Every business is designed to offer a product or service that meets the needs of its clients. Time, money and expertise are used to create the best product or service on the market and one that specifically speaks to customers. When a company chooses to no longer cater to its clients, financial losses can occur as customers decide to look elsewhere for a product or service that meets their needs. Why then, do companies tend to neglect the needs of their employees? Companies need to start thinking about their employees and their workspaces in two significant ways, to continue to be successful in 2017.
Rethink Office Layout
Office layouts have changed drastically over the years, one of the most recent changes being the adoption of open workspaces instead of cubicles. The cubicle, designed by Robert Propst and originally titled, “The Action Office,” was not intended to isolate employees, but was meant to allow employees to create and design their own workspace. However, businesses chose to utilize the cubicle as a cost-effective way to provide employees with an isolated place to work while taking advantage of the square footage available to them.
Now, some of the largest companies in North America have chosen to do away with ‘cubicle farms’ and open up their office space. From large tables that can be shared by employees, to brainstorming and collaborative work areas, every person in the company can share a workspace, network with others and learn new skills from colleagues. Not only is this allowing for offices to become more creative and engaging in their layout, but it has contributed to an increase in employee happiness, productivity, and creativity when designed correctly.
Allow for Individualization
Every person is unique so why shouldn’t their workspace be a reflection of that, especially since the average person will spend approximately 30% of their lifetime at work. While some companies are allowing people to work from home, several industries are still unable to provide this option at this time. For those who must work from the office, there are several ways that companies can allow employees to reflect their personalities in their workspace, and make work feel a bit more like home. A few simple items such as plants, pictures, decorative items and so forth are helping offices become more employee-centric, but larger items such as paintings, modern coffee rooms, and comfortable work areas are providing spaces that are fun and productive to be in!
Introducing personal items at work can also foster inspiration and creativity, allowing companies to continue to be innovative in their respective industries.
Mixing and Matching
Despite the major shift from cubicles to individualized workspaces that are designed with the employee in mind, there is not one office design that excels above another however. The design of an office space depends on several factors such as company culture, operating costs, the number of employees, and their needs. Many companies struggle with co-working spaces as their employees require private offices, designated rooms for completing certain tasks, or just quieter areas to further allow for focus and concentration. To combat these various needs, companies are adopting several workspace trends such as benching, hoteling, private offices, and so forth. The most important aspect that businesses need to consider when creating a workspace is how to balance the needs of its employees, with the overall flow of the space.
Employee wellness has been a topic of discussion for decades as people have questioned, reformed and questioned again the impact of office design. As we move into additional changes in office design that focus on the entire atmosphere and brand message of the company, businesses need to think about the needs of their employees and then create a workspace around that. Employee-centric design is, and will continue to play a key role in the overall success of a business whether it is a startup or a well-established company. If you are struggling to create a space that both represents your brand and increases employee happiness, let us know! We can help.