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Getting the Rhythm to Beat those Office Blues

22 January 2016 | Updated 01 January 1970

Blue Monday (this year Jan 18) is hailed as the most depressing day of the year but the whole of the month of January is possibly the darkest, coldest month of the year that can be tackled with intelligent design in the working environment.

In addition to the seasonal negativity following the festive period, the associated ‘new year, new you’ mentality has the effect of prompting people to question whether they are still happy and content in their current role and whether they need change in their day-to-day routine in order to combat boredom.

However, there are ways and means of beating boredom and the blues. It is relatively simple to make an office an exciting place to work and Sketch argues that following design initiatives will help inspire, excite and invigorate a workforce, not just in January but also throughout 2016.


Mix it up

Boredom is often a consequence of an uninspiring environment or routine.

An office should, therefore, be a stimulating and inspiring place if it is to encourage creativity and enthusiasm. There are various things employers can do to create a visually engaging space:

  • Give the workspace a splash of colour by using colour block interiors.

  • Invest in some artwork (it does not have to be expensive).

  • Bring a bit of nature inside (decorating desks with flowers and plants is a cost effective yet effective gesture when it comes to boosting staff morale).


In an attempt to create a content workforce, intelligent business leaders should ensure that each employee feels valued and like they ‘belong’ to an organisation.

It is important to let employees contribute towards the look and feel of the space. This will help boost pride; a major factor when it comes to beating boredom and can include:

  • Asking each member of the team to bring in a painting, photograph, or a picture that means something to them. It will be relatively cheap to frame these images and hang them in communal areas.

  • Take a photograph of each individual in the organisation and showcase their smiley, happy faces on the walls.

  • Be sure to celebrate staff achievements. Frame and hang any certificates or display the journey of a successful project in a series of images.

Dump dull for quirky

Those who are young at heart do not tend to be bored, so encourage playtime in the office and have fun with the furniture:

  • There are a whole host of ‘quirky’ offerings to choose from; everything from ping-pong conference tables to brainstorming nests and sleep pods.

  • Encourage a workforce to get physical – there is an array of exercise office seating to choose from which will help promote wellness and wellbeing.

  • Installing wall-mounted or standing desks will help encourage people to get up on their feet which will, in turn, create more energy in the office.

  • Design ‘cool’ collaborative zones by creating interactive public seating areas – sofas, beanbags or even tents can encourage people to get together and share ideas.

Borrow ideas

Think about where people love to be in their free time and bring these elements in to the workplace.

Blur the lines between personal and professional lives by creating different areas that reflect popular spaces that can include:

  • Organisations could create an onsite ‘coffee shop’ (with some cosy armchairs and soft lighting).

  • To encourage exercise, it would be relatively easy to assign a small area for simple self-governing exercise routines. If budgets allow, design and build an on-site gym.

  • For the more adventurous companies, elements of a traditional spa could be featured in the workplace – employees from all generations would appreciate a massage chair. If resources disallow, a cheaper alternative would be to contribute towards 10-minute desk massages.

In addition to creating a fun and inspiring place to work, help your staff combat boredom by working with them to achieve simple and achievable goals. If possible, measure work in units of production, or accomplishment, rather than in units of time because that way you will make your staff think they’re making a positive difference.

Above all, people will be more engaged if they’re kept busy. 

(The views expressed n this article are those of Sketch and necessarily shared by TwinFM. We would be happy to receive opinions from others who share or even disagree with the points mentioned.)

Picture: With a little bit of imagination in design and involvement of staff the workplace can be turned into an environment that even beat the depression of Bleak January

Article written by Cathryn Ellis | Published 22 January 2016


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