With many people expressing a desire to work from home, at least partially, many businesses are evaluating their current office fitout designs to accommodate their employees better. And for the last few years, we have seen great strides and development in this area, with interesting new concepts and principles being applied and tested.
So today we are examining some of the best ideas out there, and looking at what the future might possibly hold in store for the workplace in general. If you are a manager or leader of a company looking to tempt more people to work on the premises, this article might just be for you!
Many offices have historically been designed around the needs of the company and workflow. While this makes a lot of sense, the future might bring a third focal point into the mix. One of the areas in which people really felt left out during the pandemic was in terms of personal interactions and collaboration.
Many office settings these days, therefore, feature fewer individual workstations, and more areas where people can come and go as they like, setting up their laptops next to the people they are working with that week.
While it does not always make sense to transform the entire office into one of the flexible seating arrangements, it can be a good idea to test it out in a corner of the workplace to begin with, and see how the employees respond to the desk arrangements.
By also taking into account what the employees need in terms of comfort, safety and personal interactions, it becomes possible to create a modern office that keeps productivity levels high and management happy, as well as ensuring the employees are satisfied and fulfilled in their job.
Many experts predict a growing interest in sustainability in the workplace. Not just in terms of what material the disposable coffee cups are made out of, but in all aspects.
This means evaluating what type of furniture to invest in for the office, smart power saving plans that do not hinder work, using certified environmentally friendly paper for the printers, and much more.
Allowing people to separate their trash into the proper categories of recycling can be a small and inexpensive upgrade to the office, that not only sends a signal of the company values, but also better fits the lifestyle that employees lead at home.
One of the absolute biggest reasons that people enjoy working in an office compared to their own home, has to do with the personal relationships and interactions they experience at work.
Therefore, adapting the future workplace to account for this is a natural given in many circumstances. One of the best ways to achieve this without investing millions into new properties or leases, can be to offer employees flexible seating in the workplace.
This allows employees to choose their seats at will, making it possible to foster new relationships, collaborate with ease and also provides a sense of more control to the individuals.
Another hidden benefit of this type of workflow includes less clutter on the desks, as people moving about are less likely to build a small fortress of personal belongings, old candy bar wrappers and so on.
With many businesses already using digital messaging tools across their internal communications, it has become possible to move from grouping all the personnel in accounting together.
We are already seeing modern workplace arrangements where there are different zones to accommodate the personal needs and comforts of the different individuals at the company, such as
● Quiet zone for people to relax and focus intently
● Collaboration areas where people can be creative and loud without bothering others
● Touchdown space for contractors, freelancers and other visitors
● Breakroom area where employees can mingle, prepare a cup of coffee or croissant
● Conference rooms or meeting halls for introductions and presentations
While many offices already have some if not all of these areas, the concept is not just about the physical spaces, but how they are approached. Previously it might be seen as antisocial if an employee decided to isolate themselves for a full day in a quiet pod.
But with a change in attitude, this might instead be seen as a positive, since it means that employees will be better able to focus on the task at hand, and also recharge their social energy levels to allow for more interactions later in the day.
All in all, we are moving away from there being one set of traditions to rule them all, and instead moving towards a more inclusive way of coexisting in the workplace.
Allowing your employees to choose their preferred workstation for the day gives them a level of freedom and control that they will cherish and appreciate.
This in turn will make it easier to retain the current pool of employees, while also making it easier to attract new talent, all while keeping high levels of productivity.