Should work and happiness be diametrically opposed? What does it depend on?
By Anna-Sara Nikolaeva
The noisy and polluted urban environment causes its inhabitants to seek an antidote. The feverish everyday life, the cold light of computer screens, and the sparse communication make us exhausted. The need for a complete change in lifestyle is at the heart of concepts of ‘conscious’ living, ethical consumption, and a return to organic material. The common theme among them is that man is part of nature’s organism and therefore he needs it more and more. This explains, for example, why the cities are empty from Friday to Sunday, and the eco-paths are full. In contrast to the past century, when we were still impressed by technological advances, after the rapid overuse of synthetics, we are now heading back to the natural.
It is not necessary for work and happiness to be diametrically opposed. To a large extent, this depends on the environment we associate with our work. This conclusion is at the heart of the rising popularity of alternative office space.
The co-working spaces, naturally designed and hybrid offices impress as an enterprise but also with their efficiency: the people who work in them are enthusiastic and rediscover work as an opportunity for self-expression. Offices are no longer synonymous with claustrophobia, but a natural continuation of the individual and their values. Corporate identity allows a broad interpretation of the idea of “wellbeing,” but the foundation is always one – creating life. Therefore, in such conditions, motivation, results and employee satisfaction grow at the expense of mental exhaustion and fatigue.
Happiness in the office
For some, this may sound like a whim of the Y generation, but it’s actually a concept backed with research and scientific evidence. Over the last few years, moving away from nature has led mankind to stress, anxiety, mental and physical exhaustion, and apathy. The growing interest of companies in a lucrative way of working is quite logical: reduced levels of stress, low health risks, increased working capacity. Less absenteeism, increased motivation and initiative are beneficial not only to the employee but also to the employer.
A large-scale survey of 3,600 employees from eight countries confirms the link between the presence of natural elements in the office environment and the state of the people. 30% of survey respondents cite insufficient daylight as a major problem. Among the most common complaints are lack of quiet resting places and scarcity of plants. That’s why more and more offices include separate recreation areas, fresh food and beverages and fitness halls. For relaxation and recharge, open terraces and fresh air gardens are available to clarify and energise.Corporations incorporating such innovations report increased creativity and imagination stimulation. Employees feel healthier and happier, proud of being part of a company concerned about nature. This enhances loyalty and satisfaction with corporate identity.
Assimilation of the concept
The investment for converting a conventional office into a “wellbeing” space is the responsibility of the company, and its return covers not only employees but also its products, services and customers.
Designers Reni Dimitrova and Marc Dean – creators of “Remarcable Design” – a company for interior architecture and design, champion this idea. They founded their company in 2013, while at London University. Since then, “Remarcable” embodies the honest and altruistic attitude to “wellbeing” in their projects.
Competition in their profession is dizzying, especially in London. To succeed, Reni and Marc know they have to approach things differently. What distinguishes Remarcable from other office design companies is the humanitarian core of their work.
Reni and Marc are looking for the interaction between the interior and the details in the work environment and how they relate to the people for whom it is designed. This creates spaces that promote well-being and happiness while contributing to the team’s productivity and consistency.
The creators of the company look at the totality of the elements needed for the positive atmosphere in the office. One of their successful projects – the transformation of the London office of the Australian company “InfoTrack” – shows how the company’s mission and the space in which it exists actually combine. The office cultivates a vibrant environment that helps both team and customer productivity. The elements used bring people back to their natural state of calmness and social engagement. Resting space is located in front of large windows through which natural light enters.
The beautiful and functional office kitchen is a symbol of the return to the comfort and tranquility of the home. It provides the opportunity to prepare healthy food but also gives a sense of belonging to the office. Combining fabrics breaks monotony and stimulates creativity. This psychological technique is used in most places – the area for recreation and socialising, the kitchen and the event space.
“Remarcable” is an inspiring example of how to pave the way for the development of the “wellbeing” concept. Commitment, purpose and professional knowledge is needed to create a fruitful and happy atmosphere. Soon these places will not be an exception, but the norm. The mission of people like Reni and Marc will set the example.
Happy work is done by happy people. They design the world as the place they want it to be – in symbiosis with life, nature and people.
Visit Remarcable Design at www.remarcable.co.uk/