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LVT, wellness and workplace design

Louisa Eyles discusses the connection between sanctuary spaces, wayfinding and wellbeing.

Wellness is going to be a key focal point throughout 2023, particularly in workplace design, with emphasis placed on designing office spaces centred around feelings, as well as aesthetics and biophilia. At Amtico, we believe three key design movements will shape workplaces and stimulate employees in 2023.

Resimercial design
Gone are the days of uninspiring rows of identical desks/workstations that prescribe only one way of working. Instead, the emphasis is on making the office feel like a ‘home from home’. The ’resimercial’ trend, which blends residential design elements into commercial spaces, aims to replicate the same levels of comfort workers experience at home, while aspiring to increase productivity and improve wellbeing. Certainly, in office settings, this creates a more inviting space for employees to work in, yet also allows them to clearly distinguish between business and home environments.

As part of this trend, interiors will feature lighter colour palettes with natural-looking products, such as LVT flooring in authentic wood decors. In addition, references to nature and authenticity will help employees by offering positive distractions that allow them to recharge throughout the working day.

Indeed, a study by the Department of Architecture and Civil Engineering at Chalmers University of Technology, Sweden, found that nature references, such as indoor plants, as well as access to inspiring/soothing views were important factors to participants. The study aimed to explore how office design supports employees’ health, and it concluded that ‘an ‘ideal’ office environment should not be the goal’. Instead, designs should be modified to meet the needs of staff and provide a level of personalisation and meaningfulness. This could include adding more plants, allowing employees to choose the type or encouraging them to bring their own. This biophilic-influenced approach, paired with nature-inspired flooring, supports the trend of creating blended work and living spaces that bridge the gap between the home and office.

Sanctuary spaces
More than ever before, office environments need to be adaptable and people-led spaces. This is particularly important when it comes to noise and disturbances – both of which can impact employees’ feelings of privacy and concentration. However, these issues can be easily resolved by incorporating sanctuary spaces into a design and specifying acoustic products. For example, Amtico’s Acoustic LVT flooring features a high-performance backing layer that reduces impact sound transmission between floors by up to 19dB, making it perfect for multi-level buildings.

As part of the growing sanctuary trend in 2023, we also expect to see offices incorporating more neurodiverse spaces with quiet working and isolation areas. Therefore, acoustic products will play a key role in helping create inclusive environments centred on sensory comfort.

With an increased focus on wellness in the workplace, it will be imperative to facilitate positive feelings in the office by improving ease of wayfinding, which can also benefit neurodiverse individuals. Repetitive layouts and lack of visual cues can make it easy for anyone to get lost; however, making small design changes can improve navigation and also help employees or visitors understand the function of a room or space.

We also expect to see greater use of ‘assigned colours’ in office spaces – either across each floor or designated areas – and visual landmarks. Adding elements of colour to differentiate between floors or zones can be easily achieved with LVT. For instance, adding a perimeter plank border or bespoke number pattern to the flooring design in the chosen colour.

While not a trend, it remains crucial for designers to consider light reflectance values (LRV) and how they affect mood and wellbeing; in fact, not doing so can even be a breach of legislation. Research has shown that lighting can have a significant impact on individuals’ wellbeing and the right quantities of daylight or artificial light in an office space can improve satisfaction and communication, set a mood and boost productivity. LRV and visual contrast are vitally important in helping people navigate around a building, so cannot be overlooked when specifying flooring, surfaces, doors, stairs and other features.

Wellness and wellbeing have become an inherent part of workplace design. While recent years have already greatly shaped the office landscape, we are excited to see how designers address the latest challenges in order to meet the demand for calm, hybrid workspaces.
Louisa Eyles is commercial marketing manager at Amtico

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