With more flexible work patterns, the need to attract and retain employees, and a wish to steer workers away from home, Jeremy Broadhead, Commercial Manager at Heckmondwike, considers why good design has never been more important in office flooring.

Organisations are finding it increasingly difficult to attract and retain good people, which means the design of the office can be a deciding factor for a candidate considering whether to work for a particular company. It can also have an impact on retaining them within the workforce for a longer period and being more productive whilst they are there.

According to studies of workplace productivity, the most significant factor in determining an employee’s ability to focus is their physical environment. A well-designed environment can have an impact on employee health and happiness and can increase productivity by 12%.

Floorcoverings play an important part in creating a work environment that is both comfortable and motivational. Accents of colour are increasingly being introduced into flooring in breakout or communal areas, with solid blocks of colours being used to zone these areas.

The latest trend is for the use of graded colours through large expanses, such as open plan workspaces. For example, Array, part of our Creative Range, integrated with ‘on trend’ colours such as Fuchsia, to create a vibrant, contemporary feel. This more subtle use of colour enables office designers to use colourways that may previously have been ‘out of bounds’ and classed as too striking or tiring to the eye in an office setting.

Office designers are using research into how certain colours provoke psychological and physiological responses in a workplace setting to aid their floorcovering selection. The use of warmer colours has been shown to maximise productivity levels, minimise fatigue and create the right environment for productive team-working. This has led to a move away from purely neutral colours for meeting areas to creating vibrant borders that not only provide demarcation but also add an element of style into the office space.

To give employees a sense of identity and ownership of their areas, coded colours are being used to reflect specific departments within the flooring, again rather than barriers that can segregate workers. The use of bright accents of coloured carpet helps to add an element of style that employees find attractive and inspiring.

Contemporary office space is increasingly taking in aspects of the home and adapting it for the workplace to create an environment that is both comfortable and productive. As part of this, the planked look in carpet tiles is being widely adopted. Planks can be laid in a variety of formations, including the on-trend Herringbone or Monolithic layouts, which are proving popular.

Clean lines continue to dominate in office flooring design, with many new styles of carpet featuring linear effects, like Array. This method of breaking up large blocks of colour is opening up endless possibilities, because of its aesthetics.

Colour is also being more widely used in the workplace. Research by the University of Texas revealed that grey, beige and white offices induced feelings of depression, especially in women. White was found to create a cold, isolated feeling; yellow is linked to more positive emotions of happiness, optimism and excitement, accents of reds and orange were identified as creating an energetic environment, whilst blue and green were revealed to have the more calming effect on office workers and to ease anxiety.

As in homes, flooring is being changed more regularly in the workplace, and good design is helping to attract and inspire the best talent in the workplace. Careful consideration of floorcoverings is extremely important, especially when you recognise its impact not only on attracting staff, but also on maintaining the productivity, health and happiness of those working within the business.

Sample cards for Heckmondwike’s Creative range are available on request by calling 01924 413637 or by visiting heckmondwike-fb.co.uk

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