Areas of collaboration, team
learning, and the “ah ha”
moment in project delivery.
Individualized work areas
that are task oriented,
flexible, and efficient.
A large gathering
space provides the
visualize and problem
access to support
Lounge furniture and
shared resources foster
the integration of people
A quiet space for
and color through the course of the day, can
entrain an individual’s circadian rhythm,
thereby restoring natural cycles, resulting
in improved health, wellbeing, and performance,” Nunn says.
Schmidt says her goal in relation to lighting design is to provide everyone in the
workspace regular access to natural lighting through strategic placement of enclosed
spaces and use of interior windows.
“This facilitates deeper penetration of
Embarking on Design
natural light into the building. We all know
how Alaskans love the sun; a well-planned
space with plenty of access to natural light-
ing supports a healthy working environment
and promotes employee well-being,” she says.
Designers advise clients to not jump into
changing wall colors and rearranging furniture, instead recommending they map out a
full strategy before any decisions are made.
That’s where the experience of a professional interior design expert will prove valuable as most company leaders are not knowledgeable in all the aspects that come into
play. In fact, many companies view an interior designer as being an interior decorator,
notes Weiss, and that’s not accurate.
“Designers hold a National Council for Interior Design Qualification and are included
in the beginning, starting with the programming phase and moving through space planning as well as construction documents, permitting, and construction administration,”
she explains. “They coordinate with mechanical engineers and electrical engineers. It is
important to hire the designer that will successfully meet your project goals and vision.”
A good first step, says Weiss, is to identify
what triggered the project and investigating
project goals, vision, schedule, and budget.
“Clients should share business goals with
the design team. Design impacts employee
well-being, recruitment, and retention as
well as the energy shared by the staff,” she
Pribyl recommends taking a holistic ap-
proach to design, considering both the bot-
tom line of the company and the return on
investment the company will receive by sup-
porting their employees with a healthy, hap-
py place to work.
“Spaces that are designed with health and
wellness in mind increase productivity, improve staff retention, decrease absenteeism,
and reduce healthcare costs to name a few
[benefits]. These cost [reductions] can dramatically increase your return on your investment,” she says.
A big part of a design effort is cost, and
providing pricing insight is dependent on
dozens of variables, say the design experts.
Weiss recommends sharing the budget with
the design team at the very start so the team
can work “into the budget,” thereby saving
on design costs through fewer redesigns.
Pribyl concurs, noting costs are rapidly
changing today to reflect the unique Alaska
“Assigning a number is very hard to do
without knowing the construction type and
the existing conditions, if any,” she explains.
Additionally, company leaders should involve staff and employees since they’ll be working in the redesigned space, notes Weiss. “It is
always important for leadership to communicate with the staff by identifying the vision,
goals, and schedule of the project,” she says.
“Keeping a positive outlook and building excitement is important for a successful project.” R
of We space,
Judy Mottl writes about important issues
country-wide with an affinity for Alaska.
“When individual workspaces are appropriately sized, shared
spaces such as conference rooms, breakout or collaboration
areas, respite rooms, phone enclaves, [and] fitness or lounge
style break areas can be added and utilized by everyone. This
approach maximizes the usable space, allowing for more staff
and a variety of amenities.”
—Natasha Schmidt, Principal, RIM Design in Anchorage