Designing a life science work space optimised for innovation and success

October 10, 2023

What helps to create a successful life science work space?

The life sciences industry is an incredibly diverse one, so diverse that it can be hard to define what a “typical” life sciences company is, or what kind of space it requires. What makes these spaces challenging to design is the fact that companies need to be extremely agile and flexible in how they operate. So, one of the most important functions a life science space must possess is the flexibility to match.

Flexible design enables agile innovation in life science space

The ratio of lab space to office space is subject to change over time and a one-size-fits-all approach doesn’t support shifts and growth in personnel or projects. Flexibility in design allows for spatial enhancements that adapt to future changes.

Scientists need spaces that can be easily reconfigured to accommodate different kinds of research, and facilitate collaboration with different natures and sizes of team. Innovation rarely happens without collaboration. Scientists use creativity to determine what types of questions yield results, to dream up possible answers to their questions. Creating a space to promote this type of thinking is essential. Open concepts and flexible design solutions promote interaction and resource sharing. Ceiling-mounted service panels for plug-and-play connections to workstations enables a modular approach to these spaces.

Facilitating and creating productive minds

A workspace design focused on wellbeing can lead to a less stressful and more productive atmosphere. In life sciences, especially, it’s essential the physical work environment of employees is taken into consideration. They need to feel comfortable and calm in their physical work settings to produce their best work.

Lighting has a huge impact in this regard, contributing towards people’s wellbeing as well as the building’s efficiency and security. Technology is advancing rapidly with lighting design changing dramatically within the last three years.

The WELL Building Standard™ (WELL) focuses on measures that improve the health and wellbeing of occupants. WELL addresses a range of lighting elements including visual acuity, glare reduction, colour, flexibility, daylight, and people’s circadian rhythm – the physical, mental and behavioural processes we all experience in a 24-hour cycle.

Fresh air fuels fresh thinking

Investing in appropriate HVAC systems, which reduce the re-circulation of air within a building, is key to reducing the potential future impact of viruses such as COVID-19. WELL also establishes requirements in buildings that promote clean air and reduce or minimise the sources of indoor air pollution.

Achieving WELL certification for a building shows that due care has been taken in terms of ventilation effectiveness, air filtration, external pollution reduction, microbe control, air purification and more.

Smart workspaces make for smarter, more comfortable working

Creating more flexible and efficient workspace calls for smart technology. Devices and apps that can monitor and control the working environment are continually evolving, helping to create spaces that are tailored to the needs of tenants.

Ensuring the correct infrastructure is in place to integrate smart technologies is key to future proofing office space and saving time and costs further down the line. This can be achieved through technology which allows multiple smart devices to be integrated into one central control to manage heating and cooling, air quality, humidity levels, as well as lighting systems that monitor occupancy throughout the building.

Biophilic design and enhancing natural wellbeing

Biophilic design is concerned with combining nature, sustainability and wellbeing by bringing the outside world back into our built environment to create more natural spaces – completely in sympathy with the idea of what a life science space can be.

Indoor and outdoor landscaping, vertical garden walls, air-purifying plants, natural aromatherapy, natural soundscapes, circadian lighting strategies: these are just some of the items that can be considered in a biophilic design strategy.

Life science spaces in urban centres

Situating research and development settings in city or urban centres means that scientific talent can remain close to academic institutions and enjoy the benefit of the pursuits that inspire their minds, such as arts, cultural, and community-based activities.

It is important in this regard that you partner with building services engineers who have experience in pharma and biotech with a strong understanding of environmental and sustainable design.

At Metec, we design life science spaces for success

If you would like to know more about us and our approach to designing life science spaces with all of the functionality necessary to facilitate innovation, get in touch with the team at Metec today.

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