Gone are those days when office design was simply a priority of the facilities management strategy of office planning, and how to fit the staff in the workplace. Today, office design is all about designing an effective workspace in order to get the best out of your people. In other words, it is more of a human resources prerogative.
The impact of technology, the influence of modern generations entering the workplace, real estate costs and the growing importance of workplace wellbeing has caused a radical shift in office design. You can keep your employees happy on a day-to-day basis only with a vibrant work environment that fosters positivity.
Understanding The Impact Of Office Design!
The aspect of office design is often overlooked, but more and more candidates are giving importance to it. Here’s how it impacts the productivity and retention of your employees!
A great office design makes a good first impression on candidates. In fact, a recent survey found that up to one-third of the candidates consider office design as a major factor in their decision to work with a company.
Gain a competitive edge by attracting the best talent with an effective office design.
2. Employee Engagement:
Office design can be one of your strategies for boosting greater engagement. Give a deep thought to how your office feels for the people working in it and what you can do to make it comfortable for them. Do they need more breakout areas, a cafe or some quiet zones?
Steve Jobs is well-known to have put office design at the top of his agenda as an effective way to improve collaboration, communication, and creativity. His belief was that open offices foster a great work environment that results in greater collaboration and a spark of innovative ideas.
So, now when you are designing an office space, it’s not just a question for facilities management, but also the HR team should identify what departments should be placed where.
Research has proven that several office design features from plants, natural light to activity-based work environments can greatly improve productivity.
4. Culture Development:
Does culture transform design or should design define the culture? This is debatable but what it is certain is that both aspects are inextricably linked. Office design is a great medium to encourage a positive work culture.
5. Workplace Wellbeing:
A blend of informal and formal meetings spaces, writeable walls, café or eating areas, carefully placed toilets, tea points, and printers to encourage people to walk from A to B and interact with each other – all of these nuances of office design can help. From alleviating work stress and make people take more control in their work, office design is a vital decision.
Design Alert: Here’s What The Best Offices Look Like!
If you look at the world’s coolest office spaces, you will understand why their employees are happy and productive. There are a plethora of office designs you can explore. Here are some of them:
1. Open Workspaces:
These workspaces have long rows of open-air desks without doors. This type of office design offers great scope for collaboration, transparency, and equality. It is particularly suited for people working in sales and marketing.
But it comes at a cost of no privacy and can be noisy, visually distracting and forcing people to socialize.
2. Activity-Based Working:
What this means is that an employee can work anywhere in the office, based on what suits their current activity.
For instance, if an employee needs to focus or make confidential phone calls, they can move to isolated private areas to reduce distraction from co-workers.
On the other hand, if they need to collaborate, learn a new application, then they can sit at open workspaces. This design constitutes of open workspaces, private areas, quiet focus areas, meeting areas, lounge areas, and cafe areas and the employee has the flexibility to choose.
Instead of specific assigned seats or cubicles, hotdesking is the process in which office workers do not have any assigned seating. They may simply “check in” to an open seat.
For an office that has a lot of remote workers or traveling employees, this type of a design can work wonders. Also, it can strengthen relationships, promote better teamwork, and improve inter-departmental rapport as you will be sitting alongside a different person each day.
4. Flexible Workspace:
A hot new office design this type of workspace feature desks, tables and chairs that are easily movable and resizable. Take, for example, the Google Garage where any employee can use it to brainstorm new product ideas. This type of office design is more dynamic.
5. Blending Nature Into The Workspace:
A biophilic design or one that embraces the different elements of nature is a great office design that reduces stress and enhances creativity.
You can employ elements like natural light, flowing water, plants, views of nature, paintings or pictures of nature and usage of natural materials like wood or stone.
6. Ergonomic Workspaces:
Did you know that there is something called as sitting disease that can have detrimental effects on your health due to prolonged hours of sitting at the office?
To address this issue the office design should be focused on ergonomic chairs in order to provide the utmost comfort while sitting without damaging the back.
You can also consider height adjustable desks, sit/stand desk risers and exercise ball chairs so that your employees can periodically alternate between sitting and standing at their desks to minimize their health risks.
Which Office Design Theme Should You Choose?
As you decide the best office design ideas to incorporate in your workplace, consider how it will impact your employees’ motivation, health, and productivity. Also, consider the cost and budgetary requirements.
An ideal workplace should have a flexible office design that is customized to each job function. Let the function define the fashion and design what works for your employees. In the process, also ask employees about their perfect office environment and find out what helps or inhibits their work.
Office design is about people and not just about the square foot or where the reception desk goes. From the perspective of facilitating greater collaboration, engagement, and wellbeing of the employees, it should firmly be on the top of the HR agenda. It’s time to think of office design as an essential tool for a competitive edge!