The recent years have seen a striking rise in the number of companies creating new modern and quirky office space, popular examples include the likes of Google who have created huge new office spaces like nothing seen before. But why are companies spending millions of pounds of office revamps?
With changes in the economy towards knowledge based business, there is a growing need for office spaces that promote collaboration and creativity. The new ‘creative class’ of workers are suggested to place greater emphasis on job satisfaction, viewing job roles as experiences rather than a means of money (The Undercover Recruiter). Research into office design has highlighted the potential links between office design and a variety of factors including job satisfaction, worker productivity, amount of sick leave and employee turnover rates. One report has even highlighted how one national call centre reported an 11% decrease in turnover rates following office renovations (Yorkshire Business Insider, May 2016).
Selgas Cano Architecture, Madrid
Source: Bored Panda
The Selgas Cano office in Madrid was designed with nature in mind; the curved glass walls follow through into the ceiling, allowing for lots of natural light with no need for artificial lighting at all in the day time. The beautiful views of the surrounding forest give the feel of working outdoors, in a a calm and ambient environment.
Source: Bored Panda
Google offices are renowned for there ‘out-there’ approach to office design, often incorporating theatrical and playful designs. The use of the private pods seen above for important phone calls or just a little bit of quiet work space are a great idea for providing alternative working areas in such a busy and fast paced environment. The office spaces also have floor to ceiling windows for maximum day light, and small hidden areas as seen above behind the book shelves for small private working areas to escape for some quiet working time. The many indoor trees and bench style seating provide an outdoor garden style interior to increase the natural feel of the environment.
In response to the new office building designs for Airbnb, employees complained about the lack of private working space in such a fast paced environment, they required small spaces to shut themselves off from the hustle and bustle occasionally and focus on tasks that required high concentration with little distraction. Airbnb installed the small tent like spaces seen above, where individuals or small groups can sit and close themselves off from the wider office if need be.
Source: Interior Design Magazine
LinkedIn are one of many companies, which have created ‘whiteboard walls’ for idea storage to encourage innovation and sharing of ideas between all employees. Employees can note there ideas or thoughts about different projects on the wall for everyone else to see, then people can expand on other peoples ideas to encourage innovation and spark new ways of thinking. This also works as a great way to provide inspiration, if employees are struggling for ideas on a project, they can refer to the wall inspiration.
Figures show that the actual work-place is responsible for 24 percent of an employee’s job satisfaction (Yorkshire Business Insider, May 2016). Many companies tend to spend the minimum amount necessary on office design and décor, as this is not often considered a valuable source of spending. However, an increase in staff performance of between two and five per cent from design improvements to the office can cover the total cost of providing their accommodation, research has shown. Despite these figures nearly half of all employers don’t consider workplace design to be a worthy investment. Nonetheless, productivity in general can be improved greatly through investment in office design, office renovations have been shown to increase motivation, and decrease the number of sick days and turnover rates, therefore resulting in a higher output (CABE).
Low cost strategies
For all companies regardless of size, there are many small scale improvements that can be made to the office design which would in turn create a more suitable workplace for employees. The main three issues highlighted in office design are: distractions, lighting and air quality. Below is a summary of a few ideas which could contribute to a more productive office environment.
Flexible work space
It is important to have a choice of different work spaces for a variety of environments to work in, for example, from time to time people require quiet and more private work space away from all the distractions in a busy office. In a Savills interview of Leeds office works, two thirds of employees said that having a quiet space to work was the most important factor in designing a new office. Offering a variety of different workspaces can also improve concentration, some studies suggest that putting yourself in a different work space with new things to look at quite literally shifts your brain functioning and helps you to stay focussed (fastcodesign). A good idea would be to vary your daily routine, such as spending a couple of hours each afternoon in a quieter workspace away from the noisier main office area. Google offices have taken an interesting approach to creating flexible office space with their ‘office on wheels’. All the furniture within the main office is on wheels, so that chairs, desks and whiteboards for example, can all be moved around to create flexible and ideal working environments. Mobile whiteboards and glass boards would be a great addition for easily mobile working spaces.
LinkedIn’s use of the whiteboard wall for noting ideas and inspirations can be recreated in any offices with our IdeaPaint, white or clear paint which will transform your office walls into a dry-wipe whiteboard surface. Painting one of the office walls with IdeaPaint would allow for employees to share new thoughts and ideas with colleagues. Why not get creative and even paint the desk tops with IdeaPaint, for noting handy reminders.
In order to reduce sound distractions, Acoustic solutions have seen a significant rise in demand in a range of environments including schools and offices. Acoustic wall tiles can be arranged in a vast range of patterns of colours to suit whatever style office you require. The tiles reduce sound reverberation in the office creating a more ambient and peaceful acoustic environment.
What are your thoughts on office refurbishments to improve productivity?
What would you change about your office?
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