Your business environment is crucial to the happiness and productivity of your staff, therefore it is important to ensure that the layout of your office works in harmony with your company needs. The serviced office industry has become extremely beneficial for an array of businesses as it ensures flexibility and convenience. Within these offices, specific designs or certain layouts can affect employee’s performance. Taking this into account, I’ve taken a look at some of the innovative design ideas that we can all implement in our workspaces to improve the working environment.
In businesses where people spend a lot of the time on the road, hot desking has become very popular. Firstly, it takes up less space, as desks aren’t standing empty when they aren’t needed. Secondly, it allows different staff members to meet, as you never quite know who you will be sitting next to. However, this isn’t a solution that works for everyone. Many people like to personalise their desk and create a homely vibe, so if employees are at the office more times than they are out, it is better to avoid this option.
These are communal areas that have a range of uses. They are usually a mix of soft furnishings, coffee tables, breakfast bar areas and even beanbags. They are spaces that can be used for people to have their lunch, to chat with colleagues, to make personal calls and even to hold informal meetings. It has been found that meetings held in relaxed areas such as these are good for idea generation and for fostering a sense of teamwork.
With the rise of the paperless office there has been a decline in the amount of files and books which need to be stored and hence additional space for more flexible furniture concepts. Work hubs, small pods for two or three people meetings and even bench or sofa seating areas are on the rise. All of these aid employee engagement and help to flatten the hierarchical structure between managers and their reports.
People are not keen on the cubicle idea but the other extreme of huge expanses of open space don’t seem to work well either. Employees in open plan areas often complain of noise and of being disturbed easily. The favoured outcome seems to be small groups of people in an office or grouped together in a screened off area. Because of health and safety regulations it is also key that furniture is ergonomically designed so that employee aren’t placing unnecessary strain on their necks, arms and backs.
Office spaces are now usually a far cry from the drab brown and grey of the standard corporate environment. In their place are bright colours and a mix of patterns and designs. Light is also important, with as much access to natural daylight as possible. This can be difficult to manage in a large office space and that is why the concept of flexible space is so important.
This gives people the opportunity to sit at different locations around the building for informal and formal meetings. Employees work better when they have services nearby, whether that is printers, photocopiers or a coffee machine. It’s not productive to have employees having to trek half way round the office just to collect the document they have printed.
There are many design solutions in an office environment, but it is always worth considering the type of work that people do before making concrete plans. A single person office may work better for those who have to hold a number of one-on-one meetings for example, if they have numerous line management duties. In contrast, lively teams may need more access to breakout areas and meeting rooms with Wi-Fi connectivity, where they will be able to easily collaborate. Ultimately, what makes any office space work is taking on the suggestions of staff and where possible making amendments as the environment evolves.
James Timpson is a keen businessman and enjoys all areas of business. He writes regularly about various aspects of business and technology.