A healthy work environment through a blend of active urban setting as well as a stress-free ecosystem with sustainable measures can go a long way in improving employees’ productivity, say experts of workspace design.
Praveen Rawal, Managing Director of Steelcase, Southeast Asia and India, Shaishav Dharia, Regional CEO, Lodha Group and Amit Ramani, Founder and CEO of Awfis, share a list of tips:
* Creativity enhanced by technology: We’ve reached an era of peak screen time. Right now, screen time limits our impact with the physical environment, but that’s changing. Help is coming from our workplace and technology. Our spaces will become less about passively consuming what’s on our screens and more about how we interact with technology and tools. Incorporate technology to design and create an environment which will enable colleagues to work freely in-turn enhancing productivity.
* Design by data: Data has entered the work environment, adding significant value to the conversation between designers and customers. Does everyone need their own workstation or private office? Or would more private enclaves and collaboration spaces better serve the team? Sensors in the workplace can help organisations learn how often people are at their desks and what kinds of spaces will best support their people.
* The digital effect: Combining aesthetics with algorithms, multiple traditional offices and co-working spaces are infusing technology and digital tools to facilitate a conducive environment, ease in day-to-day functioning for businesses and employees as well. From smart access, smart spaces to smart meeting rooms, making use of a dedicated one app solution for a range of tasks such as QR-based visitor management, booking a conference room etc. to enabling parking allotments based on an organised number plate system through smart cameras, further aid in streamlining experiences in office spaces.
* Celebrate communities: Designers are explorers searching for inspiration in buildings being renovated into more creative workplaces. By connecting new work culture in a meaningful way to the collective identity of the location, community and brand, designers are creating authenticity in the workplace in the world. Additionally, to foster innovation and community building, office spaces are enabling collaboration through multi-use grand lobbies with activity-based settings to encourage networking, informal meeting zones etc. Such amenities also culminate in creating authenticity in the workplace and boost productivity as well.
* Biophilia 2.0: The innate desire to connect and bond with nature is experiencing a resurgence because of the balance we need from our digital world and the benefit nature’s restorative qualities provide our wellbeing. Synergising elements like embedded greens, infusing revitalising exterior elements, complying with sustainable standards and ensuring use of material and colours that offer calm and comfort, are majorly attracting the millennial workforce. (IANS)
“Money makes the world go around” but it is not all about dollar bills. Once a potential worker deems the salary you are offering as satisfactory, a whole different set of factors comes into play in the final decision of an individual to accept a post in your company. It might seem trivial but office design is top of the list of workers’ priorities because this is the place where they are going to spend most of their time during the workweek and they wish to feel as comfortable as possible.
There are numerous examples of companies who are still the developing phases that have attracted the best players in the market by offering a lot of conveniences in the office. Whether it’s a paid gym membership or a simple lazy bag, the design of your office and features inside have the potential to attract or deter possible employees. If you haven’t thought about the issue before, here is a list of some of the most attractive office designs that prospective employees will love.
To be or not to be private
One of the biggest dilemmas in office design is whether to apply an open floor design or to create a separate office or cubicles. The main reason behind this issue is the fact that employees themselves cannot agree which design is better than the other. This is quite understandable, as not all workers carry out the same task, so some can benefit from increased privacy, while others prefer to have a visual communication channel with their coworkers.
You as the employers have but one option to offer to prospective employees and that is adjustable privacy. Yes, make it possible for people to adjust the level of privacy they wish by installing dividers or blinds. These are easy to manipulate and set into place, so each worker will have a chance to adjust the workspace according to his or her needs. Of course, if you are trying to secure a high-flyer in the industry, offer them a proper office instead of a cubicle.
Light is in the air
If you are having a group of workers coming for doors open days, there one single décor pieces that will take them aback and this is the lighting. They probably expect to see those old-fashion conventional light bulbs “stuck” to the ceiling, so your hanging lamps will astound them. This is a part of the industrial office designthat is in vogue for 2019 and that was envisioned as a blend between traditional and novel designs feature that is present in offices across Australia.
Lamps hanging from the ceiling don’t just look cool but they have a practical side to them. Namely, they are lower than conventional light sources, which means they are closer to the area you need the light most at. This way, the light source is stronger without the need to increase the wattage of the bulbs. If your future workforce is eco-aware, then you will benefit a lot from installing LED lights that are energy-efficient. For those workers who are still not satisfied with the intensity of light, you can place desk lamps on their work area, so they have autonomy while working at night.
Just a century ago, office “ergonomics” was almost a dirty word. If you asked for comfortable chairs it was thought you were a bad worker, looking to cut corners at the workplace. Things have changed significantly at the beginning of the 21st century, so ergonomic design comes naturally today. However, there are still employers who are trying to save money on buying second-hand office equipment that is discomforting for the workers.
Office workers already know what chairs are comfortable and which are not, so there is no way of tricking them. Quite the contrary, instead of saving money on employees’ health, you can actually improve it by ordering custom-made tables and chairs according to their needs. If you are having the office fitted out, you might as well take the measures from all the workers so their respective tables fit their height and arm reach ideally. They will be deeply thankful and will be the detail that will let potential employees know that you care about your staff.
Its majesty, the break room
If a potential worker’s first wish is to see the break room in your office, have no worries, they are not bad workers but they’re merely “work hard, party hard.” That is why the break room needs to be furnished with the latest tech gizmos, as well as traditional entertainment, such as a chess board, a deck of card, and a dartboard. There should also be a variety of magazines inside, both work-related (that follow the industry’s latest trends) and those printed for light entertainment.
No break room is complete without a multi-functional kitchen. This means that there should be a well-stocked fridge if any of the workers wishes to get refreshment during those long, hot Aussie summers and a stove that tea can be prepared on. A far as coffee is concerned, you need to be more professional about its preparation as black coffee is the driving engine behind many careers, especially early in the morning. That is why a “bean to cup” coffee machine, like the ones produced by Lavazza Australiaare ideal for office spaces. Furthermore, you needn’t buy the whole apparatus, as you have the possibility to lease the coffee machine, doing away with the need to worry whether it is full all the time.
Free Wi-Fi (to start with)
Another neat feature that almost goes without saying in a modern office is a free Wi-Fi signal for all the employees and visitors. This is a small thing that doesn’t really cost that much but it is the little things that people know to appreciate the most. In fact, free wireless internet should just be the tip of the iceberg of tech freebies your workforce gets.
As time goes by, you can create charging stations where workers can charge their phones together, instigating communication among workers. There could be designated areas within the office that are stocked with laptops where employees can lay back and chat with their family or do other personal online errands. Finally, you could have a digital suggestions box that would concern only the digital spatial interventions that your workers wish for. If prospective workers see that you are willing not only to implement new technologies but listen to the needs of your workers as well, they will be delighted to accept a post at your company.
A green corner
All that technology no matter how useful it can be, is in the end dehumanizing. That is why you should let workers bring photos from home and arrange their office space in the manner they find most suitable but when they bring in a flower pot that is when you surprise them. Namely, take the pot and place it in the special corner or an entire room that is entirely dedicated to greenery. In fact, each worker should be encouraged to bring a plant and place it in this green corner. Over time, this area will grow in size and you will have a mini office jungle to the delight of all the staff. Taking care of the plant life in the form of regular watering will bring everybody together and they will learn to work together.
As far as potential team members are concerned, they will be blown away with all this greenery they have never witnessed before in the office. Not only is there bound to be more oxygen inside, and office spaces can be stuffy, but the whole team will work as one to maintain the green corner. For those who are introvert and geniuses often are, this will be an ideal oasis to take their break in silence.
Not dungeons (and not dragons)
Unless your office is located in the basement, you are bound to have plenty of windows with natural light. We already discussed how much light is important but equally important is to have fresh air in the office. This is best introduced into the office through the means of an open window, as you do not work in a dungeon. However, on higher floors there is the issue of safety that entails the use of ventilations systems and air-conditioning units. If the green corner inside the office is doing its job, then the air ventilation system will have no trouble circulating evenly this air through the entire office.
Again, employees need fresh air and light, so might want to pull them closer to the windows. If you are located high in a skyscraper and the windows cannot be opened, then you can use this apparent drawback to your advantage. Place cushion right along the edge of the windows so they will form an ad hoc rest area where employees can take their breaks. They can chat among each other, check their private e-mail inbox, or just stare aimlessly through the window, whatever makes them thick. Just think how impressive must this circular seating area appear in the eyes of a new employee stepping into the office for the first time.
Outside the office but inside the workplace
Needless to say, there is no room in the office for leaving your pet, a kindergarten or leaving your bike. However, you can outsource all these things if you are located in an office building. Even if you are not, there are bound to be such and similar services in the vicinity, so you can lease them or refund the employees for using them. These might not be part of the office décor but they can be that key factor that will make prospective employees accept your job offer. Conduct pools to check what is it that people working for you require outside office hours and try to provide them with these services and commodities whenever you can.
Office design should not be underestimated, as it has the potential to increase productivity and attract good-quality workers. The latter are the ones needed if you wish to expand the business, so go all out when it comes to furnishing the office. The investment into LED lights, ergonomic chairs or a coffee machine might not seem as much, but over time these details will be the main reason why your top players stay and new stars continuously arrive.