This is our first case study series on our WFH Space Consultation service, which was a response to the pandemic’s effect of an increase in WFH and hybrid workplace approaches. One of the first to adopt this service was Liz Male for her great team at PR firm Liz Male Consulting.
With the prospect of a long-term shift to a combination of home-working and office-working, Liz was keen to ensure her staff have the best environment to work in. When she heard that Grigoriou Interiors were offering bespoke work from home consultations, Liz jumped at the chance.
“Elina is one of the country’s leading experts on interiors, health and wellbeing. I was very interested in the concept of considering work from home spaces and how they can affect our energy levels, concentration, creativity and productivity.”
“Having worked with Elina previously, when I received the questionnaire, I had an understanding of what to expect,” says Liz. “This is no standard workplace assessment where we were simply ticking boxes about ergonomic chairs, screen height or sitting at right angles to the desk. Instead, the questionnaire was actually very thought-provoking – it wasn’t easy to answer – and I had to think about things in more depth.
Liz is working from her cellular office. Recommendations for her space included:
1. Use of a light colour or pattern around the walls of the desk. Stronger visual backdrop with a patterned teal and biophilic wallcovering.
2. Reduce the amount of wall posters and where they are retained ensure these and other artwork, are arrayed to create a balanced effect.
3. Steel filing cabinet, curved side table and pedestals- replace the three items with one taller unit with closed leaves.
“I found the initial consultation very challenging – but in a good way. Elina took me through my answers to the questionnaire and worked through the consultation with me. She challenged me – why were things like this?
“For example, I had files stacked behind me on a bookshelf. They were convenient and easy to access. Elina suggested I put them on a lower-level shelf instead so they won’t be in my line of vision, and also not in the view of the web camera when I’m on video calls.”
Liz is working from her office, located in the top floor of the building, with a sloping characterful ceiling. To support her wellbeing and productivity, we suggested reducing the amount of stimulation through a refinement of the wall posters and artwork to create a more balanced and calming effect, yet with enough stimulation. In terms of colour, we advised using a light wall colour or wallcovering pattern on walls around her desk as they would help to make the area feel bigger, whilst a stronger colour or pattern on the wall behind the desk, with a biophilic effect, would provide an attractive backdrop for video meetings. In addition, we suggested that several miss-matching furniture items be amalgamated into one larger piece that would assist in creating a calming visual effect, support the feeling of care, increase elegance and the feeling of spaciousness.
Liz says she now feels like her office is twice the size it was before – simply by changing a couple of pieces of furniture.
“I wasn’t aware of how cluttered my office space was. There were things on the walls, on surfaces, bits and bobs, pictures in frames, things that had built up over many years. I had a lot going on in the space.
“Elina challenged me and asked, ‘Why do you need this?’
“In fact – all the clutter was acting as a permanent stimulant to my brain. Some of the work I do needs a calmer space and lower levels of stimulation to enable me to concentrate better. I’ve learnt that by calming your environment, you get a better sense of space and airiness and it helps you to settle in your work.
“Crucially, this consultation process isn’t just about comfort and wellbeing, nor is it just about beauty and aesthetics, in fact, my space has a huge impact on the work that I do. Now, I definitely feel the difference when I need to concentrate and as a result, I feel more productive and less stressed.”