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Multisensory Office Design: Activating Our 5 Key Senses

Your senses detect and deliver a considerable amount of information to your brain whenever you enter a space. These inputs determine your experiences, mood, and feelings, thus affecting your physiological and psychological well-being in a given environment.

Hence, it is vital to consider all five senses when designing people-centric offices. This design approach helps employees feel more comfortable and motivated, improving their health and productivity.

Read on to learn about multisensory office design and how to implement it.

What is multisensory office design?

A multisensory office design is a strategy based on the concept that an individual's perception is built on multiple senses. All individuals respond to certain sensory stimuli differently; therefore, it is essential to appeal to various senses instead of focusing on one or two to address as many employees' needs as possible.

Compared to the traditional office design focusing primarily on aesthetics, multisensory design can engage employees meaningfully on multiple levels and encourage better performances.

You can incorporate a multisensory office design approach by considering how each of the five senses impacts employees.

1. Sight

The ideal office design is pleasing to the eye in terms of colour scheme and lighting.

Colours significantly influence an individual's mood, productivity, and well-being. Hence, choosing a colour scheme can appeal to various emotions and inspire certain desirable behaviours. For example, you could use green for brainstorming spaces as it inspires creativity, while blue would be more suitable for a private working space as it is calming.

Biophilic design, which may refer to bringing in plants and flowers or using earthy colours, is also crucial. These designs help strengthen individuals' connection to nature in an otherwise manufactured and sterile environment. Because humans have an innate attraction to nature, biophilic design helps individuals maintain consistent circadian rhythms, thus boosting productivity.

Additionally, choosing natural light over harsh overhead lights improves employees' concentration and mood while reducing eye strain. Therefore, it would be good to have large windows or glass roofs.

2. Smell

Smell is closely linked to memory and is responsible for up to 75% of the emotions you generate daily. Because of this connection, retail stores and hotels often use signature scents that create a memorable experience in customers' minds.

Offices can do the same to create a positive association between the workplace and employees. Pleasant smells can be introduced through flowers, plants, air purifiers or diffusers, making the office feel more intimate and comfortable.

Furthermore, different rooms can have different scents. For example, lavender can be used in the break room because it is soothing, while peppermint is better suited for brainstorming spaces because it improves focus.

3. Sound

Though sounds may help create a certain mood at home or the mall, they are often distracting at work. The problem of noise pollution has been exacerbated by the rise of collaborative and open office spaces, which has led some employees to hold discussions in the same room as employees who are focusing on individual work.

It is thus vital to create an optimal environment with a balanced layout of collaborative zones and quiet spaces. Having ideal office acoustics also helps minimise disruption for a conducive working space.

4. Touch

By using varying textures and surfaces, you can appeal to employees' sense of touch.

Soft textures play a significant role in creating a warm and inviting environment. Hence, it helps to choose soft carpeting and faux fur throws over hard, plastic surfaces that make a space feel cold and sterile.

5. Taste

You can appeal to employees' sense of taste by focusing on the office's cafeteria or pantry. For example, you can provide healthy snacks and refreshments that promote a sense of well-being, improves productivity, and aids concentration.


In the era of flexible work, putting individuals at the heart of your design strategy is more important than ever. This approach ensures that employees feel motivated to come into the office and are encouraged to be more productive. Multisensory office design is one way to incorporate a human-focused design into the workplace.

If you're interested in multisensory commercial office designs, check out OSCA Asia, one of the best commercial interior design firms in Singapore. Contact us at to elevate your work experience today.

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