What are the benefits of having a well-designed office? Can it help employees be more productive?
I spend a lot of time in clients’ workplaces. From factories to stations, hangars to boardrooms, I’ve seen the good, bad and the ugly.
My view? Having table football and beanbags does not always equal operational success if your culture doesn’t match what you’re trying to achieve.
I wrote recently about why you need to focus on employee experience and how companies are starting to focus on the experiences employees have in the workplace.
Caveat: I’m aware for some organisations, particularly those with frontline or operational environments, the idea of designing desks etc won’t work as their employees aren’t in one place. But the principles of flexibility are worth exploring.
Hannah Brady got in touch following the employee experience article.
Hannah (pictured), is the Marketing and PR executive at Office Solutions company, ACS, based in Northampton, UK.
She’s the main writer behind the ACS blog and is passionate about topics such as office collaboration, the benefits of mobile/flexible working, and business culture. I’ll hand you over to her…
Is your office a productive haven?
According to the Financial Times, the average hours worked by full time workers has reduced slightly, to 37.4 hours a week in the last year. This means the daily average is 7.48 hours.
However, the ‘average person’ owns three mobile devices. So you and I both know it is highly likely that many of us work more than eight hours a day.
Thanks to these beloved devices of ours, the traditional 9 to 5 ceases to exist and the work styles of people have drastically changed.
It can be really hard to shut down the ‘work brain’ as our professional data becomes increasingly accessible.
It could, however, be argued that if our office spaces are inspiring, flexible and offer a variety of work areas, we would be less likely to continue to work outside of the ‘typical’ working day.
Obviously, different roles within a business require different tools and workspaces, but so do different personalities.
A challenge that is becoming increasingly visible for business owners and decision makers is how to create an office space that helps everybody maximise their productivity.
“Do your employees see the office as a productive haven?”
The romanticised, idealistic offices that many people dream of today have the ‘wow’ breakout areas, hot desk facilities, top-notch Wi-Fi, cafe culture spaces, interactive meeting rooms, and areas that allow for privacy and true focus during work.
But for many businesses, the above can feel unrealistic due to constraints such as space, contrasting internal opinions, bigger business priorities, or simply budget.
The truth is, flexible and collaborative workplaces are the future.
As the likes of The Millenials continue to progress within the workplace and the almighty Generation Z make their way into the world of work, there is no stopping the demand for workplaces that inspire and help people maximise their potential.
Further reading via the All Things IC blog: Work is a thing you do, not a place you go.
A few things to consider about your existing space in preparation for the future:
- Is there space within your office that employees can use for focus work?
- Does the technology within your business compliment flexible working – is it mobile?
- Does your existing environment encourage collaboration – is the space designed for teamwork?
- Do your employees feel inspired by their surroundings?
- How are your meeting spaces currently designed?
If you want to refurbish your office it is important to think carefully about the design and feel of the spaces, the furniture, structure of your cabling and of course, how technology will integrate with your vision for the new space.
It can be refreshing to leave the office for an afternoon and work somewhere different to help with concentration and productivity.
Further reading: See Steven Murgatroyd’s guest post on my blog about working in a tree! (Rachel)
There is a reason that people find solace in spaces such as cafes, co-working offices and sometimes even home whilst trying to work.
The challenge for businesses is to channel the qualities of these environments into our own office spaces.
Have you noticed a drop in productivity within your business recently? Can you see the inspired atmosphere ebbing away?
It is so easy to concern ourselves with drops in activity, low productivity and lack of inspiration that we can sometimes forget to see that we might have neglected the environment we are trying to work in. More often than not, this is the route of the problem.
Small changes to your office can have a huge impact on the wellbeing of your employees and ultimately the quality of the results that they produce.
Post author: Hannah Brady.
Thank you Hannah. What do you think of this article? Have you changed the design of your office, shop floor, factory or workspace to aid productivity? Has it worked? How do you know?
First published on the All Things IC blog 11 May 2016.