The new digital age has put tremendous pressure on office spaces – and architects have turned to sliding glass walls to relieve the tension. The speed at which work situations change in offices requires employees to respond faster, work longer hours and be more productive than ever.
No longer is having a dedicated office and a single meeting space enough. The workplace has additional space functionality needs to foster creativity and a greater exchange of ideas. And all of this must be accomplished by maintaining employee wellbeing without burn-out.
With thoughtful design, office spaces can deliver all of the above. Sliding glass walls and doors are a key part of the answer to beating stress and encouraging workplace happiness.
Interior glass walls and doors comprise an aspect of what is known as biophilic design – design elements that better connect us with nature and other forms of life. They speak to an individual’s desire to be around nature and have factored into human health and productivity and create a welcome contrast to the sensory overload of today’s digital age.
So here’s how glass wall systems offer happiness and stress reduction.
Sliding glass walls let the light in
Studies show that nearly half (47%) of office employees lack natural light in their work environment, yet this is the single most desired element in the workplace. Light levels affect mood and stress by stimulating positive sensations. Working in a well-lit environment encourages workers to feel more energetic. Natural light is optimal, and glass partition walls and doors maximize the amount available in office spaces. And employees don’t just want access for themselves. They prefer equitable, shared access to the amenity of “light” for the wellbeing of the entire team.
The daily effects of working a space that allows light exposure has effects that last long after employees have powered down their computers. It’s been proven to improve sleep and reduce sleep disturbances.
Freedom of movement
Closed environments without “escape routes” can impact a person’s stress response. In a recent study, researchers found that participants in a closed room responded with a higher stress response (increased heart rate, higher cortisol level) than participants in a room with many openings. The conclusion was that the ability to have control over movement to another space resulted in lower stress.
Glass walls and sliding glass doors offer both a perceived and actual freedom of movement to a new space. They encourage mobility to the coworking zones and merely being able to see other spaces can have a calming effect. Having a balanced workplace with open space and on-demand privacy is part of the Wellness Architecture Standard.
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An eye on the horizon
Having an uninterrupted view in an office, with sightlines that extend to the horizon, has a similar effect to seeing the horizon when at sea. It makes employees feel more steady, more comfortable. The wider field of vision opens up the space and provides visual orientation as employees move through the office environment. The best designs avoid architectural elements that block visual access to the building core.
Working in an office with glass partitions and doors offers a greater ability to see more of an employee’s surroundings. This freedom of sight also frees up the employee in thought. It reflects open-mindedness and tacitly encourages employees to be more creative. When employees feel these freedoms, they tend to be more content with their workplace. As with freedom of movement, freedom to see can be a part of thoughtful design, with sliding glass walls playing a large role in providing the separation of offices without impeding sight.
Change of scenery
Aside from being able to see the horizon and exposure to natural light, sliding glass walls and doors provide a welcome change of scenery for employees. Seeing nature is preferable to seeing boring walls – particularly when doing tedious work. Being able to see peers facilitates relationships, and just knowing that office mates are nearby generates collaboration.
Employees can also change their scenery when they need a break from work by spending some time in a “rest space”. These spaces are not offices or conference rooms but rather areas filled with comfy chairs and an atmosphere designed not to overload the mind. Glass walls allow for a new view while the relaxing space gives the ability to recharge and refresh – preparing the employee for the rest of the day’s tasks.
Glass offers the miracle space solution and ambiance enhancers in today’s offices. Fixed panels, glass partitions, pocket doors, sliding glass doors, swing doors and bi-folds work to create privacy yet functionality while enhancing design. They increase natural light and flexibility; the help declutter the room – and in the process, your mind.
ABOUT KLEIN USA
Klein USA, Inc. is a global leader in high-quality sliding systems uniquely designed to provide the A&D industry with the most innovative solutions, enhancing both space and light sharing. For more innovative solutions to use in your projects, Download Klein USA’s FREE report, “Creating the Workplace of the Future.”
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