The workplace has changed dramatically in recent years; what used to be a boring, simple layout has been transformed into a variety of different ideas and designs. The last decade has seen a shift towards open plan office spaces. In a bid to increase collaboration and social interaction the private offices of upper management and the lofty cubicle walls of yesterday have increasingly given way to workspaces with few or low partitions.
Another recent office evolution has seen a shift away from a sterile work environment filled with white walls, fluorescent lighting, and no personality and making the office more homelike. Studies have shown workers are more productive in colorful, cozy, spaces full of thoughtful details that remind us of home.
In recent years the line between work and home has become increasingly blurred. We typically spend more than 50% of our waking life at work and thanks to advances in technology it has become increasingly common for workers to access their private social media accounts, do their online banking, and even make online purchases while at work. Generation Y is the first employees to use email rather than fax, social media instead of printed media, and more importantly – where mobile has become an office fixture alongside our laptops.
A mobile workforce is not just something Gen Y’s want, they demand it. And advances in technology has enabled this. No object has ever blurred the line between work and home more than the smartphone. These always connected devices are no longer just phones with annoying ringtones, they are a 24/7 office for the employee, a portal to a world of news, information, and a community of peers, mentors, and consumers.
So how do you introduce an office space that has the perks of home but also allows your employees, to be relaxed but productive?
1. Bringing The Feeling Of Home To Your Work - The most common technique for introducing this change is to make the office feel more homely by adding sofas, plants, fabrics, and more organic materials like wood furnishings into previously glass-filled rooms. An office should feel warm and welcoming, so the difference between work and home isn't too vast for employees, and if this is done correctly, productivity will increase because they will feel more comfortable.
2. Allow Efficiency Through Flexibility - Over the years and with the introduction of the internet; it has become normal to spend the majority of the day tucked behind a desk because that is where the computer is connected. However, with the advancements in technology and the ability to be able to connect to the internet from a distance, does this still need to be the case?
As we already mentioned, employees spend half of their time at work, so is it really that far of a stretch to introduce many of the same practices at work as at home? For example, at home, we move around and utilize the space that is available. At work, this can also be introduced, and if the employees are allowed the freedom to move around, positive results should follow.
3. Update The Office Kitchen - Many offices have a cold, unwelcoming kitchens that have nothing more than the ubiquitous coffee maker and a microwave to cook unhealthy food that employees will eat back at the desk alone.
However, what if your company kitchen would allow employees to eat together? By adding a communal table and upgrading the space to include a fully functional kitchen, you will increase communication and allow workers to get to know each other which will work wonders for the business’ productivity.
4. Introduce A Relaxing Space - Working life is tough and stressful, there is no denying that simple fact. For this reason, it may be a wise idea to create a breakout space that allows employees to unwind and relax before getting back to work again. This space doesn't have to be huge; it could even be the corner of a room, but it should allow employees to go and take ten minutes when the day starts to get on top of them. In the short run, no work will be done for ten minutes, but once they have had a chance to relax and recover, they will be far more efficient than if they were to struggle through.
5. Introduce Some Fun - Google has received a lot of attention of late because of their extravagant offices, and while not all companies can afford this, the concept itself doesn't have to be expensive. For example, you could add some art, a ping pong table, a dart board, or other fun fixtures that will allow workers to take their mind off of work and get to know each other better which will improve communication, teamwork, and make the business more productive on the whole.
TruSpace have 30 years of experience in designing and building truly inspiring office spaces your business and your people deserve. Please don’t hesitate to contact us if you would like to learn more about our innovative all-inclusive design build service.