Good workplace design does not happen by chance. More than ever before, employees are attracted to organisations that understand the importance of a well-designed workplace. Employee workplace satisfaction surveys frequently show how highly valued the quality and variety of break out spaces and collaboration spaces are to them.
Whatever the size of your workplace – whether you are a start-up, a fast growing SME or a multi-national – there are five key elements that always need to be considered. Each of the factors below is important for every organisation. What differs may be the greater or lesser level of emphasis that individual companies put on each one.
Look at the property and consider how best to use the space you have got
Along with the wage bill, the sq ft cost of your office space is likely to be one of your most expensive overheads. So how much space do you have, what do you need to do with it and how creative can you be?
Smart companies realise that staff are the engine room of their business and that they need to provide them with flexible, innovative and exciting work spaces to get the best out of them.
Break-out spaces can come in all sorts of sizes and be much more than just somewhere for an informal meeting. Social spaces such as work cafes, soft seating areas and welcome areas can provide solutions for a range of needs including informal meetings, rejuvenation, connecting with colleagues or a quick brainstorm.
Consideration of comfort, ergonomics and integrated technology can turn a relaxing social space into a productive working space.
Think about how you can maximise staff engagement
The best companies are excellent at engaging with their staff and making them feel a valued asset. And the more that employees feel a sense of control over where and how they work, the more engaged and satisfied they are with their workplace.
The most highly engaged employees have greater flexibility to make choices about where and how they work. They can move around the office easily, change postures and choose where they want to work in the office based on the tasks they need to do.
Understand the importance of collaboration and privacy in an office setting
Breakout spaces are increasingly important to today’s busy employees. Providing staff with the spaces and technology which encourage them to collaborate with their fellow workers in an easy and natural way is vital.
Collaboration is the lifeblood of innovation so if you can get it right, staff will much more naturally engage with each other and ideas will flow. Consider breakout spaces where staff can step away from computer screens and relax or hold informal meetings.
Don’t forget about your brand and your office culture
The design of your workplace speaks volumes about your company’s brand and intrinsic values – and will be instantly apparent to any outside visitors. Decide on what you want to communicate to the outside world through a powerful combination of branding, colour schemes and furniture design.
Invest in the wellbeing of your staff
According to the UK Statistics Authority, stress cost the economy over £2.4 billion last year making workplace wellbeing so important. Staff are a company’s biggest asset and it makes sense for the office design to support a culture of belonging and an investment in staff and their emotional and physical wellbeing.
The most progressive companies today are using staff wellbeing as leverage to attract – and retain – a higher calibre of candidate. It is why we are talking to a growing number of companies as part of our design work about the staff behaviours they would like to encourage – and discourage.
With each project, we first consider the space available and the behaviours in those spaces. If a company is moving office or requires a complete redesign, it is the perfect opportunity to get rid of bad cultures.
For example, a scruffy small office kitchen area with unsightly toasters may be where staff hang out in the morning. With a bit of thought, a smart work café area can be created with stylish seating and table solutions which encourages staff to relax, communicate with colleagues and get the day off to a more productive start.