Todays quote

Interior decorating is the frivolous sister of the architectural profession. 

                –  Michael Taylor

Interior Design: Office Temperature

The air temperature at your office has a strong affect on your productivity. It may seem like common sense that the working at a comfortable temperature would make you more productive, but what may not be apparent is how much of a difference just a couple of degrees can make in that very same productivity and your overall office ergonomics.

There have been a number of studies conducted to determine what temperature your office thermostat should be set at for optimal productivity across your workforce. And it should come as no surprise that the more studies that are done the more disagreement there is as to what that temperature is.

The majority of research has shown an optimal office temperature between 70 and 73 degrees Fahrenheit (21 to 23 degrees Celsius) provides the best air temperature for maximum office worker productivity. However, a well respected study by Cornell University returned a result of 77 degrees Fahrenheit (25 degrees Celsius) as the optimal temperature. The British government organization that oversees these kinds of things recommends 74 degrees F after in conducted its own study. It also found that 74 degrees would appease about 70% of people, so you really can’t please everybody.

What’s the big deal? Can’t we just agree on a median of, say, 75 degrees F? Well, you could, but these same studies show that just a few degrees difference can have a 5% or more degradation in productivity. So, dialing in the perfect thermostat setting can have a dramatic affect across the entirety of the workforce.

If we look at the research that gives us 71.5 degrees F as the optimal temperature and 100% productivity we only go down in productivity as temperature increases or decreases.

As temperature increases:

  • at 77 degrees F we’re about 98% productive
  • 82 degrees F = 95%
  • 87 degrees F = 90%
  • 92 degrees F = 85%

As temperature decreases

  • At 66 degrees F we’re about 98% productive
  • 63 degrees F = 95%
  • 59 degrees F = 90%

Unfortunately we can’t just dial a given temperature into the thermostat and consider it done. There are a number of factors to be considered that can alter the optimal temperature. The first thing to keep in mind is that we are talking about the “optimal” temperature, that is, the temperature that will be the best for everyone. Other considerations are:

Season

The season gives us a predisposition to what we expect the temperature to be. We also become more acclimated to those temperatures so in the winter we are more comfortable with it a little cooler and in the summer with it a little warmer.

Clothing

The clothing we wear affects are personal temperature as it relates to the air temperature. And this is mainly driven by the seasons as well. In the winter we tend to wear thicker and warmer clothes so a cooler office temperature will compensate for the added insulation to give us a more comfortable personal temperature. In the summer we tend to wear lighter and thinner clothes made of materials that breathe better so the opposite is true.

Weight

How much you weigh, or more precisely your body mass index (BMI), tells you how much insulation (fat) you have on your body. That acts just like a thicker jacket keeping you warmer the heavier. For the inverse of that, those who have a lower than average BMI usually get cold easier.

Age

As you get older, particularly above 55, you tend to be more easily affected by cold. So an older work force may benefit from a warmer office temperature.

Climate or Latitude

Your normal climate, based on your geographical location, may impact the expected and acclimated temperature range much the same as the season and normal clothing worn does.

Humidity

Let’s not forget humidity. Humidity affects how you perceive temperature. If it is humid your body can’t evaporate sweat easily, air doesn’t move over your skin easily and the world feels heavy. 85 degrees F at low humidity may be incredibly comfortable, while 85 degrees F at 90% humidity can sap you will to go on.

A relative humidity level of 40% is optimal for year round comfort. In the summer months the air is often more humid than that so a dehumidifier may be necessary, however most condensing air conditioning units dry the air out somewhat. In the winter months you may find yourself below a comfortable humidity level, especially if heating with gas. This makes it feel colder as well as dries out your skin, throat and nasal passages.

Being either too humid or not humid enough affects your perceived temperature and comfort level. So keeping a good relative humidity level is key to maintain a productive office environment. It also has myriad health bonuses which is good for worker productivity as well.

Thanks for reading!

Kelly

When it rains, look for rainbows

Interior Design: Retail, Scents

We have all walked into a store and coughed with the over-powering smell of fragrance. But if a store gets the scent just right, it can have a significant effect on consumer sales !

It’s well known in marketing circles: Scents can have a powerful effect on consumer behavior. After sound, scent is the second most powerful sense, experts say, and the only one of our five that bypasses the rational part of our brain to tap directly into our emotions. By spraying the right molecules into the air — into their merchandise, or even onto their letterhead — companies can make customers feel relaxed, energized, safe, young or sexy.

In interior design, smell seldom receives attention. However, smell has a strong association with feeling and influences people’s activities. Odor is a key motivational factor in human behavior, playing a critical role in behavior patterns. Smell affects areas of the brain that deal with emotions, feelings, and motivation, which can lead to a specific behavioral response.

Scent is amazingly influential in what we do and how we do things in a purchasing moment.

Scents are not only very subliminal, triggering emotions in ways you would never expect, but they are also more memorable than other sensory experience.

Scientists at the University of Michigan and Rutgers University found that scents significantly improved consumers’ memory about products.

When products are scented (versus not), consumers are more likely to remember information about those products. This occurs even though the product scent is not reintroduced at the time of recall, and even when memory is assessed as much as two weeks after product exposure.

As a result, a growing number of companies are adding scents to their sensory repertoire, along with the lighting, music and design they use to evoke certain moods among shoppers.

Most often, retailers try to evoke relaxation and happiness in their customers, in order to make their shopping experience more pleasant.

Lindstrom says that relaxing aromas such as lavender actually slow down our heartbeat rates and make our perceptions of time slow down, which encourages us to linger in the store longer, increasing our odds of spending money.

Marketing gurus have a stunning array of scents at their disposal. Some examples, courtesy of Lindstrom:

Vanilla: Makes you feel childish, young, energetic. Vanilla provides comfort because it reminds of breastfeeding mothers.

Wood: Reflects earthy, solid, classic values. “Back to basics and back to nature,” is how Lindstrom describes it.

Fruit: Evokes summer, and makes people feel more open-minded, happy and sexual.

Cigars and leather:  Reflect conservative values and make brands seem more trustworthy. Lindstrom points out that banks and law firms often, sometimes unwittingly, use leather and wood in their interior furnishings, to project a certain solidity.

Sony wants to make women feel welcome.  That’s why the electronics giant sprays its stores with a scent made of vanilla, mandarin, bourbon and other secret ingredients.

The scent wafts through the stores all day, diffused by electronic devices scattered in the store.

The smell of vanilla puts women, typically intimidated by electronics, at ease, while the mandarin denotes class.

The bourbon is there for the guys.

It basically enhances the environment for a first great impression. Retailers, hotels, and even car makers use scents, to evoke certain moods that will make customers happier with the brand.

Thanks

Kelly

When it rains,look for rainbows

A quote a day

Design is a plan for arranging elements in such a way as best to accomplish a particular purpose. 

– Charles Eames

Inspiration

Loved this today!

The 6 Month Journey

“a single thought can revolutionize your life. It can make you rich, or land you in prison for the rest of your life.”- Earl Nightingale

“It is better to live one day as a lion, then one hundred years as a sheep.”- Italian proverb

“Time is a created thing. To say ‘I don’t have time,’ is like saying, ‘I don’t want to.” -Lao Tzu

“A job wasn’t gonna save me. It would just suck all the time and energy I needed to realize my dreams, while keeping me alive enough to resent it.”- John T. Unger

“Great minds discuss ideas; Average minds discuss events; Small minds discuss people.”- Eleanor Roosevelt

“At quiet times, your mind should not become quiet, and when for some reason you are hurried, your mind should not become even a little rushed. Your mindset should not be affected by your body, nor your body by your mind.”- Miyamoto…

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Interior Design: Inspiration Wall

It is very important to look for inspiration when working on a project. It helps to keep you inspired, as well as research further into the project at hand.

One way we like to manage this, is with an Inspiration Wall. Like this:

inspiration wall

We then build the inspiration and research we have found into a Presentation to show the client. This allows us to create a look and feel – and we progress the design from there!

Thanks

Kelly

When it rains, look for rainbows