Everyday we allow our environment to determine how we feel. I know most of you are screaming at this thought. But here is what I mean, the majority of our every day decisions are made by mental processes that are put into motion by our environment and operate outside of conscious awareness and guidance. We make decisions based on how the information is presented to us, the context of it. We know that certain colors will effect how we feel. Some will make us happier, or more productive, or hunger. But it goes so much deeper than that. For instance, simply holding a warm drink in your hands when meeting someone for the first time will have you recalling that person as warm and generous when asked about them later. Just as if you are greeted in a short, brisk manner you will describe the room as cold and sterile. We use all of our senses at all times when we make a decision on how we feel about something. Our brains are set to go to the default zone 47% of the time. In this default zone we are pulling from past memories and unconscious thought that drive us everyday. So how do we use that and change it? This question is why I have continued to study psychology and the science of well being.
Here is where good design is about so much more that just arranging items. Good design is about using this kind of knowledge to achieve a desired outcome. Good design is just as much about how we use the space as it is the space. Let’s take the information about a warm beverage. If you have a receptionist that greets every new client with a cup of tea or coffee have you set the mood for the clients to be more open to you? Will they be more open? Will they spend more money? Will you be able to get the information you need to do your job better, in turn giving them better service?
We know that if we prime the brain for information it can be led to see things in the manner that we want. This can be good or bad. It can be bad because we know that due to belief perseverance that 75% of false beliefs will continue no matter the evidence to the contrary. These false beliefs are triggered by the current environment. The good is that we can create environments that bring into play the Kulechov Effect, creating an environment where beliefs are formed in context not in a vacuum. We can create environments that foster questioning and seeking knowledge. So how do we do that?
We can add beverage stations into all of our commercial designs.
We can place these close to the entrance of the space so that our clients are welcomed. This helps to but minds to ease and let potential clients know that we are more concerned with them than selling them. When clients feel like they are important and seen as a whole person they are more willing to open up and express all of their needs. This allows the business to truly help the client achieve all that they need.
We can add comfortable seating arrangements.
Creating an environment where clients and potential clients aren’t connecting with you across a desk makes them more open to you and sees you are more approachable. Conference rooms and offices are important but if your first connections with new clients are in a warmer set up you will have a better change of creating a lasting relationship. And as we have learned business is really about building relationships. We know that the current buyer is more likely to do business with people they know and trust. They want to know that you are driven by more, that you are working for a cause and that you have a soul. Your place of business needs to also have a soul.
We can add biophilic elements.
Plants and green elements increase oxygen in the air. They reset our minds and ease our souls. Biophilic elements reduce stress, increase creativity, and increase healing. Learning increases 20-25%. Productivity increases 8-13%. Attendance increases and people want to be at work. Don’t forget natural light and open spaces when adding biophilia.
It has only been the past few decades that science has really started to study how our environments effect us. But now we know it is our obligation to use this information to help our clients. To create commercial spaces that are open and transparent. That help the employees to work to their best abilities and to do the right thing for their clients. Creating a space that intuitively helps the occupants to to be healthier and better all around is not only possible but is our responsibility. Design is about the whole person, don’t forget the emotional and psychological sides.