Wellbeing in the office | office design & wellness | United Workplace

Wellness in every sense: Northern Trust’s multi-sensory office design approach


When you walk into an office, what are the things you notice that help you build a first impression?

Perhaps you see the fabulous artwork on the walls, or the trendy seating area. Perhaps you notice the smooth jazz they have playing in the background. Or perhaps you first feel the cold blast of the air conditioner as you step in from the sunny street. We rely on multiple senses to inform us about an experience, so it’ll likely be a mix of all these factors. The extent of reliance on each sense, however, differs from person to person. So while one person might find clear, well-marked signs very useful, someone who is visually-impaired might be baffled in a space that relies only on visual indicators.

For Northern Trust’s Pune office, we conceptualised an empathetic, multi-sensory workplace strategy. As a future-facing financial services company, inclusivity and wellness for their partners are core to the company’s values. It was important for these values to come through in their workspace design — so we offered a solution built around the five senses.

How design built around the 5 senses inspires and assists the partners at Northern Trust

Besides being a design that epitomises their brand and showcases their core values, Northern Trust wanted their space to be intuitive to use, specifically for those with special needs. By designing a space which engages all our senses — sight, sound, touch, smell, taste — work would make for a more appealing, immersive experience. Besides, the space would rely on multiple senses to impart information and offer wayfinding aid to improve accessibility along the entire journey.