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Increasing Employee Productivity With Branded Corporate Office Environments

Increasing Employee Productivity With Branded Corporate Office Environments

Branded environments provide corporations significant value in multiple ways, including attracting and retaining top talent, jump-starting innovation, and increasing sales and brand impact.

Another key benefit of branded environments is that they help to boost corporate office employee productivity, in two substantial ways:

  • First, through instilling corporate mission, value and strategy via graphic and architectural design that aligns employees with their employers
  • Second, by creating a wider variety of flexible, task-focused, and simply cooler workspace choices where people prefer to work

This article will expand upon how these two key drivers can help today’s corporations boost their team’s productivity.

Why Do Branded Corporate Environments Matter For Productivity?

“At a time when so many companies are starved for growth, senior leaders must bring a productivity mindset to their business.” — Michael Mankins in Harvard Business Review

Following a decade of work force reductions and the unwanted but necessary adoption of hyper lean practices in order to just stay afloat, today’s wiser corporate leaders understand that current and future team members are not only looking for the bi-monthly paycheck, but that they are seeking instead an inspiring corporate culture that fits their personal values and work ethic.

To help propel and inspire future leaders in this new economic dawn, companies are beginning to realize how important a part the office interior plays in inspiring workers to greater levels of productivity and entrepreneurial thought.

 The Psychology + Efficacy of the Branded Office Interior

“Interior design psychology is a field within environmental psychology, which concerns the environmental conditions of the interior. It is a direct study of the relationship between an environment and how that environment affects the behavior of its inhabitants, with the aim of maximizing the positive effects of this relationship.” – Wikipedia

Corporations are eager to gain valuable psychological benefits of branded corporate interior design and how it affects human productivity in the workplace:

  • Branded corporate environments anchor a company’s core purpose
  • Branded corporate environments project a company’s values
  • Branded corporate environments express a company’s strategy
  • Branded corporate environments connect functional teams
  • Branded corporate environments foster innovation and ‘blue ocean‘ thinking in focused, set-aside spaces

Creating a space that elevates the work experience demonstrates a higher level of care. Making your corporate space unique and special helps your employees to feel unique and special in your office space.

Image Source: Inscape

How to Brand Your Office Interior to Improve Productivity Via Team Building & Stronger Corporate Culture

According to the Gensler U.S. Workplace Survey 2019, the number one attribute of a great workplace is to “promote team building and collaboration.” 43% of employees surveyed agreed with this statement.

This finding supports the value of branded environments, because branded environments accelerate teambuilding by directing all employees in the same direction by surrounding employees with the company mission, heritage, values, and branding.

As we wrote in a previous blog post about company culture, you are more likely to attract and retain people aligned with your mission when your facility itself communicates it via branded environments.

And employees do want to know about company culture. Gensler even found that 29% of employees consider “communicate shared mission, values and culture” an important attribute of the best workplaces.

With branded environments you get your employees on the same page. You show how important your culture and strategy are by showcasing it where employees walk and work every day.

Content that builds your company culture includes statements about mission, vision, and values, but also about your company strategy, logos, clients, heritage, achievements, locations, founders, top achievers, brand artifacts, and more.

Branded environments have many audiences worth investing in influencing, including clients, prospects, channel partners, and media. Yet for many corporations, perhaps their most valuable audience to persuade is their current employees.

The Power of Color in the Workplace

Designers have many tools to communicate with when conceiving branded environments. Yet few are as simple and powerful as color.

The boldness of color can energize a formerly dull and literally depressing workspace. So much so, that color needs to be used wisely, to increase energy without creating excessive tension.

Greens, blues, and yellows are seen as colors that boost both employee mood and their productivity. Reds can get the heart pumping stronger, so they should be used to spark emotion or for emphasis.

Most of all, larger images with your corporate brand colors can physically surround your employees with the messages you want them to absorb. Find a balance between colors that affect your employee’s mood with colors that represent your company brand.


ThermoFisher Scientific Customer Experience Center, High Point

Image Source: Office Snapshots, Hortonworks HQ, Santa Clara

Incorporate Environmental Graphics + Street Art that Reflects Your Work Culture

Companies commonly use graphics within branded environments to display their company mission, values, heritage, and other cultural touchstones. Yet there’s more that environmental graphics can do for imbuing company culture.

Image Source: Office Snapshots, Silicon Valley Bank, NYC

Companies can also employ large, environmental mural graphics to create immersive environments which convey their company culture, even without explicitly stating their mission statements or posting their corporate timelines. These environmental graphics convey a mood, add flair, and express a sense of playfulness that gives employees permission to release their creativity.

Image Source: Office Snapshots, Vans HQ, Costa Mesa

So, as we have just seen, branded environments improve employee productivity through graphically conveying and instilling a common corporate culture. Now, let’s look at how branded environments boost productivity through workspace design.

Employees Able To Choose Workspace Variety Perform Better

When employees can choose from a variety of workspace types, they perform better and are more satisfied, especially when those choices include working in mostly open workspaces that allow for collaboration and team building, with on-demand private spaces accessible as needed.

That’s the conclusion of the 2019 Gensler U.S. Workplace Survey, based on input from more than 6,000 office workers.

Gensler U.S. Workplace Study 2019

Choice in the workplace means different things to different people. Of course, we all work in different ways.  Some of us thrive in teams and some of us thrive alone. Some of us are comfortable working all day in our closed-door offices. Some us need to move around the office throughout the day, and some of us even need to escape to a local coffee shop with our laptop from time to time to keep the creative ideas flowing and to hammer through the to-do list. Allowing team members to decide what workplace autonomy means to them is key to boosting workforce productivity.

Image Source: Inscape, Inscape Bench with 120-degree Workstations

Untethered from a dedicated desk, employees prefer to choose workplace areas that fit their task, mood, and need for solitary or group interaction. This new design paradigm forsakes sterile standardized offices for flexible, branded environments that empower employees to choose from an emerging palette of function-based workspaces.

Image Source: Inscape, Inscape Bench with Sit-To-Stand Workstations

Workplace Flexibility: Choice in How & Where Team Members Work

In the not-too-recent past, corporate employee’s workplace choices were limited to their desk (often in a boring cube), stale conference rooms, and for the select few that ranked high enough, their own private office.

To give all employees’ that productivity-boosting choice, corporate workspaces have expanded to a wide variety of more inspiring, purpose-designed spaces that employees can rotate through on an as-needed basis.

These newer workspace choices include:

  • A smaller assigned workspace that is used less hours per day than a dedicated cube
  • Open, informal spaces for solo work
  • Open, comfortable collaborative workspaces for casual discussions
  • Media hubs for technology-assisted presentations or collaboration
  • Semi-temporary project rooms
  • Private small phone or larger huddle rooms for confidential discussions
  • Cafeterias integrated with workspaces
  • Flexible training spaces
  • Spaces for relaxation and recreation

In this most recent survey, Gensler also reveals that which workspace investments produced the greatest improvements in employee productivity and satisfaction. Top workplace investments include:

  • Innovation hubs
  • Maker spaces
  • Quiet / tech-free zones
  • Outdoor workspaces
  • Focus rooms
  • Work cafés

It’s noteworthy that these top-performing workspaces are designed around specific places and needs. More generic workspaces such as break rooms and cafeterias did not produce as significant an improvement in productivity and worker experience.

Image Source: Inscape Casegoods

Designing for Multiple Generations in the Workplace

The variety of workspace choices reflect the expanded preferences of hosting up to 5 generations of employees at work. Each successive generation has different favorite ways to work and interact with their colleagues.

Older generations (Silent Generation, Baby Boomers) have experienced decades of working within traditional workspaces, with dedicated offices and static conference rooms. Newer generations have different needs and expectations, which employers are trying to deliver to keep these younger workers happier and more productive.

These younger generations (Gen Xers, Millennials, Gen Zs) have grown up in a different world, and so want their workspaces to have:

  • More flexibility
  • More work/life balance
  • More open, common spaces
  • More sustainability
  • More mission-based
  • More equality
  • More technology
  • More collaboration
  • More coffee shop look

Source and Provide Flexible Furniture for a Mobile Workforce

These younger generations’ workspace expectations have also changed which kinds of furniture is chosen. Now office furniture may evoke similar looks found in contemporary residential spaces, with comfortable, colorful, and less formal styles.

And, to give workers the ability to refashion their work environments on the fly to better fit the task at hand, furniture that can quickly change workspace configurations is preferred.

Learn more about our furniture offerings and services here.

Image Source: West Elm

Dedicated, Flexible Training Spaces

Two intersecting trends are driving the need for dedicated, flexible training spaces. First, as the pace of business change accelerates, training and retraining workers more often has become the norm. That requires a location dedicated for training employees within the company facility.

And second, training is no longer one-size fits all. Training styles vary among group sizes, lecture, interactive, hands-on, tech-based, combined in-person and remote, and collaborative. So, training spaces must be flexible to adapt to the needs of various training sessions.

Biophilic Design Boosts Employee Well-Being And Productivity

According to the Living Building Challenge, Biophilic design is “the practice of connecting people and nature within our built environments and communities.” By aligning a building’s workers with their innate desire to be with nature, biophilic design improves employee’s well-being and boosts their productivity and reduces absenteeism.

Image Source: Inscape, Industrial Private Office

This is achieved by going beyond adding a few potted plants. It’s about creating spaces that more closely match places that occur in the natural world. This calls for a change in scale. Biophilic design workplaces include “living” walls covered with green plants, plants with varying textures placed at different heights and densities, and non-plant elements such as art, natural light, sounds, and scents.

These greater number of plants and living walls can also help dampen noise, increase air quality, and lower heating & cooling costs with their shade and insulation.

Image Source: Office Snapshots, Boston Consulting Group Offices, Minneapolis

Image Source: Inscape, Reform Light with Hang-On Workstations

Lighting Can Boost or Decrease Employee Productivity

34% of employees believe that “support health and well-being” is an important attribute of a great workplace, tied for 2nd place among attributes. Two major ways to support health and well-being are through lighting and acoustics.

Because people get most of their information via their eyes, the lighting in your office significantly affects their ability to work well.

Lights that are too dim or too bright or flicker can lead to eye strain, headaches, and even migraines, putting a damper on employee productivity. Natural lighting is preferred by workers – in fact, a study found that “windows were the number one determinant of the occupant’s level of satisfaction with the building.”

That’s not to say artificial light can’t be improved. According to another study testing the effects of light on office workers published in the Journal of Circadian Rhythms, lighting color temperature had a significant effect on employees’ well-being. Compared to a test group, employees who worked under bluer-cast lights (17,000 degrees Kelvin) reduced fatigue by 26.9%, feelings of weakness by 26.7%, and sleepiness by 31%. Moreover, these employees improved their concentration by 36.8%. These significant wellness improvements lead to greater employee productivity.

Lighting that is warmer in color creates a sense of comfort and relaxation, which can be good in intimate settings and break rooms.

Integrate Acoustical Surfaces that Promote Comfort in the Workplace

According to study on acoustics in the workplace by David M. Sykes, PhD, the biggest cause of lost productivity in open workplaces is ‘conversational distractions.’ These conversational distractions are not fixed by making it completely quiet – that would actually make them easier to hear. Rather, these conversational distractions can be alleviated by three things, labeled A, B, and C:

A. Absorption of sound via ceiling tiles, carpet, or acoustical tiles

B. Blocking, by placing sound-absorbing panels near the source of the sound

C. Covering, by adding a white-noise system that produces non-distracting background noise at a similar sound frequency to speech.

Sykes found peer-reviewed research that “showed the following improvements that resulted from making specific adjustments to the acoustical conditions in open office environments with the goal of improving speech privacy by removing “conversational distractions”:

  1. Focus: the ability of office workers to focus on their tasks improved by 48%;
  2. Distractions: “conversational distractions” decreased by 51%;
  3. Error-rates: performance of standard “information-worker” tasks (measured in terms of accuracy [error-rates] and short-term memory) improved by 10%;
  4. Stress: ‘when measured in terms of the actual physical symptoms of stress, stress was reduced by 27%.”

These are huge increases in productivity achieved through reducing conversational distractions.

Also, by creating spaces for private calls group discussions, employers can reduce opportunities for distracting conversations.

Image Source: Office Snapshots, Lloyd’s Lab Innovation Space, London

Provide Both Traditional + Digital Work Surfaces: Allow for Collaborative Design Thinking

As we stated earlier, Gensler found that employees feel the top attribute of a great workplace is to “promote team building and collaboration.”

Thus, employees themselves recognize that unlocking the collective power of their teams is of paramount importance in achieving higher productivity.

Image: Scott Safety Project Management Office, Charlotte

Image: Inmar Innovation Lab, Winston-Salem

Image Source: Office Snapshots, Boston Consulting Group, Atlanta

The power of collaboration can be boosted even further with digital work surfaces. Large touchscreens capture and focus a team’s creative ideas. And employees want these tools, too: 33% of employees believe that “providing the latest technology and tools” is an important attribute of a great workplace, tied for 3rd place among attributes.

About Holt Experiential

Holt is an experiential agency focused on creating memorable spaces – our projects include customer experience centers, showrooms, innovation labs, lobbies and conference rooms, visitor centers, environmental graphics and signage, and workplace furniture. What connects them is a collaborative design process that produces a tailored experience for each space supported by turnkey fabrication and installation.

Engage Holt Experiential To Boost Your Office Employee Productivity

Want to learn more about how we can support you? Visit our showrooms to experience the depth of what Holt has to offer. Learn first-hand how we combine aesthetics, innovation, creativity, functionality, versatility and nature into the space that perfectly suits your needs and helps your employees create their best work. Contact us by calling us at 800-849-2601 or by filling in the form below.