Business leaders, entrepreneurs and human resource professionals agree: Office design can increase happiness and productivity. At a minimum, workplaces should be comfortable and functional. At their best, they should be authentic places that help people stay engaged, remain productive and thrive.
The 360 Steelcase Global Report: Engagement and the Global Workplace found the most engaged and satisfied workers are also the most satisfied with their work environments, and 88% of the most highly engaged and satisfied can choose where to work in the office based on the task at hand. But choosing where to work means companies must also provide a range of spaces from which workers can choose.
Here are some ways you can design your office to create optimal conditions for workers:
Versatility is key
The best office designs are flexible and adapt easily to the changing needs of the company. Future-proof your space with easy-to-move, modular, “plug and play” furniture that looks good no matter where it is located. For example, turnstone’s Bivi desk has built-in access to power and cord management, keeping your team productive all day along. And with a unique shared-leg design, Bivi lets you add or remove workstations as your team expands and contracts without the hassle of a redesign.
Activity-based design balances the need for privacy and collaboration
Today’s office design should balance the need for both privacy and collaboration. While that might sound contradictory, it’s achievable when you approach your design based on the range of activities that happen in the office, and then provide separate areas suited t0 particular work-styles and tasks.
According to research from Gensler, two-thirds of workers believe they are more efficient when they can work closely with others. But designers know workers still need quiet places to focus on their own thoughts, too. In addition to adding private areas with whiteboards and integrated technology, consider integrating centrally-located communal tables like turnstone’s Big Table for collaboration and impromptu meetings. Just be sure each space is uniquely designed to promote its specific use, from acoustics to technology to the layout of the furniture.
No fuss technology
This week Steelcase announced a partnership with Microsoft designed create workplaces with seamless, integrated technology, making it easier to use and share information. Wireless technology is getting better and better, so expect to see more deeply integrated spaces emerge to support creative and collaborative processes.
Using office design to promote worker wellbeing continues to gain prominence. This includes furniture applications with sit-stand desks, optimal airflow, ventilation, ambient noise, lighting and providing an eating area with healthy food. With studies showing the psychological and physical benefits of exposure to nature, office design is also finding ways to connect people to the outdoors. Boosting wellbeing and integrating nature can help increase happiness and productivity, and in turn, decreasing staff turnover and reducing illness.
Design that reflects the company
More and more, companies are designing office spaces that reflect the values and personality of the company. Good companies know that having healthy and happy employees has a direct impact on the bottom line, and that the physical environment can tell the company’s story and impact its culture.
What does your office say about you?