Jun 23, 2020
By Nicole Bittar
Making your office space work better for you, your employees, the environment and your finances is more affordable and achievable than office outfitters might imagine.
The office zone of yesteryear was traditionally a utilitarian workspace, where a wooden heart was supplanted by clock-watching output levels and accountability. Computers, high-tech devices, non-natural furniture, accessories and the sterility of artificial lighting proved counter-productive for environmental health, personal wellbeing and workplace success.
Occupational therapists, commercial interior designers, astute executives and bosses should be endorsing the need for natural elements to shine in the office environment.
Whether your place of employ is office based or at home, creating a timber-centric studio, individual or shared work zone is sustainably and financially viable for corporate or boutique budgets.
If office planners and business owners do their homework, they can research and source locally produced sustainable workstations, office furniture, equipment, wood-based design features and accessories. Ensure that you choose second-hand furniture and sustainable materials. If in doubt, ask your supplier. The low-carbon, nature-based approach to office décor provides multifaceted workplace and psychological advantages: it is designed to increase productivity by promoting health and wellbeing.
The Planet Ark tick of approval, including FSC or Responsible Wood certification, wood and paper products that are certified carbon neutral under the National Carbon Offset Standard, are Australian made and 100 per cent recycled, should be top of the planning and design agenda.
A wooden office space is not only visually appealing, but it also ticks work-oriented boxes while inspiring group and individual aims. Choosing sustainable wood-based furniture and furnishings as the ultimate renewable provides all-important long-term environmental benefits. Equally, a wooden workspace can meet or reduce budgetary expectations in winning style with the warmth and natural beauty of a timber or timber-accented office space.
Starting with the work hub or central core, sourcing sustainable timber desks or bench-style built-ins that feature responsibly sourced, FSC or Responsible Wood certification, with ‘trust’ marks to prove the point, should be your first official duty. Eco-friendly retailers and designers offer a range of ready-made or custom-built desks made from sustainable timber sources. Extending the lifespan of the raw material and product warranties are high on the eco-design agenda. Minimal or no-waste practices, environmentally friendly or certified wood glues and even moveability of office furniture systems are also primary objectives that benefit the environment and clientele.
Timber-framed, accented or standalone wooden chairs are available from most office retailers, furniture manufacturers and bespoke workshops or design studios. While posture-improving ergonomic design is paramount when choosing an office chair, you can also find a wide range of upright desk seating that is supportive, aesthetically pleasing, responsibly sourced and crafted from sustainable timber. Add comfort and style to solid timber chairs with soft, vibrant cushions and winter throws in eyecatching colours and natural fibres to enhance the organic office look, feel and tonality.
Further equip your office for success with sustainably made wooden shelving, bookcases and timber filing cabinets. These key pieces, which can often be sourced from local retailers and office furniture specialists, make a design statement in your workspace. The health-giving, productivity-enhancing and environmental pluses of extending the wood-based office theme is also a boon for the sustainable timber industry.
Wooden or wood-based modular living wall systems, featuring vertical-style gardens, are proving a popular natural touch in the best-dressed home offices and work zones.
Natural flora in an office space provides visual relief, improves air quality and humidity; counters negativity by reducing stress and assists with recovery from illness. Bringing nature indoors is also known to increase collective concentration, creativity and productivity levels.
A central artwork that is crafted or composed from natural wood provides an eye-catching feature in your office that is designed to inspire and promote a sense of calm and wellbeing. You could commission a local artist who specialises in sustainable wood to customise a wall piece or standalone sculpture, or purchase a ready-made artwork, with a wooden heart.
The personal touch also works wonders.
Wooden pencil holders, boxes and pencils, whether in regular use or as an aesthetically pleasing desk addition, enhance any interior space. Multicoloured pencil nibs on natural wooden pencils add vibrancy and natural style to every workstation. Timber pencil boxes, pencils, pencil sharpeners, adhesive-tape dispensers, staplers, letter openers and other timber-accented office accessories are available in an extensive range from a wide variety of manufacturers and designers. Wood-based desk accessories not only naturally increase the feel-good factor, but, if sustainably made, are also beneficial for the environment and priced to match every budget.
Project: Ormond College - Masters Office
Design: Nest Architects