Office design has become an essential part of talent management strategies. With a good workplace design, employees tend to be more productive, show more initiative, and have better overall health and well being. Modern office designs also have a positive impact on visitors, including partners, vendors and clients.
While mega-national corporates like Google may have the resources to design complete campuses with everything from gyms to a myriad of restaurants all on-site, you may not have the same budget. Regardless, you can still follow some unique and contemporary office design ideas to make the most of your workforce and create a better overall environment.
Trends for 2016
More Comfortable, Lounge-Friendly Spaces
One thing shaping a lot of office design in 2016 and will continue to have an impact in years to come is the availability of wireless technology that lets employees move away from being tethered to their desk or one particular workspace. Instead, they have options to move around more freely with smartphones, tablets, and laptops. This is showing up in office design as spaces are including more areas with relaxed seating like sofas and chairs, and less of the cubicle concept that was so familiar in decades past. These informal seating areas tend to improve not just comfort of employees, but also collaboration. It’s easy to gather in a seating area with your wireless device for an impromptu meeting or brainstorming session.
One thing that’s becoming increasingly prevalent in office design is the use of natural materials and design inspiration. It can make an office feel more comfortable and organic, and in some cases can also lift employees’ moods and overall happiness.
This can be done by adding greenery and live plants in an office, or using things like stone and reclaimed wood to create certain design features. It feels modern but also connects people in the office to the outdoors.
Human psychology tells us we’re greatly impacted by color—even more than we might realize. This is being taken into consideration when designing office spaces, and in the trends for 2016, we’re seeing designers who are creating color-specific zones within an office. For example, they may use tones of light blue in one area to improve focus and productivity, and more intense, primary colors in another zone of the office to increase happiness and energy levels.
Offices are no longer being seen as having a rigid, pre-determined design. Instead, furniture is being included that makes it easy to change the layout of your workspace or the entire office whenever the need or desire might arise. There are sleek, modular office furniture components that can be combined in a range of different ways depending on the needs of employees’ at any given moment. There are also options for bringing desks and tables together easily for a communal feel or separating things back out when people need to work alone.
Productivity Design Tips
Along with general trends in the workplace design world, company leaders are also looking at unique design tips that can lead to improvements in productivity.
A Combination of Private and Public Spaces
Some offices have gone the way of communal workspaces completely, and while options for collaboration and sharing of ideas can be incredibly advantageous, research shows the best workplaces also have designated areas for private work. That’s why the idea of flexible layouts and modular furniture work so well—you can have it both ways. For the best level of productivity, it’s often best to keep both public and private work in mind.
Give Employees a Sense of Control
When employees feel like they have control and autonomy in the workplace, it improves satisfaction and engagement. This concept extends to office design. Let employees have a say in how their work area looks. Allow them the flexibility to create a design that they find appealing, and you’re likely to be rewarded with a happier, higher-producing employee.
Incorporate achievements, company-wide, team-wide and individual achievements, throughout your office space. This can improve morale, culture and encourage employees to continue working hard to have their accomplishments recognized.
A Clean, Simple Canvas
Offices that tend to be clean, airy, modern and uncomplicated tend to be favored by employees and visitors alike. Consider using tonal color palettes, keeping things simple and chic, and eliminating clutter and messy, exposed cords. The concept behind a simple, streamlined design is that it becomes a blank canvas for employees so their work and innovation is at the forefront and they have a calming foundation from which to work.
As employers are facing higher costs and lost work time and productivity related to employee wellness, they’re also moving their workplace design focus to include wellness.
Add Standing Workplaces
The traditional idea of a seated desk where an employee is expected to remain rooted all day has become a hot button issue in workplace design. Some people say a sedentary lifestyle is becoming as dangerous as smoking, and while that may be debated, workplace leaders are working to remove some of the seated activity in offices and replace it with movement and standing. Adding collaborative tables that encourage standing or even desks that can be raised or lowered depending on whether the employee is seated or standing can be easy changes to make. Some offices are going as far as included treadmill desks, but this might be a bit extreme for some workplaces.
Considering the Outdoors
In modern workplace design, there’s becoming a push to include outdoor spaces as part of the concept. Rather than being dedicated to massive parking lots or a sense of desolate nothingness, offices are instead creating entire campuses that include outdoor areas designated for eating, walking, or just getting a breath of fresh air. Outdoor spaces are as much a part of office design as interiors.
Ventilation and Natural Light
Even if you don’t have the ability to create a viable outdoor escape for employees, some offices are working to improve the physical and mental well-being of workers with ventilation and the infusion of natural light. They may be using high-end ventilation systems, and window coverings are coming off so natural light can replace fluorescent and harsh lighting concepts.
What are your predictions for ways the modern workplace and its design will change in the coming months and years?
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