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Optimising workplace design for Work Rest & Play



Optimising workplace design for Work Rest & Play

It seems two very different behaviours optimise creative thinking for innovation processes: high focus work and restorative activities. We need to experience these on our own as well as with others. If we never rest we, can’t focus, or don’t work with each other, we miss out on finding new ideas and fail to execute them. Organisations that value and design workplaces that support all these activities can improve their innovation efforts simply by having more ideas to consider. Workplace space design can cultivate the creativity necessary to spark innovation

Drawing design layout for Assembly in Manchester with central CoWorker style benches and private acoustic booths. The central area has been designed by Select Interiors for 3 uses, the bench desks area is a hot desk  / collaboration meeting space, the units are mobile and can be wheeled out, curtains (acoustic) surround the space which can be drawn to create a presentation / events space.

See above Select Interiors illustration of conversion of hot desk / collaboration to presentation / events space


Within our fast-paced global economy businesses thrive by innovation. Regardless of the industry, products or services it is an innate part of what it is to be human to come up with new ideas for innovation. If we as business want to foster this skill within our organisations we need to understand the process. I’d like to scotch some myths about creativity and innovation


1.       Creativity is not a “gift.” It is a skill. Skills can be developed and practiced.

2.        Creativity is not ‘’right brained. The creative process involves the whole brain, so workplaces should support the whole process

3.        Creativity is the accumulation of many small ideas that lead to the big ideas we tend to laud as ‘innovative’

4.       Conflict between people with diverse and complimentary knowledge sets can be constructive to innovation


If you are doubtful please read the recent research on how to design workspaces and workplaces to improve and optimise creative activities – the process necessary for employees to create the next new ideas that spark innovation – the holy grail.


Creating and Innovating: How Ideas Come to Market and Grown Knowledge


Number 1, Creativity and innovation as studied are not synonymous. Researchers understand and study these as two separate concepts that work together. Creativity and innovation both are defined by novelty and usefulness – finding a new (novel) idea that is valued by others (usefulness). Creativity is the process of coming up with new and useful ideas, innovation is the process of making that idea a reality for others to use. So, innovation starts with the discovery of creative ideas that then progress towards production or the use of that idea to economically satisfy a specific need or market. If we want to optimise the front end of the process – how the individual and organisation create new and useful ideas – we need to understand how new ideas come about.

3D Visual for Assembly illustrating the philosophy of workspaces for Work Rest & Play


Developing and practising creativity


There are four stages of cognition involved in the creative process: preparation, incubation, insight and verification. Cycling among these stages forms a continuous feedback loop, generating novel ideas and evaluating those new ideas until out ideas are fully formed and vetted Without spending time in all these cognitive stages, creative ideas don’t happen


Luckily, we come by these fairly naturally and by developing expertise, following the right work habits and knowing how to combine ideas and select good ones we can improve. Unfortunately, too often our workplaces don’t provide what we need for those ‘’right work habits.’’ Starting with creative cognition can help fix that


Not surprisingly, our brains function in different ways for different kinds of cognition, and there are three neural networks (constellations of brain areas) most important to creative cognition: the executive control network, the default mode network and the salience network. Knowing how these networks work together helps us understand what exactly those right work habits are, and how to design for them in the workplace


Smart design for workplace creativity


Considering what the science says about ways to support convergent and divergent thinking and pooling our workplace design and strategy expertise at Select Interiors, we have developed a model / formula for better understanding workplace creativity and innovation. In this model we see on one side, the need to protect focus work; on the other the need to encourage down-time & the in-between for creative rhythm


For creativity and innovation to flourish employers should protect employee’s ability to focus and encourage restorative behaviours in the workplace. Design considerations should address privacy, structure of activity, and user control and to include a variety of spaces with freedom to choose the appropriate spaces.

The above narrative has only addressed how individuals come up with new ideas. If we only work alone and all we ever do is for ourselves we miss out on the rest of the creative and innovative process that occurs during and with knowledge sharing. We need others to build on our creative ideas and verify that they are useful for innovation to happen. So, the creative process applies to more the just individual cognition and behaviours; it also applies to group efforts to create and innovate. What fosters creativity alone fosters creativity done together. It’s clear that we need to focus, and we need to rest. At times we need to do these alone and, at other times we need to do them collectively so we at Select Interiors office designers and fitters strive to create aggregated, multi-use & flexible workspaces as the title says to Work, Rest & Play


Scheme as drawings above with key and images illustrating Work Rest Play areas within the scheme for Assembly by Select Interiors Ltd


Latest News

Select Interiors have just completed a major refurbishment for the French Keolis Amey

Progress from site set up to completion over 6 weeks


Week 1 site set up – demolition


Week 2 demolition


Week 3 GF Kitchen refurb & 1st fix electrical & mechanical services 1st floor


Week 4 fit out, plasterboard partitions, 1st fix mechanical & electrical. Making good internal structure after demolition phase and fit out W.C.s


Week 5 1st Floor kitchen and W.C.s shower blocks & insulated suspended ceilings


Week 6 Flooring, bespoke cubicles / washroom systems, site clean & graphics


Latest News…


We have just completed a to fit out the head office for a major off shore investor in Manchester’s housing LPC 1. Select Interiors designed and fitted out the new HQ working over the Christmas holiday to meet deadline. Scope of works included design / layout / space planning drawings, partitioning, glazed partitions, data, power, lighting, bespoke fitted storage, manifestations, 2 kitchens, plumbing, decoration and contract cleaning

The company’s objective is to build & develop up a substantial property portfolio in the retail, industrial, office and residential sectors concentrating initially in the Manchester and Greater Manchester area where the company’s headquarters just completed by Select Interiors Ltd

Image of LPC 1’s development in Sheffield


Select Interiors Manchester design & fit out have been invited to tender for the complete re-design and fit out of an international firm of Property and Estate Agency in premier location on Deansgate

Select Interiors internal 3D model for this prestigeous scheme on Manchester’s Deansgate

We have just won a tender to redesign a group of Property Companies for international Property Developer and Property Management company owned by the young dynamic Vincent Cheng. The first project is on Manchester and the design will be rolled out to Birmingham & London

Please see above 3D model of the project by Select Interiors Ltd

Select Interiors have won a design and fit out for Dutch Company Brunel Engineering for  fit-out at Spring Gardens



Scope of works include electrical, data, glazed & retractable partitions, flooring, decoration, graphics & furniture


We have tendered and designed refurbishments for Renaker, Russels Construction, DeTrafford Developments.


Please click the link for further images of Select Interiors projects


For your next office re-design and refurbishment project call 0161 445 40404 for enquiries or email to


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