When we talk about commercial comfort trends, we often think about commercial HVAC services as well as building automation systems and building controls that all help make facilities run more efficiently and keep people comfortable while enjoying great indoor air quality. Certainly, that is part of keeping employees comfortable and productive. But, more and more, we are seeing other creature comforts that were once reserved for homes come into the office. Here are some commercial office trends we have observed that take their cues from the home.
There are now more options when it comes to office furniture. The biggest item today’s employees seek are comfortable desk chairs. While costly, new ergonomic chairs help keep employees free from chronic back pain. Chronic back pain is a leading contributor to employees missing work. We also see companies that adopt conference rooms and spaces that have couches and more home-like furnishings. Such areas allow employees to take a few minutes and to relax in a more “home-like” environment. Doing so helps reduce stress and can help foster more creative thinking.
Kitchens and Food Areas
Nothing says home like a kitchen. While most offices have “kitchen areas” and spaces with a microwave, refrigerator and water cooler, more office spaces are installing actual kitchens with counters, tables and home-like lighting. And, instead of these kitchens being hidden behind closed doors, many are open concept similar to home. This makes the kitchen areas more of a gathering area that can also foster collaboration.
While the trend of florescent lighting has been around a long time, we are seeing a transition to other lighting options that offer the same (if not more) efficiency. This includes LED light systems that are controlled via sensors and allow employees to control light level (as well as colors) in their own space from their computer or smartphone. Allowing employees to control their own light allows them to create their own personal mood to better suit how they wish to work.
Ok, while offices may not have an actual DJ spinning vinyl in the corner, we are seeing more use of networked sound systems (i.e. Sonos) that employees can control through their computers or devices on the network. With the Internet of Things (IoT) so prevalent in today’s environment, it is easy and fun for workers to control and create an acoustic atmosphere. Studies have shown that having music in the background can help increase worker productivity. However, it is important to have constraints. If someone is doing detailed work, having percussive music playing can be distracting. But, allowing people to take turns with music selection and “playing DJ” can create office comradery and culture.
How to Use This Information
When it comes to the comfort of your office and facility, from a temperature and air quality perspective, we can help. After all, air quality and staying warm are key things when it comes to keeping your staff healthy and taking fewer sick days. Let one of our Commercial Comfort Specialists perform an evaluation of your facility’s air systems. Schedule online or call us at 303-424-1622.