Return On Design Investment: Time

Jennifer Brown

We all know that Return On Investment (ROI) is an approximate measure of an investment’s profitability. Typically, this terminology is used when considering something like purchasing a new machine. But when it comes to customers, they need to understand that design is an investment that yields a significant return on time, money, and quality of life. We at Decca Design Inc. like to call that RODI, Return On Design Investment. This is an excellent way to explain it to commercial customers looking to invest in the renovation of their business. In part one of this three-part series, we’ll cover one of the most valuable resources for any employer: time.

How does design improve time management for a company? It might sound unusual, but a well-planned workspace can make it easier for staff to complete tasks more efficiently and effectively by working collaboratively and creatively and positively affecting their health, wellbeing, and engagement.

1. Personal Workspace

Your commercial customers are experts in their fields, not necessarily in design, organization, or ergonomics; that’s where we come in. It’s up to us to give them options for what will work for their business and work styles. A disorganized workplace makes it difficult and time-consuming for some employees to tackle their to-do lists. Others may feel comfortable in a messier environment and choose a fluid workspace. An open office layout is good for employee interaction but prone to noise and visual distractions that can make it difficult to focus on their work. There’s no perfect or “best” office layout, but we provide the customer with options to find what’s best for them to help promote efficiency.

2. Ergonomic Setup

While a beautiful and practical work environment is desirable, employers must consider how the space impacts their employees’ bodies. Poor desk setup can affect workers’ hands, wrists, joints, and backs, leading to absenteeism and additional costs for a business. 

There are many things to consider for a typical desk-based office role: adjustable desks, screen supports, footrests, etc. That’s pretty standard, but the setup and design may need more consideration for other workspaces, like medical practices, spas, or childcare, that require employees to bend, reach, or access cabinetry.

Many smaller companies won’t have their own health and safety department, so they’ll need some guidance regarding proper office setup.

3. Environmental Design

A workplace design can impact staff health and wellbeing beyond ergonomics. Offices lend themselves to sedentary behaviour, so when a client is undertaking a significant renovation or moving into a new space, suggest long walks to the break rooms or possibly showers to encourage staff to walk, run, or cycle on breaks or to the office. When designing a workspace, even the most considerate employers might not think of these things.

Point out how inadequate lighting can lead to eye strain, fatigue, stress, and headaches. Recommend that they take advantage of natural lighting as much as possible. Poor ventilation and old HVAC systems can lead to discomfort and health problems; the ability to crack a window can make a big difference. 

4. Aesthetic Appeal

Once all the health and practical elements are considered, it’s time to talk about aesthetics. White and sterile might work in the healthcare sector, but some companies might like the idea of the wall colours reflecting the company’s branding.

Encourage clients to go beyond the basics of what people need to make an organization run smoothly by thinking about what makes people feel more creative, inspired, and engaged at work. A splash of colour or some simple, comfortable seating areas goes a long way in bringing employee satisfaction. And satisfied employees stay in their positions long term.


Jennifer is the Principal Designer at Decca Design Inc. She has an extensive background in design, art, and business. She also earned her LEED professional credentials (LEED AP ID+C). This advanced knowledge in green building means she can design healthy, durable homes and commercial spaces that use fewer resources and produce less waste.

You might also like