A multisensory office design approach is based around the
concept that our perceptions are built on multiple senses, as well as there cognition
that people will react and experience the material environment in a number of different
ways. Whether it will be consciously or unconsciously, no one individual will respond
in exactly the same way and therefore it is important that we appeal to a variety
of different senses, rather than just one or two.
Whilst the concept of multisensory design has existed for many years,
it is only recently that it has become a predominant focus within the office fit out.
Typically, in order to create a high-performing, inspiring place to work, office
designers would focus their efforts largely on the aesthetics of a building; what it
looks like and how this will affect the people in it, with much less attention paid to
the remaining four senses.
The Different Aspect of a Multisensory Office
Here's a breakdown of how the five senses can impact your employees and
how you can incorporate a multisensory office design approach into your office:
Sight. The most obvious and easiest sense to appeal to when designing an inspiring
workplace. Sight is the way the office design looks; its colour scheme, lighting
and the use of natural elements.
By choosing your colour scheme wisely you can appeal to
a range of emotions and inspire certain desired behaviours in your employees. For
example, bold, bright colours can cause a higher level of focus and task accuracy, with
shades of blue and green providing both a calming and inspiring effect. Plainer colours
such as greys and whites can often seem sterile and unfriendly and should be used
sparingly throughout the office fit out.
Inaddition to colour, lighting is equally important
when appealing to the senses.Much like plants, as human beings we need natural light in
order to functionproperly. Providing a view to the outside world can also have a
positive effecton your employees, reinforcing their affiliation with nature and the
Sound. After sight, sound is one of the most considered senses in today's
workplace. With the rise of collaborative and open office spaces, it's more important
that the issue of noise is dealt with effectively. Did you know once distracted it can
take up to 20 minutes to regain full concentration? In order to combat this, designers
are using various acoustic solutions, including meeting pods, panelling, furniture and
even lighting. Whilst these acoustic solutions can be very effective in an open plan
office, it is also important to provide dedicated quiet areas for independent work
requiring high levels of concentration.
Onthe flip side, sound can also be used positively in
the workplace; for example,playing music in communal areas such as a break out area,
kitchen or restrooms.The choice of music should be carefully considered within a
workplace too,ensuring it is brand-appropriate and at a level that is not too
Smell. One of the most powerful senses when designing for an office – yet iti s
often one of the most neglected. Not only is smell the closest sense linked to memory,
it is also responsible for up to 75% of the emotions we generate on a daily basis. With
this in mind, it is crucial that scent is considered when designing workplaces that not
only inspire but also create a great first impression to potential clients entering the
office. In order to in corporate smell into your office, there is a range of scent
solutions available, these include strategically placed candles, oil burners and
diffusers, as well as high-tech scent machines. Take a look at our recent blog, 'Scent
in the Workplace' for more information on how to create a five-star experience
for your employees.
Taste. Not something that automatically springs to mind when considering the
design of your office but none the less, food and drink can play a vital part in
creating a sense of community within the workplace. Providing healthy snacks and
refreshments for your employees can help promote a sense of wellbeing within the
organisation and aid concentration and productivity throughout the day. Ensure
kitchen/breakout areas are well equipped with coffee/tea making facilities and encourage
your employees to take time out to sit, eat and chat.Appealing to taste by providing
food and drink for your employees is just a small price to pay for the wellbeing of your
Touch. One of the least considered senses when it comes to office design,
touch can be responsible for a range of emotions including comfort. Whilst an office can
look good it is important that it also feels good in order to truly engage your
workforce. Our sense of touch can be appealed to through the use of varying textures and
surfaces. Consider providing a range of hard and soft seating to satisfy both
practicality and comfort. The key is to have a balance, equalling out hard surfaces with
soft and rough with smooth.
Temperature. Also often neglected when designing for the senses, yet it's a crucial
factor to consider when designing a welcoming and comfortable office environment.
Offices that are too warm can harbour germs and contribute to 'sick building syndrome',
leading to reduced productivity and a negative impact on wellbeing. Equally, cold
offices can also pose problems.
To sum up, our senses play a vital and complex role in forming our
thoughts, impressions and behaviours. By targeting the senses, companies can build a
strong emotional connection with their employees, leading to an increase in productivity
and potentially a positive outcome on sales and the overall success of the business.
Looking For A Modern, Forward-Thinking Office Fit Out? Get In Touch With The Experts
If you would like more help and guidance on how to design an office fit out for all the
senses, or on any aspect of office design in general, please get in touch with a
member of our expert team today. You can get in contact by calling us on 0845 130
9066 or filling out our contact
form to send us an e-mail and we will be in touch as soon as possible.