Many companies are taking steps to evolve their work environment these days, meaning that there’s a higher demand for new office designs.
For some businesses, they’re having individual offices and cubicles dismantled to install a modern, open environment that allows for employees to work wherever they’ve plugged in their laptop. It doesn’t matter what design’s being used, today’s emphasis is focused on maintaining flexibility.
Here’s the most important questions that a small-business owner should being asking themselves before they design and/or refashion their office to match today’s specifications.
Are there comfortable places for relaxation and socialising?
These include lounges, cafes and other places where people go to unwind and talk to their co-workers. Some businesses will offer quite expensive facilities, such as dry cleaning drop-off points, acupuncture therapy centres and fitness rooms.
What type of behaviour should you encourage from employees?
The incorporation of certain elements in to your design will help to you obtain specific results. If you’re wanting to promote recycling, for example, you’d install a number of recycling stations within the office, giving clear instructions and easy access to staff. If you want employees to interact with people from other departments, it’d be a good idea to make a centralised printing station or coffee bar that encourages them to move around and share their ideas with their co-workers from other parts of the business.
How do you create a welcoming, warm reception area?
Seeing as a reception area gives a big first impression to anyone visiting the company, it’s essential to make it a hospitable and comfortable place. Allowing plenty of daylight is a great way to improve the warmth of a space, along with making any artificial lighting soft and indirect. Certain colours are better for different vibes: green for prestige, blue for loyalty and honesty, and beiges and cream for sophistication.
How do you ensure that the space is flexible?
A growing business that’s going to be adding services and employees won’t desire to be spending too much money on reconstruction. Keep your space as flexible as possible. An easy way to go about this is to buy tables and desks on rollers for ease of movement, allowing the reconfiguration of a space in a short amount of time and making “plug and play” locations where staff can place their laptop to work. You can use private offices for group meetings, and you can utilize dividers to change a conference room’s space.
How much space do you require?
It used to be typical for office designers to incorporate around 250 sq feet per employee, including for personal items, a desk for a computer and a walled workspace. Things have changed. You can now expect for that number to be around 150 sq feet.
What’s the best way to provide privacy when it’s needed?
While it’s great to have a really open office design, it’s still good to value the importance of spaces for employees to work in peace, whether they’re having a private conversation or focusing on an individual task. Only about half of everyone’s time is spent in their focus mode, so “me spaces” and “we spaces” are required to have the optimal office environment. It’s best to minimize visual distractions in privacy rooms, too.
Should you encourage camaraderie and transparency?
More and more companies are removing cubicles and walls to allow for a more open office environment. It’s not too uncommon nowadays for a manager and top executives to be sat in open areas with other staff. Using an open design is a fantastic way to encourage team spirit, seeing as learning, participation and conversation is promoted.