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You Better Work

Design plays a crucial role in enhancing work spaces


By Johannes L. Chua and Angela Casco

What makes a good office? In terms of design, it has to be a space where one can balance work and play. If it’s a space just for work, it makes workers dull as if they are inside a factory’s production line. If it’s a space just for play, then nothing gets accomplished.

Time and time again, experts in the field of office design—from architects to interior designers and even workplace strategists—have said that there is a link between workers’ productivity and the space they inhabit. The happier an employee is with his or her working space, the higher the productivity.

It is not surprising, therefore, that employers invest resources and time (or even hire an entire team) into coming up
with an ideal office environment.

On the other hand, those who are not employed such as students or freelancers, even find space outside their home or condo just to study or work. This trend gave rise to what is now popularly called as ‘co-working’ space—a hybrid of an office, living area, and a coffee shop.

With the popularity of co-working spaces, employers are now ‘pressured’ to keep up and this can be noticed in companies employing millennial workers such as in the BPO or IT-related industries. When IT firms grew and expanded their office footprint in the Philippines during the early 2000, most of them were housed in typical offices with cubicles and glass partitions. Today, their offices are similar to that of a co-working space, featuring better interior design and stylish furniture pieces that makes one feel like they are working in a coffee shop or a boutique restaurant.

Are these co-working space-type of offices ideal? For most, it is. Young employees nowadays consider their work space part of their decision to stay or move to another company. They love the fact that there is a room for work, a space for play, and even a corner for relaxation and conversation. And if they are spending almost half of their day
inside that concrete box, it might as well be pleasing to their eyes.

5 Simple Steps for a Better Office Space

Not a lot of companies can undergo a massive renovation. Considering the cost and the loss in income, design renovation is not for every company but it can be easy. If the company is going into a co-working space type of office, it can be done by fixing a few elements here and there. Manila Bulletin Lifestyle Home asked Architect J. Paolo Reyes to share a few tips on how to create a better office.


The first step is to know what goes in each space. Identify the area where people can meet in private or converge with co- employees. ‘Think spaces’ or ‘collab venues’ are as important as an open pantry, a game room, or sleeping quarter.


Light plays a crucial role in work. Poor lighting can cause a lot of stress and problems among employees. If possible,
utilize natural lighting. For offices open on a 24-hour shift, ambient lighting is important to help an employee adjust to the environment.


More specifically, the ceiling. It is a popular belief that rooms look larger if the ceilings are higher. Ditto with office spaces. Some studies even reveal that higher ceilings encourage employees to think more freely and creatively.


Gone are the days of office walls painted in white, cream, or beige. Put colors where it matters. Researches show the green color can relax strained eyes. Red or yellow can promote creativity, while blue or pink can relax the mind. Put a dash of orange in the pantry to enhance mood for conversations over meals.


Indoor plants and greens work wonders in an office space. Aside from providing oxygen and removing impurities in
the air, these plants can also promote a relaxed atmosphere and a less toxic environment.

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