HOW TO USE FLOOR COVERINGS TO CREATE MORE COMFORTABLE, AGILE WORKPLACES

Attracting workers back into the office environment has been a challenge for many businesses since the pandemic. For those that have succeeded, ensuring employees continue to feel motivated, fulfilled and want to stay presents a whole new challenge.

With flexibility and adaptability now at the heart of the modern office landscape, it seems that companies are increasingly offering a wide variety of different work settings to facilitate a more collaborative, agile workstyle. With sensitivity to employee well-being also a strong theme of productive workplaces, how can floor coverings support this more dynamic approach to workplace design?

USE the full spectrum of colours, patterns and textures.

A considered choice of complementary flooring materials that feature a variety of colours, patterns and textures can be used to create a coherent design scheme while also performing an important functional role.

Identify spaces - Carpet tiles in a distinctive pattern installed in multiple colourways can offer the perfect canvas to zone a series of similar functional spaces. As well as demarcating spaces, the colours can also work as visual identifiers. In this example the glass walled meeting booths are clearly zoned in pattern and differentiated by colour.

Lightbox at TotalEnergies
Lightbox at TotalEnergies

Create visual cues - Taking this idea up a level, floor covering colours or patterns can provide a valuable means of identifying different floors within a multi-level workplace.

Coastline - Landscape at BP Agora

For some workers with neurodivergent sensitivities or those with visual impairments, clear and simple visual cues, like interior colours, can be particularly helpful in navigating buildings.

Break the floorplate – Buildings with large open expanses of floorspace can be quite overwhelming for some people. As an alternative or additional solution to screening, modular floor coverings that make an easy shift in colour can offer an ideal opportunity for zoning spaces.

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In this example, with a consistent pattern featuring soft movement, the carpet tiles colours transition gently across the large, open workspace to delineate a series of break-out meeting areas. The integral cushion backing on these carpet tiles also absorb noise for additional acoustic management helping to minimise the need for additional screening.

National Trust - Coastline
Coastline and Coastline Transition at National Trust

Promote Movement

The IWBI’s WELL Building Standard – features MOVEMENT as one of its ten key concepts. This highlights the important point that buildings benefit people when they are intuitively easy to move and navigate around. They should not only encourage and invite people to get up off their chairs and be active, but should also be designed to enable that process.

Floor coverings can be used creatively to direct people effortlessly through a building. This could be done dramatically with a shift in floor material and texture. In this example, a pathway of luxury vinyl tiles is set within a carpet installation across the main floorscape. You can’t fail to understand how to navigate this space!

LVT Path through an office
Heritage Wood LVT inset into Glazed Clay carpet tiles at Believe Housing

You can also have fun by creating a seemingly paved pathway in comfortable carpet slabs to lead you from one area to another.

Laid Bare Corridor at TotalEnergies
Comfortable Concrete - Laid Bare at TotalEnergies

In place of written signage or symbols, the floor can be used to direct and lead you, almost subconsciously, from one place to the next.

BP Agora - Coastline Transitions
Coastline and Coastline Transition at BP Agora

The Comforts of Home

Undoubtedly creating a workspace that feels inviting, welcoming and comforting plays a vital role in enhancing employees’ well-being.

Alongside other soft furnishings and finishes, cushion backed carpet tiles can provide exceptional levels of underfoot comfort that can make a workspace feel cocooning and homely. Their acoustic properties will also keep spaces calm and tranquil. This can be particularly useful for spaces designed to allow workers to take time out to relax and decompress.

Decorative carpet tiles are ideal to install as insets to create a rug effect that feels nurturing and cosy.  

Artistic Liberties at AdeccoArtistic Liberties - Outspoken Tradition, Outspoken Tradition Inset and Without Reserve at Adecco

From a practical perspective, open-cell cushion-backed carpet tiles have also been shown to significantly reduce leg muscle fatigue.  As we positively promote more active workplaces with more spaces for collaborative interaction, and perhaps even the use of sit/stand desking, careful floor covering selection can play an important role in making this a much more pleasurable experience.

To learn more about how floor covering can enhance workplace well-being we invite you to read our blog  5 WAYS IN WHICH FLOORING CAN IMPROVE WORKPLACE WELL-BEING

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