More Key Elements To Creating A Great Workplace (Part 2)

Influence, Control, Refresh and Sense

As part of our Smarter Workspace Series, our blog post this week looks deeper into how the next four elements – Influence, Control, Refresh & Sense – of a fantastic workplace can improve the performance of individuals and company as a whole.


(Mane Recruitment, Hertfordshire)

There is a lot of research out there which supports the fact that employees who have been able to influence their workspace generally tend to perform better and feel better about their working environment. Being able to influence the design of your workspace indicates the relationship you have with your workforce or tenants. There are three stages to consider here; pre-design, design, and space-in-use. The pre-design and design stage tend to be the most complex as there are varying opinions to consider and can sometimes get a little personal. It is advisable to appoint a small team who are responsible for the office fitout or refurbishment project with all feedback and potential modifications relayed back to them. This makes it easy to manage from both sides.

Once we reach the ‘space-in-use’ stage, this is where influence kicks in. With an increase in agile working patterns, collaborative methods, the need for quiet areas and an increase in the use of technology will all influence the composition of the workspace. Each department or office will have its method of working and will, therefore, wish to influence and personalise their space.

This element is healthy as it encourages engagement and involvement from all parties making your employees or tenants feel valued.


(Ashton House Marketing Suite, Buckinghamshire)

Having the ability to control the basic human needs is key to any workspace design. This includes temperature, light and noise. The optimal temperature in the office should be between 21-24oc to accommodate for varying thermal needs in the office.  

Facilities should be in place to control the amount of natural light filtering through to the office as different areas will be affected as the day progresses.

White noise within any working environment is generally acceptable however it’s the unwanted noise which can sometimes cause distraction and could potentially become unbearable for the individual. Noise-cancelling, or noise-reducing, headphones can aid with the situation but could cause the individual to become isolated therefore a happy medium should be sought across the office.

Allowing your workforce to have control over these functions or the choice to move to a different space is fundamental to their health and productivity.


(Engie, Hatfield)

Basic amenities to refresh and reinvigorate the workforce are becoming key to a well-designed workspace. Eating and drinking are basic physiological needs that need to be fulfilled and incorporating a well thought out breakout space that allows for a range of comfortable seating options and social interaction should be considered.

Taking regular breaks away from your workstation is known to help increase productivity levels as you refresh, refocus and refuel. It also helps to create a space where workers feel proud and excited to come into daily.


(Engie, Hatfield)

Create a workspace which satisfies all of the core human senses. Considerations should be made to the use of colour; subtle inclusions of your corporate branding or bold colours which signify different areas are a great way of brightening up the office design.

Look at different textures within your space which can spark creativity or create interaction. Biophilia is becoming increasingly important and the introduction of moss walls creates not only a talking point but a creative piece of live art which can help to reduce stress within the workplace.

The scent of your workplace is key. Do you really want the office smelling of fish or last night’s takeaway? The answer is likely to be no. A newly refurbished, or newly created, office can offer a similar experience to that of buying a new car. The challenge is then maintaining that newness and ensuring the workplace is kept clean and tidy at all times.


Neil Usher

Back in December Woodhouse hosted a complimentary Smarter Workspaces Series event with property, workplace and change professional, Neil Usher. Neil discussed how his concept featuring the 12 underlying elements, which all workspaces should be created on, can improve the performance of your individuals and company as a whole.

View the highlights from the seminar here.


Woodhouse blend scientific analysis, creative design and behavioural research to understand how your employees ‘tick’. We can help identify your needs and build a space that is fine-tuned to support your organisation. For more than 40 years we have been helping organisations achieve high-quality workspaces that are crafted to the needs of their company. To find out more about how we can deliver your smarter workspace, please call 01707 255300 for a friendly chat with one of the team, or send an email here and we will be in touch shortly.