An office is a place where you’re expected to be professional, timely, and serious. Work is work, and you have to keep your hours focused on finishing the tasks given to you. But that doesn’t exactly work very well in all office setups.

Some offices offer much more levity in their environment, and you can make it work the same way in your workspace.

Subtle Changes

One truth about renovations is that they don’t have to be incredibly visual. They can be as simple as moving a few pieces of furniture around or replacing them with more modern versions.

Another way is to add a few plants in each room to help the air circulate and let the mind focus on more pleasant imagery. The floor is an object people tend to forget, and replacing linoleum with marine plywood would make a great difference, particularly if you want to give your office a home feel.

Lights

It’s important to let a lot of light into a room when your people are working for seven to nine hours a day. They need to be able to see everything they’re doing, especially if it’s work that requires meticulousness and concentration. That said, you also need to let them have some control over natural light, especially when it gets hot.

Furniture

empty office

Where people sit, work, and stand around in all day can be a huge factor in their comfort. This directly affects their ability and willingness to work. Changing your furniture into more relaxed, comfortable versions are important to help people feel welcome.

Metal furniture is difficult to move around, and they make an awful grating sound when you do. Choose wood if you can afford them and work on getting sleek tables and shelves to save space.

Color

There’s a big reason nobody likes offices and hospitals. The look and feel of a sterile place just force people to want to get out. It’s an unpleasant look in an environment where you have to stay in for hours. It can also get cloying if there are too many bright, shiny, and friendly colors.

Strike a good balance of homey, relaxing blues, greens, and soft yellows with the more brutal browns, reds, and dark blues. Avoid purely black and white colors in small areas because they can make a room shrink.

Music

A huge factor in relaxation and entertainment is music. While not all offices can allow music, more and more buildings are allowing modern music to be played in high-stress environments. Sometimes, it’s even recommended to let your people bring in their own music devices so they can do a bit of their own listening.

Even if you’re just starting out, or if you already have a large company under your belt, it’s important to let people relax and have a good time. You also want to avoid being condescending and making it too easy and carefree, so a balance between seriousness and cheer is important. Talk to a local designer and see how you can make it work for you and your people.