While it is true that the concept of the workplace may be something that exists as long as human civilization, nowadays, we have all the necessary tools to properly analyze the impact of various structural elements on productivity and morale. You see, nowadays, psychology as a science is on its peak and, with the help of worldwide survey programs and hyper-connectivity through the internet, researchers, analysts and theorists have far more data to work with. This makes their results far more accurate and lessons learned this way far more relevant.
So, what is the impact of office design on your employees? Now, one of the things we know for sure is the fact that various stimuli affect us on both conscious and subconscious levels. Keep in mind that short-term exposure to a certain shape, feature or office element isn’t that significant, however, spending 8 to 10 hours in such an environment will definitely take its toll.
Another relevant issue is the long-term health of the inhabitants, both physiological and psychological. You see, the downtime that comes from sick leave is a direct loss of productivity to the enterprise. If you can solve, or at least mitigate, this damage with the help of office design, it would be reckless of you not to do so. With that in mind and without further ado, here are several things you need to know about the future of the workplace and the impact of office design on the performance of your enterprise.
- The return of cubicles
At one point in recent history, it appeared as the cubicle system is outdated and that it will, quite promptly, be replaced with an open-floor office. The reasons behind this are numerous. First of all, there were a lot of so-called experts who claimed that cubicles made people feel more like in prison than at work. They also claimed that these cubicles diminished collaboration by helping your employees alienate themselves from their coworkers. Either way, the majority of these beliefs have long since been debunked and it seems as if cubicles are back.
First of all, you need to understand that an open office plan makes a lot of people anxious, seeing as how it creates a scenario where they feel like they have no privacy. Second, the open plan is much more introvert-friendly and seeing as how introverts are some of your best employees it gives you a huge increase in productivity. Even for the extroverts, things are not so clear cut. Sure, they want to socialize with their employees but there is a time and place for everything. The last thing you want is for them to distract others (especially your introverts) while they’re trying to work.
One more thing worth mentioning is the fact that each cubicle is the office of its own and that it provides far more options for customization. What this means is that you can give every single one of your employees a chance to decorate this cubicle as they see fit. Needless to say, this will also help them take more ownership of the office, which will also improve their loyalty and intrinsic motivation.
One concept that’s on everyone’s lips when it comes to office design is – office ergonomics. This is science behind an efficient commercial fit-out, which ensures maximum efficiency. We’re not just talking about the psychological effect that the office space has on your employees but also the office pragmatism. For instance, when placing the supervisor’s desk in the open floor plan, you need to pick the exact spot from which they have the best field of vision, without feeling too authoritarian. As you can probably already tell, this is far from simple.
The problem with making all of this come together is far from simple. What you need is someone who specializes in office design and construction to take a look at your plans and then tend to the execution that will lead to their realization. Remember that, due to the fact that different areas of your office are thematically different you need someone who specializes in a wide variety of commercial fit-outs. This way, you’ll have the optimized and specialized help in your corner.
3. Standing desks
Another interesting idea that a lot of modern offices are entertaining is one of standing desks. What this means is that instead of traditional office setup, you have your employees standing while they’re working. Benefits of this are numerous. First of all, it’s much better for one’s health and alertness. After all, dozing off is not as easy while you’re standing up.
This concern, nonetheless, comes from the basic lack of understanding of this method. You stand and work for 20 minutes and then you rest for 5 minutes. This is why there’s always sitting somewhere in the back (usually a comfortable sofa) for your staff to relax on. This method, however, is quite similar to a popular Pomodoro Technique, that’s been used all over the world.
4. Something extra
In 2019, when looking for employment, a lot of people are looking for additional things that their employer has to offer. Some of these benefits are tightly intertwined with the overall design and functionality of the place. For instance, in order to invest in the health of their employees a lot of employers are considering making an office gym.
Aside from this, there are also various forms of recharge rooms that a lot of present-day offices are considering implementing. For instance, you have a nap room, which is designed to provide your staff with a 20-minute power-nap in order to help them recharge your batteries.
One of the most revolutionary ideas, as well as one that will bring the most value to your staff, is the creation of in-house daycare for your working moms and single parents. This way, you’ll solve one of their biggest work-life balance problems, as well as ensure their loyalty for years to come.
5. The psychology of colour
The question of colours used in your office is not a simple one to make. Sure, aggressive colors boost alertness and one’s competitiveness, however, these aren’t emotions that absolutely everyone in your employ will benefit from.
Keep in mind that every office has different areas and you have to pick colours that will help improve productivity. For instance, red is a highly physical colour, which is why it’s best used in areas where you need your employees to stay active. Blue, on the other hand, is great for enhancing focus. This will help them stay concentrated at the task at hand and help reduce the likelihood of error due to a lapse of attention.
6. A homelier ambience
The last thing you need to understand is that, due to the fact that your employees spend so much time in this environment, going for productivity-only isn’t the best of ideas. What they need is a bit of that homely atmosphere in the workplace, which is definitely something that you need to include in your plans.
First of all, you might want to start decorating with fabric and add some rugs to the area. Other than just creating a cozier feeling in the office, these rugs also have a pragmatic purpose. One of their roles is to muffle the noise created by foot traffic across the office. Other than this, they also slightly raise the temperature within the room. Introducing some indoor plants to the office may also bring you one step closer to this goal.
As you can see, there are a lot of expectations that an office of the future has to live up to, yet, there’s also so much room for customization. It’s up to you to figure out what fits your agenda, your budget and the needs of your employees the most and start implementing it into your office set up as efficiently as possible. Regardless of what you choose, knowing all your options is always a great idea and it’s an advantage that you definitely shouldn’t deny yourself.