suffering from allergic reactions, it is important that airborne allergens are considered within office design, too.

Forbo’s Flotex for example is designed to enhance the performance of any interior. It is built to last, with ultra-low VOC emissions and zero phthalates. The floor covering has also been awarded the prestigious Allergy UK Seal of Approval™, as a result of the positive effect it can have on reducing allergens in the atmosphere. Furthermore, the WELL Building Standard® recommends the use of entrance matting as an important tool to reduce pollutants entering the building.

For truly integrated solutions, taking a holistic approach in workspace design can be achieved by combining different colours and textures and choosing floor finishes that work seamlessly together. Using variations of floor coverings, such as Allura Flex luxury vinyl tiles with Flotex, allows the creation of zones, adding depth, for collaborative interior office spaces.

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