Ethonomics: Balance & Choice

As part of that Ethonomics formula, we have looked at the importance of active design which focuses on promoting individual movement in the office environment. We also explored the significance of human-centered and biophilic design—the importance of creating rich sensory experiences and connections to the outdoors. In order for an environment to be truly successful and support the diverse people, personalities and work styles, a balance needs to be created across the floor plan offering a variety of experiences—choices that allow for different work modes throughout the day.

According to the Teknion research–“The office is a place for creativity and collaboration, requiring spaces that support fluid and spontaneous interactions—but also quiet spaces that minimize noise and the potential for disruption when thinking, analyzing, writing and reading. People need a place to withdraw from the flow of activity and also want to control noise.”

As we think about planning a balanced office environment, consider how you can integrate the following types of spaces across an entire floorplate:

  • Open workstations
  • Support spaces
  • Collaboration areas
  • Conference rooms
  • Private offices
  • Areas to relax

Within these areas, we also need to consider various user tasks, work styles and the need for privacy. As such, think about how to:

  • Offer user adjustability with chairs, worksurfaces and computer screens to support visual and postural health
  • Create levels of privacy within a work area
  • Allow for easy reconfiguration to support a variety of teaming functions
  • Accommodate for shifting work modes
  • Provide impromptu collaboration meeting spaces, casual seating and lounge areas
  • Incorporate areas for dispersed team members to connect
  • Minimize disruptions
  • Prevent clutter
  • Support restorative breaks
  • Include private spaces for brainstorming and collaboration
  • Provide areas for quiet reflection
  • Incorporate access to the outdoors to meet, relax or focus
  • Offer larger groups more formal spaces, equipped with communication technology

Schroeder Solutions worked with Telkonet, a clean energy company in the Milwaukee area, to create a happier, healthier work environment. Learn more about the project—and see if you can identify how this design applies the aspects of Ethonomics we have discussed.

By creating a balanced floor plan that addresses a variety of work styles, supports collaboration, accommodates privacy and offers areas to relax, you are giving your employees choices throughout their work day—choices that allow them to adjust their personal spaces or move to areas that will best support their project needs and productivity. Increased employee satisfaction and productivity is a worthwhile investment—truly a return on your investment in an improved work environment.

For a visual guide to designing with balance, watch the Ethonomics Walkthrough Animation.—walkthrough-animation

To discuss how you can incorporate more balance into your floor plan and reenergize your work environment, contact —