In order to advance and develop your company, you need to adopt and analyze new trends.
Now, on one level, this means accepting new technologies, new methodologies, buying the newest software, acquiring the newest equipment and machinery.
Sometimes it means staying informed and up to date with the newest laws and regulations, understanding the market, being up to date with what your target audience wants and needs.
However, there is one mundane layer, a part of doing business that people simply and sadly don’t consider. We are talking about the design of your office.
You and your employees will be spending at least forty hours per week in this place. The office is where the magic happens, where your work gets done and where people do the things that make a company stand out.
A good office has its own personality, its own style, it should motivate people, help them become more productive, more engaged.
It’s a pretty good idea to stick to at least entertain the thought of newest trends, and to at least try them out.
Below are the new big things that are taking office design by storm.
Read on to find out just what you can implement and at least think about.
One of the hot new trends in offices is co-working. Namely, co-working spaces are, to put it simply, offices you rent out, places where you can work.
These are places people visit, where they either work alone or collaborate with others.
Especially useful for small businesses and start-ups, co-working places have become game-changers in many fields.
First of all, they are incredibly useful for companies that want to get some extra space, while at the same time don’t want to commit to large, serious long-term leases.
They also get a chance to tap into the employment market for people who prefer working in such spaces, a market that is steadily increasing.
This is, of course, more about a completely different trend for offices than about their intrinsic design, but it’s worth mentioning.
There is a great deal of flexibility in this type of approach to offices. A start-up can easily move around, it can uproot at a moment’s notice.
Co-working spaces also lack that distinct feel of corporate stiffness and stuffiness.
It also gives very unique networking opportunities and options, opportunities you can’t really expect anywhere else. These kinds of spaces attract young people, with open minds and entrepreneurial spirits.
Open Offices – Yes or No?
Open office design is somewhat debatable, with serious pros and cons. However, they still need to be mentioned, because if done correctly, they can help your company in many ways.
Now, let’s back up a little. One of the core aspects of any office design is minimizing costs while maximizing efficiency and productivity.
You can do the former by giving your employees only the amount of space they need (thus saving on expenses), but you have to work on employee morale if you want to achieve the latter.
An open space office can be very effective if you’re in the right line of work. Everybody working in one space, without any barriers between employees, it has an interesting effect.
On one hand, it can greatly increase and facilitate communication and creativity.
It fosters team building because it naturally makes you all work closer to each other.
Just the very fact that it’s open, that you are all there, can make things much more pleasurable. The removal of physical barriers can remove, slightly, emotional and mental ones.
However, the issue here is – what if this just doesn’t work?
If you are all doing creative work, if content input and communication is needed, then an open office will work like a charm. However, if everybody, or even just a couple of team members, needs their own space, this can spell a disaster.
The constant stream of communication and chatter can mess with your concentration, it can steal away focus, shift peoples attention, and just end up being annoying and frustrating.
Simply put, this doesn’t work for every team, or for every individual in a team.
One of the core trends of the modern business world is a shift towards understanding how important employee wellbeing is. Long gone are the days of slavemasters and slave drivers (or at least they should be).
Modern employers understand that in order to make the most out of your workforce, you need to treat them with respect and kindness.
Working on you all becoming a strong team, even a family, in an organic and honest fashion, can do wonders for every aspect of your business. And this same perception needs to be applied to office design as well.
A healthier, more pleasant workplace will have innumerable benefits to your company.
- It greatly increases employee retention rates
- Keeps staff more motivated
- Facilitates a nicer, more relaxed atmosphere at the office
- Keeps everybody both physically and mentally healthier
Your reputation will increase as well, both among your employees, and among your business partners and potential customers.
Now, what this represents in practice is difficult to define. It can be anything from having high-quality office coffee machines in your rec room, down to keep the place regularly clean and tidy.
However, the point here is that the wellbeing of the employee takes priority over everything.
Access to fresh air, lots of natural light, vegetation, warm, welcoming colours, comfort and relaxation, these are the things that your office should provide.
If you want to achieve greater efficiency at the office, you need to work on your metrics. Finding the right parameters, the right numbers, all leading towards better work and efficiency is key.
Namely, making the most out of the space that has been given, while maintaining the wellbeing of the employee (see above), is vital.
In order to achieve, a couple of methods are used. The Cushman Wakefield index, Gensler’s Experience index, as well as the Leesman Index, just to name a few.
As technology marches on, this data will become easier and easier to come by and to acquire. It can then be used for more efficient usage of resources, space, as well as in general finding ways to organize and manage the office better.
More and More Tech
Tech is always the next big thing in everything by its very nature. The very concept of technology means that it is ever-shifting, ever-changing, always evolving.
And even if you are not a tech start-up, or if you don’t deal with the newest equipment or software, you still should think about the role technology has in your office space. And in this specific instance, the role AIs have in the office.
A tech advancement that is supposed to make our lives easier, that can take on and take over menial and boring tasks like scheduling or writing reports is almost here. More and more apps are being developed that cater to offices, which are there to streamline simple tasks.
Your tech is listening, and it is collecting data. Analysing the potential negatives of these issues is outside the scope of this article. However, do know that this information collection features can be useful for you.
The dream is, of course, having an office you can interact with. Smart homes already exist in some capacity, places that remember your preferred shower setting, when you like playing music (and what type of music)… Perhaps we can expect an office that will be able to cater to similar needs? Lights can be dimmed, soft music can be played at stressful times…
We can expect a lot of integration between computers, apps, and the actual physical office.
Nature and Outdoor Offices
How many times have you caught yourself just looking outside, through the window, thinking how nice it would be to just hang outside?
No matter how wonderful, clean, and well-lit your office is, it can’t compare with actually being outside.
Well, this is a trend that has been steadily growing in the last few years.
Namely, nature-inspired design leads to amazing productivity and very low turnover. You can see this in Amazon’s Seattle offices, for example. They are using outdoor space and incorporating it into a workspace.
So you can, for example, have a regular office building with a rooftop terrace set up so that people can work there. Microsoft has a treehouse office in Washington, just to give you an even zanier example.
We have all lost our connection with nature, something that we had in early childhood. Reclaiming it in any way is very useful, but achieving this in the workspace can truly make a significant impact on your work and wellbeing.
Maybe having a small garden space where three people can work is a great start, a way to test the waters? Just try to experiment, see how much you can move and change.
Office design should comprise the core part of any company. After all, this will be the place where you get your work done, where you are supposed to reach success.
For this reason, you should always analyze and rethink how you approach your office. Sticking to the newest design trends and styles can help you get ahead of the game, it will be a strong investment in your work and your business.
Designing your office with your employees’ well-being in mind, testing out an open office style, or trying out co-working spaces can give you results you never would have expected to get before.
Couple that with the utilization of the latest tech, adding a touch of nature wherever possible, and you got yourself a space that will motivate and energize your staff.
Don’t miss Helen Bradford’s previous post.